Actor Lihle Mdlalana – a force to be reckoned with

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Lihle Mdlalana

“I’m so obsessed with achieving greatness, I came to the realisation that it’s something that cannot be achieved overnight…”

Lihle Mdlalana – Popularly known as Dokotela is an artist in every sense of the word. Hailing from the Eastern Cape but currently resides in Johannesburg due to the means of hustle.

He is a jack of all trades and a master of all. The latter is an actor, producer, and director. We stan a multi-faceted king!

His love for the arts plunged deeper back in 2013 when the thespian had an opportunity to visit the South African Broadcasting Co-operation (SABC) studios.

“Back in 2013 when I was doing grade 6, we had a school trip to the SABC where we got the opportunity to see their day-to-day activities and even got the chance to meet the cast of the hit Venda Soapie opera, Muvhango in their studio”, said Lihle.

Mdlalana is adamant that he’s always had his sight in Johannesburg for greener pastures and of course realize his dreams in the arts.

“I was born in the Eastern Cape, where I stayed with my grandmother and siblings. Because of the education system there – my mother decided that I move to Gauteng and stay with my aunt and uncle in 2010. As a kid moving to Joburg was something I always wanted because we’d have visitors that come and go. I too wanted to leave at some point”, said Mdlalana.

The talented young performer always had that innate class, grace, poise and passion for performance.

When SA POSITIVE NEWS asked Lihle Mdlalana about when the artistry bug bit, he had this to say…  “In 2010, my first year here in Gauteng, Tembisa – my class teacher elected me to be a part of a school play. As a kid I never understood why, and I just did it because it was fun. That’s when I realised that I want to be an actor. At times I would try and convince myself into other professions because of the negativity around acting.”

The world of showbiz is cut-throat and not an easy one to navigate. It’s really a dog-eat-dog industry. Lihle’s fighting spirit is quite admirable. He is resilient and a living testament of the notion, hard work does pay off. He is constantly honing his craft and has international stardom aspirations.

Lihle Mdlalana recalls finding out about the art form – that is Theatre as a monumental turning point in his illustrious career thus far… “just after my matric year (2019) the following year a friend of mine Bongiwe Mgidi who knew how much I love acting had referred me to Tesh Koketjo Waga Mashedi who then groomed me and introduced me to the world of Theatre. From then I fell in love with everything Theatre.”

Dokotela – as he is affectionately known took us back to his debut performance, which he describes as Memorable: “After my very first Theatre performance at the TX Theatre, I took a moment and applauded myself. I was proud of myself of having finally started this journey to make my dreams come true. I remember during the rehearsal process, my director Tesh Koketjo Waga Mashedi and Sibongile Ncanekile Nsibande would constantly remind me not to be so hard on myself because I was so obsessed with achieving greatness. I then realised that greatness is not something that can be achieved overnight. Being on that stage was a confirmation for me that I belonged there”, Dokotela said.

Lihle Mdlalana’s journey to stardom hasn’t been smooth sailing at all. The young performer reiterates that being an artist is not for the faint of hearts. Unfortunately, talent alone isn’t enough – discipline, dedication and hard work are of utmost importance in the arts.

“As a young performer I have faced depression because of lack of support from family and the negativity that they come with. I personally believe that getting blessings from parents also opens some doors, at times you would be rejected for an opportunity and not understand why, and it goes back to you not having blessings from parents.”

The young creative has been grinding and making a name for himself in the world of Theatre. It’s so heart-warming to witness him literally reach for his dreams. He has been part of many shows – masterpieces of note.

SA POSITIVE NEWS asked him about the best Theatre shows he’s had a chance to showcase his talent in and what each show taught him as a performer, he had this to say… “Best shows I’ve been a part of is the Naledi award-winning Masterpiece Ward 13 – which taught me that as a man I need to do better in terms of keeping a family together and being supportive in the best possible way. Othandweni directed by Thami Gxubane, this production showed me my capabilities as a performer, that I’m capable of doing anything if I put my mind to it. It also showed me how far and deep I can go as a performer and the rehearsal process taught me the importance of teamwork…”

“Skierlik – This show is personal to me as it is the first show I did independently of which I adapted from Phillip Dikotla. I got to learn that a good leader is a good follower and listens to what the people he is leading have to say. I learnt the importance of finding the right people for what you want to do”, Lihle concluded.

Lihle Mdlalana is a force to be reckoned with – a young man with aspirations that are so big, they scare him. It’s safe to say that the future of South Africa’s entertainment prowess is in safe hands.

When asked about his dreams and prospects in his promising career going forward he said: “One of my dreams is to open Theatres and cinemas in the rural parts of the Eastern Cape, so that people can be exposed to things that they only see in movies. In the next five years I want to shoot Hollywood films and get my first Oscar award for film. Also get my first Tony award for Theatre/ Broadway.”

Independently producing and performing the multi award-winning play Skierlik alongside Tshiamo Mathabe and director Thabo Pholo is his proudest achievement in his career thus far.

Rehearsals for Phillip Dikotla’s Skierlik, brought to life by Ziwele productions and Dikotla originals are currently underway. The show is set to play at Joburg Theatre this July. Dates: 18 July, 20 July, 21 July and 23 July 2023.

A must watch extravaganza. Skierlik is written by Phillip Dikotla. Directed by Thabo Pholo and performed by Lihle Mdlalana. For Skierlik merchandise and more information – people can visit www.skierlik.com

Lihle Mdlalana –  a dreamer who against all odds is rising like a Phoenix. Reach for the stars King! We recognize you. We honour you. We celebrate you.

By Sinenzolo Mondi – Nduku