She has sung as a backing vocalist for Billy Ocean and Randy Crawford.
You will be forgiven to think that I’m referring to some top Hollywood actress and musician.
But this is the story of a local girl, Sindi Dlathu – best known to television viewers as Thandaza Mukwevho in the SABC2 drama soapie, Muvhango. She was part of the original cast when the series hit the screens in 1997 as the first and, to date, only TshiVenda drama.
She witnessed its transformation from a 13-part drama series that was broadcast once a week to a multi-lingual daily soapie with an omnibus on weekends. She was at the centre of most of its turning points – including funerals and weddings.
Throughout this time her character has grown from a naive young woman into a powerful corporate figure.
As a central and uninterrupted role, the Sindi Dlathu character is unprecedented in the history of local television.
Over the years we have seen a number of favourite characters in several productions being written out of the storyline because of salary disputes between the actors and production companies.
Muvhango has had its fair share of these well-publicised issues regarding non-payment of actors. Some decided to quit for greener pastures with rival soapies. But Dlathu has remained through the good and the bad moments.
“There were times when we didn’t pay Sindi for the whole year and we didn’t realise it. We were shocked when we discovered this and she never complained,” Duma Ndlovu was recently at the Muvhango 20 Year Celebration at Melrose Arch.
However, even after two decades of loyal and dedicated involvement, Dlathu is finally taking a bow to explore new challenges in her acting career and grow as an artist.
It is indeed a well-deserved break although many will miss her character. It has come to define the series in many ways. It has been an anchor for the production’s intriguing plotlines.
Dlathu’s illustrious 24-year career in the performance arts started in the stage musical, Sarafina! (1987) as a 14-year-old understudy.
She subsequently starred in the blockbuster 1992 movie version along the likes of Leleti Khumalo, Miriam Makeba and Whoopi Goldberg.
Other television roles include Soul City and Khululeka. She will shoot her final scenes until end of this month but viewers will see her until March next year.
It will be interesting to see how the storyline will develop following her departure, but there’s a twist to her story. Muvhango’s favourite character might return in the future.