A week after being bestowed with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver, veteran actress Nomhle Nkonyeni has vowed that she won’t cast her vote on Wednesday.
Last week the 77-year-old was among performers, who included Mary Twala and Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who were awarded the order by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The award symbolises the unique beauty of the achievements of South Africans in the creative fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.
But Nkonyeni says it does not mean anything to her.
Read: Why I won't vote
“It is sad that the government is taking us performers for granted. Sorry, I am not going to waste my vote on any party. Twenty-five years later we were given empty promises by the same government and to this day nothing has changed,” she said.
The renowned actress said it was about time that “we should stop mixing politics with arts”.
The disappointed TV icon told City Press that the prestigious award would not change anything in her life, as she believes performers are still poor and don’t have a voice to this day, especially performers in remote villages.
“We still have to live from hand to mouth; we still don’t have medical aid. It’s just hard being an actor in this country. Actors are suffering.”
However, Nkonyeni, who is famous for her roles in Igazi, Gaz’lam, Tsha Tsha and Society, said that, as tough as the entertainment industry is, nothing would stop her from doing what she loves.
In 2016 she was awarded the SA Film and Television Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also recognised in the same category in her home town – Port Elizabeth – at last year’s Eastern Cape cultural awards.
“I am still going strong. I am directing a theatrical show called Buzani Kubawo. The show is about parents controlling their children by choosing for them who they should marry or date. These are stories to which we can all relate and it’s about time we tell our own stories.
“I am also shooting a new show on Netflix next month. Nothing will stop me from doing what I was born to do,” Nkonyeni said.
She said she is also putting together an arts academy in the Eastern Cape.
“When I am no more, I want to leave a young girl behind who will be able tell our African stories.”
Her advice to aspiring actors: “The entertainment industry is tough – it’s not about glitz and glam. Dedication and determination is not enough – you must just be strong.”