Thembi Nyandeni is a renowned South African actress who is known for her role in several South African popular soapies such as IsiBaya, Isidingo, and Zone 14.
She has enjoyed a prolific acting career of more than four decades. Still very active in the industry, Nyandeni is not showing any sign of slowing down or retiring anytime soon. The veteran actress has owned the popular characters she has portrayed in several South African soap operas as a result of her immense talent.
Considering the experience she brings to the set of any production, it doesn’t come as a surprise to see how good she is when she interprets her characters. One very interesting fact about Thembi Nyandeni is that, unlike most actors who consider themselves professional enough to play any role given to them, she does not play roles she does not believe in. The following facts will throw more light on the life and career of the veteran actress.
Thembi Nyandeni’s Quick Profile Summary
- Name: Thembi Nyandeni
- Age: 65 years old
- Date of Birth: March 19, 1958
- Place of Birth: Mofolo North, Soweto
- Nationality: South African
- Occupation: Actress
- Best Known For: Mkayabi, the matriarch of the Zungu family in IsiBaya
- Relationship Status: Divorced
- Children: One
10 Notable Things To Know About The Veteran IsiBaya Actress
As we already know, Thembi Nyandeni is a celebrated South African actress who has been featured in different South African movies and TV series. Although she has outstanding talents and always gives her best to every production she has appeared in, there are two of her performances that come to heart whenever her name is mentioned – IsiBaya and Zone 14.
It is an obvious fact that Thembi Nyandeni is no longer a young actress who is still learning the ropes in acting. Her longevity in the South African movie industry and the experiences she has garnered over these four decades make her an invaluable asset to the industry. With that said, there is pretty much to learn about her and that’s why we have done the research, breaking down all you need to know about the IsiBaya star in 10 different facts.
1. She Remains Relevant After Several Decades
Not many can boast a career so illustrious as what Thembi has built as an actress. Thembi Nyandeni has been able to build a career for herself that spans over four decades and she is still very much relevant in the industry. The evergreen thespian has been featured in different seasons of four very popular South African TV shows – IsiBaya, Isidingo, Zone 14, and Jacob’s Cross, and in all, she has left a mark in the heart of viewers who love her so much.
Thembi Nyandeni has built a reputation for herself in the industry as a woman who upholds what true womanhood should be like. According to her, she does not take characters that involve getting intimate with anyone no matter the pressure. The veteran actress has built a name for herself as a strong woman.
2. Thembi Nyandeni Is A Divorcée
The 65–year-old thespian, who now wears her gray hair as a thing of pride and looks beautiful in it too was once a bride – in her younger days. It is known that when Thembi Nyandeni was much younger, she got married to a man whose identity she has not revealed, and though they started out in love with each other, forever seemed too long for their union as they are now divorced.
Like it is with the identity of her one-time husband, details about their time together are also unknown. Things like when they met, when they got married, what the union was like, and when they got divorced are not public knowledge. However, we have enough facts to conclude that infidelity may be the reason for their divorce.
Thembi Nyandeni had said on more than one occasion that a major reason why she decided not to walk down the aisle with any man again is that men find it difficult to stay with one woman. She also maintains that the prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is the reason she cannot risk being with a man who would put her in harm’s way by infecting her with an STD.
3. She Is The Proud Mother Of A Son
Thembi Nyandeni has a son whose name is Bandile Nyandeni. He is said to work at The Concept Engine (Pty) Ltd and he is very much part of his mother’s life. We don’t have information regarding his age and early life or his educational background, but we know that Bandile and his mother have a good relationship even though we can’t tell if the same can be said of him and his father.
In April 2016, he bought a new white BMW W8 I, and his mother who was overwhelmed with joy could not help but rush to social media to share the good news with her fans.
Another fact we are not sure of is who the father of the Bandile is – whether he is a child she had with her ex-husband or someone else. However, one would assume that since she was married in the past, Bandile Nyandeni is probably a product of the marriage – since nothing else is said about his paternity.
4. The Veteran Actress Joined The Cast Of IsiBaya From The First Season And She Reckons It As Her Best Work Careerwise
A year before the official launch of the TV program, IsiBaya in 2013, Thembi Nyandeni was contacted by the producers of the series to be a part of the cast. She didn’t have to audition for the role because the producers had already seen her perform in other TV series.
She refers to her role in IsiBaya as one of her greatest career achievements. According to Thembi Nyandeni, even though she played a lot of roles before that, none of them felt like IsiBaya. The vibe and energy she brings to the TV show have endeared her to the hearts of most fans of the show from the first to the eighth season.
5. In 2014, She Won Her Maiden Award As Outstanding Lead Actress At The Royalty Soapie Awards
A year after the official launch of the first season of IsiBaya, Thembi Nyandeni won her first-ever award after she was nominated in the category of Outstanding Lead Actress at the 2014 Royal Soapie Awards. Fans of IsiBaya applauded the award because her performance on the maiden season of the show really deserved it.
In the series, she plays the role of Mkayabi Zungu, a materfamilias of the Zungu family who will not take no for an answer for any reason. She is a no-nonsense and aggressive woman who will waste no time when it comes to picking up her loaded AK-47 rifle to protect her family.
One of the biggest highlights of her roles as Mkayabi was in the episode when she took up her AK-47 rifle to join a group of men from her clan in a street fight. This particular act brought social media to a standstill. Following the death of her brother in the series, she gets involved in the rough life of the taxi industry politics. IsiBaya has some amazing actors and actresses who come and go, but Thembi has remained, endearing herself to more and more viewers.
6. Besides IsiBaya, Thembi Has Appeared In Over 10 SA Movies And TV Shows
Though Thembi is known for her role in IsiBaya, the talented veteran actress has also featured in a good number of other popular South African soapies. In the first season of 90 Plein Street, she played the role of Ethics Chair. She was also a part of the first season of Isidingo where she played the role of Thembi.
She joined another sensational TV series, Jacob’s Cross, in the fourth season and played the character of Thembisile, the Energy Minister and in the third season of Lockdown, she played the role of Minister Mazibuko. She was part of the Rockville cast in the fifth season of the show as Ntombi Nkosi and in the first four seasons of Zone 14, she played the role of Selina Khumba.
7. The Award-Winning Actress Is 95% The Character Mkayabi Zungu In Real Life
If you want to know the kind of woman Thembi Nyandeni is off the screen, then maybe you should watch more of IsiBaya because according to her, her off-screen personality is not far from that of her on-screen character in IsiBaya – Mkayabi Zungu.
The seasoned actress loves the character she plays on the TV show because you don’t always see women of her age play lead roles as most producers always prefer using younger ladies. According to her, she decided how she wanted to look in IsiBaya as she didn’t want the modernized look most ladies have today because she wanted to depict a character that people can relate to. She wanted people to see her like a mother or aunt that they can relate to.
Her life, in reality, is so similar to the role that when the producers wanted to give Mkayabi Zungu a boyfriend in the series, she outrightly rejected the notion and threatened to quit the series if they went ahead with the plans. Since the producers didn’t want her to leave, they had to play by her rules.
8. She Was Allegedly Involved In A Leaked Sex Tape Scandal In 2017
In 2017, a leaked sex tape went viral on social media that almost ruined the robust career that she has built for herself. In the 58 seconds video, an elderly woman is seen given oral sex to an unidentified man, and to the eyes of most people who saw the video, the elderly woman in question looked like Thembi Nyandeni, despite the fact that it was obvious that both ladies have a lot of differences.
News outlets would always jump on such news without confirmation and they were at it this time as the video went viral and became a hot topic in Mzansi. Everyone thought it was the award-winning actress in the leaked sex tape which made her very offended as the image and reputation built over the years was just about to be tarnished by some clown with access to the internet.
9. Thembi Came Up With A Defence That Convinced Mzansi That Her Morality Level is Still High
Big South African media houses such as Sunday World tried to reach out to Thembi Nyandeni to get her response on the alleged sex tape that was going viral with her name and she gave a robust response regarding the video.
In her response, she said she is too old for such things and does not even have a man with whom she is in any form of an intimate relationship. She even went on to suggest that someone was out to tarnish her image and pleaded with Mzansi to help her unmasked the identity of whoever had attached her name to the leaked tape.
She went on to add that she is someone who has lived her life by morals and set rules. She does not even accept taking acting roles that involve kissing or getting intimate with any man. According to her, she has children and people from the younger generation who look up to her so she wouldn’t condescend so low as to participate in such absurdity. Nyandeni also added that the lady in the leaked sex tape had a lot of things that differentiated them like the length of hair and the ring she was wearing.
She was able to convince people that she wasn’t the person in the video as headlines began to make it’s way to the internet space, countering the suggestion that Thembi Nyandeni was the lady in the leaked sex tape. This was how her career was able to survive the whole sex tape scandal.
10. She Is The Co-founder of the African Group, Umoja
African Umoja also called the ‘The Spirit of Togetherness’ is an exposition of songs and dances that have been performed in 50 different countries. The group was created by Todd Twala and Thembi Nyandeni with the aim of helping young South Africans remember their heritage. They also used the group as a means of helping the less advantaged people in the country realize their dreams.