Winnie Ntshaba rose to fame as Kethiwe Buthelezi on “Generations”.
Fans fell in love with the character, who, despite an impoverished background, rose to become a formidable businesswoman.
In real life, Ntshaba has made strides in the industry after she secured financial backing for the Royalty Soapie Awards.
Just to clarify, the Royalty Soapie Awards pays homage to a sector deserving a bigger podium and, if anything complements the prestigious South African Television and Film Awards
As the fourth awards ceremony looms, Ntshaba opened up about the journey.
“We launched our very first awards in 2014. We’ve seen our industry growing. I think we are sitting at 23 soapies and telenovelas now. Those were just the ones on air between last year June and this year,” she shared.
This year, two new categories have been added under Recognition Awards: Social Cohesion and Background Actor.
“It’s exciting,” Ntshaba admitted.
“We play a big part as storytellers in shaping our society; in dealing with the social ills we are facing. So we thought, why not encourage the head writers and everyone who is a writer to think in terms of issues that are topical at that time, in South Africa or the world,” she added.
“In our own way, soapies have a way of shaping up society. When people see things, it sticks in their mind more than when they hear about it.”
Revisiting her breakthrough role, she shared: “You watch a show sometimes and you look inside you and go, could I be that person? I remember the very first time when Generations started… black people started to want to get into advertising because they had seen it on TV.
“So we have that power to shape society. We have that power to get society to discuss things that are happening.
“Right now we are looking at gender-based violence.
“There are soapies that have incorporated Covid-19 into their scripts to make sure that, even those people sitting at home and not taking this thing seriously when they are sitting and watching their favourite actors acting it out, then they will definitely look into their lives and change the way they do things.”
The Background Actor award resonates strongly with Ntshaba.
She revealed: “The background actors for me, they help in a big way to set the tone and the mood of every scene.
“Without them, the scene is dead. I remember when we were shooting Isithembiso and we had to do a church scene.
“Without them singing the way they were singing, we were not gonna get that thing from Banzi as a preacher. They didn’t have lines, they just had to sing.”
This year, the red carpet buzz will be different.
*Due to Covid-19, the 4th Royalty Soapie Awards will be pre-recorded over several days and will air on SABC1 on September 26 at 8pm.