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Brenda Ngxoli Talks About Her Milestones, Triumphs & Being A ‘Marshmallow’

EXCLUSIVE: We had the privilege of having an exclusive conversation with Rockville actress Brenda Ngxoli. In there, she talks about her milestones, her faith and being a marshmellow.

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To say Brenda Ngxoli is one of the best actresses South African television has ever seen would be an understatement worthy of an investigation. Boasting a diverse track record of critically acclaimed roles in some of the country’s biggest productions throughout the years, the Emmy award nominee has garnered far more than prestigious awards under her belt. She has also secured a warm spot in South African homes inside which we continue to invite her with every new stellar delivery.

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“There is no place like home”. Despite her travels, Brenda reckons she has seen no greater beauty than South Africa. Image: Brenda Ngxoli*

Yet with all of this, Brenda stubbornly shuns being exalted. Despite the fact that she has come to epitomise the standard towards which many young actors now aspire, the Eastern Cape born actress has managed to maintain a private life away from the press. That has allowed us all to immerse ourselves fully with her works without that nudging awakening underwritten by a ubiquitous presence outside her art. But fresh from two SAFTA wins and that explosive Rockville finale, we wanted to squeeze ourselves inside her world. And, it’s a big world!

QuenchSA: Having won 2 SAFTAs in one night and being regarded as one of the leading actresses in the country since Tsha Tsha, are there any higher milestone going further?

Brenda: I’ve always lived my life by a policy of intando kaThixo izokwenzakala (God’s will will prevail), so whatever God’s role is, is what will happen. I don’t know what the future holds for me, I don’t know what the script for my life looks like and in time I will find out and I just pray that I will experience everything with grace.

QuenchSA: Does the success in any way put pressure on you to perform at a certain level?

Brenda: The only pressure I put on myself at any level is to strive for excellence and whilst I’m doing that…to have a sense of striving for internal peace.

QuenchSA: In this season of Rockville you demonstrated a range of emotions. How do you switch between several emotions so instantaneously?

Brenda: I’m not quite sure about instantaneously…But how do I do it? I think what you need to note is that it’s the characters journey. it’s not about my journey, it’s not Brenda Ngxoli’s journey, it’s the characters journey. If it’s all said and done I did spent three years at the University of Cape Town, acquiring skills as to how to portray characters. Now what is my methodology? That is something that I will never share with anyone but I have to say that the biggest key to anything is God’s rule and God’s strength and with God you can achieve anything.

QuenchSA: You released a video a couple of weeks ago thanking everyone for your awards. In the speech you mentioned that you were raised by a single domestic worker, how has that shaped you professionally as an actress? (Watch the video here)

Brenda: I’m not quite sure but what I do know is that everything that happens in life happens for a reason and hopefully in the future it will help you in whatever you want to do.

QuenchSA: If you weren’t an actress what would you be?

Brenda: There’s a lot of things I’m into, but one of the things that I’m striving for at all times is to be the best human being I can be so if I wasn’t an actress I don’t know…I’d really like to be the best human being I can be.

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In love with her roots. Image: Brenda Ngxoli*

QuenchSA: Which genre do you prefer, drama or comedy?

Brenda: The genre to me doesn’t matter. What matters most and what I enjoy the most is portraying different characters, and characters that speak to my people, the melamine race.

QuenchSA: Can you draw any similarities between your character Gladys and Brenda?

Brenda: If anything, I will draw the fact that Gladys is one who strives for independence, a woman who has a house in the township. She’s self-sufficient and even though I’ve never lived in a township, I find similarities in her strength – to be self-sufficient. Also quite a loving person to those who are in her circle. She’s loving towards Mavis and her children. So I think I’m quite a loving person to those who are close to me and I think I’m a loving person generally. I like people and if anything I think those are the only two things I could draw between the character and myself.

QuenchSA: How difficult is it to portray a character to the best of your ability when you don’t believe in the role?

Brenda: Every character has a characteristic and things that I may not personally agree with or may not like, but the motto I live with whether I’m bringing a character to life or in my own life, is not to judge. I try to stay objective at all times and that is the motto that I live by.

QuenchSA: Have you ever turned down a role because you were afraid it would compromise your brand?

Brenda: Yes, I do turn down roles and I turn down interviews. I turn down anything that sounds air-headed, ill-researched…that sounds like it compromises the integrity and the history of umuntu omnyama (black person) and myself in particular.

QuenchSA: Have you prioritised drama series and sitcoms over movies in your career?

Brenda: Erm…My life is a journey which I have chosen to surrender to. I travel it and it is revealed to me as I go along. I’ve done many things along the way and I’m just blessed that I’ve had the opportunity to experience all those things and all those genres.

QuenchSA:  Which animal best describes who you are?

Brenda: I think a bird. I like travelling. I like being free, being happy, chirping here and there, laughing. I think a bird!

QuenchSA: Not a lioness?

Brenda: When I was at university, I must say I had pictures of lions around in my room. Now I’m more like… ‘ah lets all be happy! Let’s love each other, but at the same time I’m into living the truth. One of the things that happens when you start growing a little bit older is you realise that you actually don’t have another life so you should live your best life and travel as much as you can and I think once you start travelling, you start realising how small you are and how big the universe is.

QuenchSA: Where is the best destination you’ve visited?

Brenda: I’ve been to Europe, I’ve been to the States and I’ve travelled South Africa, but I think out of all the places outside of Africa my first love is definitely the Eastern Cape. I think the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen is where my home is. I appreciate Europe because it functions as a country. I appreciate how the Europeans conserve their legacy. I appreciate their architecture, everything they do – their art. There’s a sense of ‘go big or go home.’ I appreciate the way the Germans strive for excellence and are so timeous in how their country functions, but I don’t think there’s a place like home.

QuenchSA: What motto do you live by?

Brenda: Zidle, zithande ungoyiki (Be proud, love yourself and be fearless).

QuenchSA: What don’t your fans know not know about Brenda Ngxoli?

Brenda: Andiyo mbhokodo (I am not a rock). You know how they talk about how umfazi yimbhokodo (a woman is a rock)? I don’t want to be Imbhokodo. I’d rather say I’m a marshmallow. I’m not trying to deal with male chauvinism. ‘Wathinta umfazi wathinta mbhokodo’ (When you touch a woman, you touch a rock). Yes, I admire the sentiment that women do have that strength. But I told myself that I’m not going to give myself that label because I’m not trying to bring those type of energies to me. I want to bring lovely beautiful men who are going to treat me tenderly like they handling a marshmallow.


*All images have been provided by Brenda Ngxoli 

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Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed

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We’ve been had, and Squid Game is here to prove it.

When the end of the South Korean horror drama arrives on the ninth episode, the winner finds himself harrowed by what the coveted prize has cost his soul. In the rat race for survival, along with a better life that hinges on the never ending hustle, there’s no time to stop and see the horror our lives become. By the end, we see how the winner has sold his soul for a crappy deal that came with a few toys, and a happy meal.

A group of 456 players are mysteriously invited to take part in a set of children’s games for a grand prize of $38 million, which will be enough to give the winner the financial freedom they desperately need. The players are selected from different walks of life, with the burden of excessive debt being their biggest motivation to give the Game a go.

The first of deepening terrors comes during the first game, when the players discover that penalties for losing in the challenges will be death. DEATH. Horrified, the players initially vote to leave and return to their lives.

This noble departure doesn’t last long; their material realities as fugitives on the run from debt collectors only highlights the glow of the precious promise they’ve now left behind. When they return for the second time, they now consent to their highly probable deaths.

Led by Lee Jung-jae, who plays Seong Gi-hun, a taxi driver with a gambling addiction, the South Korean series has become somewhat of a global phenomenon. Now the most streamed Korean series of all time, Squid Game is also said to be on pace to dethrone Bridgerton as the most streamed series in the history of Netflix. And it’s with good reason. Squid Game is a trip.

Survival is the drive. The blues of a broke life pile up for Seong Gi-hun, who’s daughter is being taken away to the US by her mother and step father. His mother is battling deteriorating diabetes and even in her frail condition, is still working hard to make ends meet. It’s during the peak of his frustrations that Gi-hun is randomly invited to take part in the Game.

After accepting the offer, he finds himself in a discreet location along with 455 players, who are also drowning in debt. The players are kept under an authoritarian system of surveillance. Masked guards in pink suits keep the scene under control under the supervision of the Front Man. Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, as a the most strategic way to survive the bloody challenges.

Amongst those that end up in this team is player 001, a frail old man who who became his “gganbu”. Sae-byeok, who was also in the team, was killed by Sang-woo, Gi-hun’s childhood friend, team member and flip-flopping ally. Several other team members had to be killed by their team mates, which revealed the wickedness of the games.

In the end, Gi-hun’s victory came without an apology. He had to defeat a close ally in the games, the old and frail player 001. They’d bonded throughout their time, but in the end he had to advance himself against those he’d built alliances. As the games progressed, the players found themselves having to face tough calls. Someone else has to die for you to make it another day.

After a series of brutal games, it comes down to childhood friends Gi-hun and Cho Sang-woo. They’d played different games, with Sang-woo having played hard and stopping at nothing to win. Gi-hun is mad at Sang-woo for a series of betrayals, including him stabbing Sae-byeok to her death. In the end, Gi-hun wins when Sang-woo apologised and kills himself.

Yet despite emerging a winner, Gi-hun finds that the cost of becoming an overnight billionaire has bankrupted his soul. For a year following the day his bank account was loaded with a nine zero figure, he didn’t touch the money. After all, he returned to find his mother dead on the floor. One of his motivations was getting the money to get her medical help over her advancing diabetes.

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Gi-hun is clearly troubled by the bodies upon which his new wealth rests. A year passes and he hasn’t touched the money – even oddly reverting to old patterns of asking for loans to get by. It might be late to be so concerned about the moral questions surrounding the games now – the long and short of it is he won and his life has changed.

Later, he is shocked to find out that the “gganbu” who had to be killed after losing to him in a game of marbles, was never really killed.

In a shocking plot twist that changes everything – he also finds out that the old man is in fact the creator of the games! Finding him in a medical bed after receiving a mysterious invite to the location, Gi-hun discovers that the man’s real name is Oh Il-nam, an obscenely rich fella who created the games in 1988 (the same year Korea hosted the Olympics for the first time) purely for their entertainment. We already know by now that ‘the VIPs’ are a bunch of morally bankrupt elites who find pleasure in watching the poor masses slaughtering each other for money in a broken system. Where have we heard that before?

Although his participation in the games as player 001 was a farce, what he told Gi-hun back then, that he had a brain tumour, had been true. And of course, he challenged him to another sick game. A man had been freezing to death on a street pavement, and Oh Il-nam challenged Gi-hun to guess to bet on the odds that someone who help him when the clock strikes 00:00 at midnight. As Gi-hun wins, Oh Il-nam dies.

We assume this marks the end of the games. However later in the episode, Gi-hun sees the man who recruited him doing it to someone else. He runs to stop what is happening, but arrives at the exact scene late, the train has already taken off. Later on the way to boarding a flight, he turns and calls a number. “I can’t forgive you for everything you’re doing,” he tells ta man we assume to be In-ho. He turns back, clearly about to begin his new mission.

What we know now, is that Oh Il-nam created the games to tickle the sick tastes of his sick rich network. But he is now dead. Who is now behind the games? This, and Gi-hun’s passionate manifesto, are strong indications that next season of the series is already shaping up to a different arc. It’s his final transformation, and he is ready to take down the operation and those behind it. He won’t allow people to be “horses” for the entertainment of wealthy elites.

We know that In-ho shot Jun-ho in a bid to stop him from alerting the police about the games. The signal was bad, delaying the delivering of the evidence Jun-ho had been trying to send in several texts, right up to the moment the moment he plunged from a cliff and hit the water. What we don’t know is whether the messages were really not delivered. There’s also no conclusive evidence that Jun-ho is dead.

Potentially, the biggest lesson from season one is that our relentless pursuit for material success in a punishing money system kills us.

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First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’

DRACARYS!

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Things look promising for HBO’s upcoming drama series, The House of Dragon. The highly buzzed Games of Thrones prequel’s first visual teaser has been met with much fanfare, raking in more than 8,6 million views on Youtube within two days of its arrival.

The House of Dragon

Photo Credit: HBO via Twitter

First reactions and buzz around the epic teaser have been strong indications that the series, slated to premiere in 2022, is off to a good start despite the infamous final season slump suffered by G.O.T. And it could mean that maybe, just maybe,  the world ready to let old baggage go.

The House of Dragon, created by an entire different team, will arrive about three years since the cold winter. The cast includes Matt Smith, Paddy Considine and Sonoya Mizuno who will be bringing to life a different era of Westeros.

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Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it

‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.

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The reign of terror plunges a small and quiet town to ashes when the arrival of a charismatic yet mysterious priest coincides with the return of a disgraced young man who has just been released from prison.

While Riley (Zach Gilford) initially finds that Crockett Island and its 127 residents – along with his childhood sweetheart Erin (Kate Siegel) – still conduct a mundane existence, Pastor Paul (Hamish Linklater) soon changes that.

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“The LORD’s angel”‘s life giving blood comes scams locals into horrible mistakes on Midnight Mass.

When the island’s much loved Roman Catholic senior priest takes a trip to the pilgrimage and never comes back, an energetic new priest takes his place at the Holy Land church. And while his arrival brings with it a new wave of spiritual revival amongst the island community, something sinister begins to haunt the town.

With each episode, the esoteric occult that powers Paul’s ability to perform astounding miracles and mesmerise the islanders, slowly gains dominion over the unsuspecting community. Instead, they begin taking up a renewed interest in the church as word of mouth spreads about the signs and wonders. Much like Jesus Christ was able to draw crowds wherever he went, the appearance of Paul’s supernatural power is able to attract even those who’d remained sceptics their lives.

It’s the blending of the sacred and the sinister. The taking of communion that has been contaminated with demonic blood, which functions as the miracle drug promising eternal life.

We soon find out the miracles come at an unthinkable cost.

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