'The Herd’s' Paballo Mavundla on his fruitful career: 'Circumstances can never determine where you end up'

Cape Town - He lives and breathes drama, which he says is his first love. But he wishes people could tell real life from fiction.

Actor Paballo Mavundla (20) had people fired up over his role as the rebellious teen Nkosana on The Herd. The young man, who is nothing like Nkosana, says, "It’s actually quite crazy how people see your character on television and immediately assume that is how you really are."

Instead, he describes himself as a humble, shy and somewhat extroverted person from Meadowlands in Soweto.

"I am an extrovert, but people will find it incredibly surprising to know that I am really shy, and it takes a while for me to open up," he says.

THE BIG BREAK

Paballo started acting in SABC1 soapie Generations: The Legacy last year. He plays young varsity student Crazy J and he recalls how surprised he was when he got the role. "I will not lie, it took me by major surprise because I had been to so many auditions with no luck." The 20-year-old matriculated in 2017 at the National School of Arts in Johannesburg where his passion for acting was honed.

"Being there really did so much for my development and I really believe I am where I am right now because it really was a step in the right direction," he says.

STAYING FOCUSED

Although it’s still early days, Paballo says fans responded to Crazy J in a very different way compared to Nkosana. "I have been typecast as a rebellious kid and that confuses people a little, but I guess I am that convincing," he says.

"I haven’t got anything close to the hate I got with Nkosana. But I was told to prepare for it with that character so I do not let it get to me." He says his secret to blocking any hate is avoiding social media.

"I do not want to be too invested in social media because it is not healthy and it can really have an impact on how you think and view the world. "I had to make a decision to not listen to what is being said and just do what was best for me."

Paballo hopes Crazy J will have the same impact as Nkosana had, but says he’s aware his first role will always be the one fans remember him for. "I am not trying to erase Nkosana. I am embracing it. Look at Sello Maake KaNcube – he has played so many roles over the years but will always be Archie Moroka [from Generations]. The same with Connie Ferguson. She will always be Karabo."

THE FUTURE

"I just want to have a positive impact on the young ones," Paballo says.

"Dream big even when you share your dreams with people and they think they are ridiculous, especially the ones in Soweto.

"Circumstances can never determine where you end up," he adds. Paballo hopes to be cast in a role that shatters the box office one day. But for now, he’s working on sharpening his acting skills so his dream can come true.