Manaka Ranaka has managed to whisk us away to different planes with her performances for the longest time. That type of ability is only reached once one ‘puts in the work and respects their craft’, the bubbly actress humbly remarks. In our conversation, she confesses her misgiving with regards to a celebrity’s supposed lifestyle and how she feels about her character on Generations The Legacy and her many kissing scenes. Here’s what she had to say.
QuenchSA: When the cameras have stop rolling and we aren’t watching, who is Manaka?
Manaka: She’s a daughter first of all and a sibling to to four other siblings. She’s a mother and a friend to a lot of guys. (Laughs) Less females in my life, the better!
QuenchSA: Can you recall the exact moment in your life when it clicked, ‘I want to be an actor’?
Manaka: I was 19. I’d been acting before but the acting bug hadn’t bit me until I was 19. I was discovered by some lady and she introduced me to my agent and I read to her and she said I read well. So at my first audition in 1999, right there it bit me and that’s when I knew that this is what I wanted to do because I had been job hunting and nothing was coming through and my CV wasn’t colourful enough.
QuenchSA: In the course of your career, you have displayed versatility of the highest order. How difficult is it to portray a character you have reservations about?
Manaka: For me it’s very difficult to portray any character. I choose my characters very wisely. For instance right now I’d never play a doctor because I refuse to play a doctor – It’s very challenging. You know when you open medication and there’s that leaflet inside, if I can read and pronounce those words without struggling then I’d play a doctor, right now I can’t. I refuse to make a fool of myself with a language I don’t understand.
QuenchSA: Do principles and ideals have a place in the performing arts industry when bills need to be paid?
Manaka: It depends on what your principles are to you as an individual because some people take it to heart and forget that there are bills to pay. But mine are simple, respect your craft and keep on harnessing it because its very easy to become stale in this industry.
QuenchSA: There was a point in South African Television when we all thought, ‘OK, we still have a long way to go. They keep recycling ideas’. How do you feel about the industry now?
Manaka: I feel like we are growing. I’m happy we’re no longer telling 1976 stories even though they still need to be told. Not every one went through apartheid. A majority of people alive today never lived through it and they know a very different type of racism. But I’m glad we’ve moved slightly from that. There’s no industry that is stuck in one place. You need to grow and live with the times. We need to give young producers a chance because they know a different story, a story of freedom. So it’s nice to see that they are telling stories of when we didn’t have freedom, how we got our freedom and now that we are free, we need to tell more stories.
QuenchSA: Generations has quite a strong history and tradition with black South Africans. Everybody knows you don’t knock at a black household door at 8pm… Do you feel the pressure to deliver?
Manaka: I always feel the pressure to deliver – irrespective of how big or how much of a beginner the show is. I wanted to keep this show alive because even though it’s called The Legacy right now, I’ve always seen it as a legacy in terms of soapies in this country. I feel like the show has to go on. I’m not saying I saved the show but I’m one of the people that helped save the show.
I’m glad Mfundi (Mvundla) didn’t give up on the show because can you imagine the show that broke boundaries and set records in the country, and next thing because of 16 people the show must now die. For me that was unfair. Let’s sort out our issues in a certain manner and I’m not saying the 16 actor have nothing to cry about, it was a very serious issue but a 21 year old show cannot go down because of 16 unhappy people. I refuse… There’s more than just the actors on the show you know.
QuenchSA: As Lucy we have witnessed you in multiple kissing and intimate scenes. How is that like?
Manaka: It’s quite nerve-wrecking, (
giggles) it’s something I’ve done it before but it’s always nerve wrecking.
QuenchSA: Have you eyed any actor for a good smooch?
Manaka: Oh hell NO! You know why? Once you have those eyes it gets taken off set. It means you personally have feelings for that person not the character. Ke sharp kadinto tseo.
QuenchSA: Can you draw any similarities between you and your character Lucy?
Manaka: I’m very street wise. I guess I share that with Lucy. For the first time I get to show this side of myself. She is very gangster. She may have chilled with iy’gebengu (thugs) and I’ve never seen her with any female unless it’s a former inmate. I chill with guys and I speak Tsotsi Taal too.
QuenchSA: At any time when you are livid, do you swear at your cast members?
Manaka: I try not to, but sometimes I do. I take it to a certain level until they say you can’t say this then I won’t say it. But I do make sure my creative tap is not shut down by directors, I do suggest a couple of things and if they don’t want to I respect that.
QuenchSA: Being part of your sister’s reality show… Does it ever get bothersome that you constantly have cameras that try to document your life both at home and at work?
Manaka: Eish, ja… I’m not used to that lifestyle. But I did enjoy Dineo’s Diary because that was my sister’s show and I was there purely out of support. Imagine my sister had a show and I wasn’t part of it, the amount of flack I would have received!
QuenchSA: What’s your release/escape?
Manaka: My kids. The minute I walk home and see my kids, that’s normality for me. Just me seeing my family the way I am supposed to see them and not the way they are supposed to see me. I don’t have celebrity friends for one reason, I don’t want to be on that constant high. That life requires make-up, heels and weaves. When I’m with my guys I feel normal, grounded.
QuenchSA: Which genre do you prefer, drama or comedy?
Manaka: I love comedy, with comedy you have the license to make people laugh. Licence to drama is very depressing. It’s hard to get out of a dramatic character. For example Portia from Gaz’ Lam was so depressing. At one point I would lock myself in the room with the curtains closed. When I do comedy as soon as the director says cut I move on with my life.
Squid Game Ending Explained; We’ve Been Scammed
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.
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.
First Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones Spin-Off ‘House of The Dragon’
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.
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.
Midnight Mass is Creepy With A Dark Subtext and You Need To See it
‘God’s angel’ had sinister plans for the town.
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.
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.