SA actress Makgotso Monyemorathoe has opened up about the struggles of not sounding or looking South African for certain roles when she goes for auditions.
The actress took to Instagram to explain that she is an African, even though some people say she does not sound like she is.
She said, “I am an African. A South African Zulu and Pedi woman to be precise, with British citizenship too because I was raised in England from a very young age. I speak Zulu more fluently than Pedi because I was raised by a Zulu woman and occasionally, you will hear one of the many South African accents when I speak English infused with a certain kind of British accent. (because there’s not just one British accent).
She says she has been told countless times when auditioning for certain roles that she is not African or South African enough, “Which is absurd because I am both of those things. Also, black British roles have been a myth, lol. And I have been told (not in so many words) to accept it because that is just how the industry is.”
Makgotso says that she understands that some roles do require a specific look. Granted. However, she feels that mainstream media has defined what being African looks and sounds like, which tends to be one specific look and sound. She says that this is inaccurate because Africa is diverse.
“Also, please hear my heart. In expressing the discrimination, I have faced and continue to face for looking the way I do, I am not disregarding the discrimination that darker-skinned black people have faced and are still facing. In talking about my struggles and pain, I am by no means disregarding another person’s struggles and pain.
“I say all of this to say this: Representation is important. When I watch TV, film, theater or print/digital media we should see all kinds of people from different backgrounds, different abilities, different sexes, sizes etc. Art is an imitation of life. And life is not just black and white. Tall or short, slim or curvy. As a people, we are so diverse. I learn something new every day. If I’m not cooped up in the house, lol.”