An Off-Screen Chat with Shalima Mkongi

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Shalima Mkongi is the name that South Africans will get familiar with in 2018. The talented actress who is UCT-trained, has been on stage and is now aiming her mark on Mzansi’s TV screens. With a TV debut on SABC 2’s Keeping Score in 2017 and now a role on Mzansi Magic’s new isiXhosa prime time Sunday night drama, Nkululeko, we think she’s right on target!

On ‘Portia’

I was interested in the challenge of playing a complex character like Portia. I also really wanted to challenge myself as a performer. Portia is extremely different from any other character I have played and very different to ‘ Shalima’, so I wanted to see how I’d manage with this character. Her story is also very interesting, one of the reasons I was so attracted to the character.

Ashanti vs Portia

My last big TV role, I played a teenager, Ashanti who is privileged and entitled whereas Portia is a mother of two. There wasn’t much to take from playing Ashanti because her and Portia are completely different.

On Research

I watched a lot of YouTube videos, mostly watching women drunk or hungover, visited Gugulethu township in Cape Town and spoke to a few people from Khayelitsha. I also watched a few films.

On Her Castmates

I think my cast is extremely talented and really great to work with. I cannot wait for to see more from them in the future.

On Future Dream Roles

A role that tackles mental illness, and I’d also like to try my hand at comedy.

On Mzansi’ Need for #TimesUp

It’s such a known secret and its about time we stood together as women and men against this abuse of power. I think a lot of women in South Africa live in fear and often can’t speak out because of the manner society has dealt with this subject, so a movement like this will definitely help in alleviating a percentage of the problem.


I have always been a performer, and I think my calling is storytelling/ creating.

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