Don Mlangeni Nawa (born June 7, 1959; Age: 63 years old) is a South African director, producer, stage, television, and film actor best known for his role as Zebedee Matabane, a traditional family man and patriarch on the SABC 3’s TV series, Isidingo: The Need.
He began his career in the theatre before his popularity skyrocketed in the early 1990s. He has since appeared in several local productions. However, he announced in late 2020 that he would quit acting, although he would be granting the Uzalo production crew their request for him to play a role in the TV series.
Don Mlangeni was Born on June 7th, 1959
South African actor, director, and producer Don Mlangeni was born on the 7th of June 1959 in Soweto, Gauteng Province. He is currently 63 years old. The actor hasn’t publicly disclosed information about his background, upbringing, parents, and family members.
Also, there are no records of his academic attainments, including the names of schools he attended and graduation dates.
The Actor was Raised in Soweto
The Isidingo screen star spent most part of his life in his native home, Soweto. He reportedly lived there for many years before he relocated to his current residence in Cape Town.
His Acting Debut Came on the Stage
Nawa started out as a stage actor in a local theatre. Although the names of the plays he featured in are not publicly known, his acting talent made him outstanding among his peers.
His career moved to a higher level in 1993 when he bagged a role in the Zulu drama Hlala Kwabafileyo, after which he snagged a supporting role in the Zulu film Ubambo Lwam’ as David.
The Cycle Simenon was yet another project that boosted his acting career – many thanks to his fantastic skills. Mlangeni earned his career breakthrough in 1998 when he joined the television soap opera Isidingo as the fictional character Zebedee Matabane.
His contribution to the series was so outstanding that the production crew kept him on the show for almost 15 years. The actor left the show in early 2014 following a disciplinary dispute with the producers of the show.
It is said that Nawa refused to endorse a big bank whose name was included in his lines. He was also accused of being arrogant. Nevertheless, his stint on Isidingo remains the most outstanding role in his TV career.
The actor joined the popular Mzansi Magic telenovela The Throne in the year 2018 as the lead character Moseki, a royal family member and younger brother of the queen. The Soweto native also played the popular role of Laqhasha in five seasons of the television serial ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi, and his performance was nothing short of stunning.
He also delivered stellar performances on the TV series The Estate, wherein he portrayed the character Shadrack Mokobane, an activist who will stop at nothing to protect and defend the interest of his poverty-stricken community in Thembalethu.
The actor joined the cast of the TV series Legacy in 2020. Later in the same year, he announced that the popular television series Uzalo would be his last production as an actor.
He Has One Professional Film Credit to His Name
Don Mlangeni Nawa made his first film appearance in 2019 in the film Losing Lerato, wherein he played the role of a SWAT Commander. The actor, who is best known for his role in Isidingo, won the Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in a TV Soap in 2006 for his role in Isidingo.
In 2007 and 2010, he was nominated twice for SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in a TV Soap but lost both awards to other actors. Don received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Royalty Soapie Awards for his contribution to the television industry.
Don Mlangeni Nawa’s TV Shows
- Abomama – Season 1 as Mfundisi
- ‘Sgudi ‘Snaysi – Season 1 as Laqhasha
- Stokvel – Season 3 as Laquashe
- The Republic – Season 1 as Bhambatha
- The River – Season 1 as Thato
- The Throne – Season 1 as Prince Moseki Kwena
- Uzalo – Season 1 as Dhlomo
- Zaziwa – Season 1 as Himself
- The Estate
- Isidingo – Season 1 as Zebedee Matabane
- Legacy – Season 1 as John
- Rockville – Season 3 as Diliza
- Makoti – Season 2 as Zandisile
The Isidingo Actor is a Father of Five
Don Mlangeni Nawa is happily married to his wife of many years. Unfortunately, it is difficult to tell when and how they met, when they tied the knot, and how long they’ve been together as husband and wife.
The actor’s marriage is blessed with five beautiful children. The names of his two youngest kids are Alwande (daughter, born in 1999) and Olubanzi (son, 2004). He made his first and only public appearance with the two in the year 2013.
Since then, he’s been seen publicly with his older kids, and he has never talked about them publicly. He, however, shares photos of himself and his wife on his Instagram page sometimes.
Is Don Mlangeni Still Alive?
The veteran actor is very much alive and kicking strong. Although the actor announced in late 2020 that his appearance in the TV series Uzalo would be his last TV job, he has gone on to make a couple of on-screen appearances in some projects.
In September 2022, he posted an Instagram picture of himself and other cast from the South African thriller Shaka Ilembe (which is yet to be released). He also appeared in season 2 of the TV series Makoti. In essence, the thespian is doing well and still alive.
Mlangeni also mentioned in 2020 that he would be trying something different after his last appearance in Uzalo. He is yet to publicly bring his overwhelming fans up to speed on this. As gathered, the talented actor is currently living a quiet life somewhere in Cape Town.