SNEAK PEEK Freeman Makopa
AWARD-WINNING Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Life & Style reporter Winstone Antonio has ventured into acting as part of the local high-definition soap opera, Wenera.
Antonio plays Gaza in the soap, whose storyline is centred on the Musodza family which runs the Wenera diamonds and explores themes of jealousy, disloyalty and blackmail. NewsDay Life & Style (ND) correspondent Freeman Makopa speaks with Antonio (WA) on his acting career…
ND: Will you be trading your pen and notebook for the small screen?
WA: Not anytime soon. When you look at journalism, it can also be considered as art. So, as a journalist, I am an artist by default and being on screen is
complementary. I am just trying to explore my other abilities. I want to thank my editor, Wisdom Mdzungairi, for his encouragement when I talked to him about
ND: When did you start acting?
WA: I used to do some dramas and music when I was in primary school. This was mainly for academic purposes as my parents used to encourage me to be involved
in extra-curricular activities at school. Although I didn’t really take acting seriously while growing up, in April this year I decided to try my hand at professional acting after I landed a role on Wenera. This is just the beginning, and I hope I will be able to express my other side away from the newsroom.
ND: What inspired you to become an actor?
WA: The love of art has been my major inspiration and, with Wenera, I believe the chase towards realisation of my dream has just started.
ND: Does being Gaza connect with your real character?
WA: Winstone and Gaza are just two different characters. When I am on screen, I am there to fully execute the designated Gaza character bestowed on me by the soap’s executive director, Eddie Ndlovu. I, however, leave it to the viewers to separate Winstone the journalist from Gaza, the persona in the soap opera.
ND: How do you balance acting with journalism?
WA: It is about commitment and determination. I am very flexible and able to balance between my newsroom work and acting. My executive producer always gives me comfortable schedules such that I am able to shoot after I have fulfilled my obligations in the newsroom. He understands the nature of my job, so he always checks with me first before confirming my shoot-schedule. This has seen me work under no pressure at all.
ND: Where do you see yourself in the next five to 10 years?
WA: Only God knows what is in my artistic bag. I have my plans, but above all, there is God who decides what becomes fruitful. Just like anyone who wants to succeed in life, my wish is to be able to establish a name in the arts and culture territory, both as a journalist and actor. However, I admit that making a name in the arts is not a walk in the park; one needs to work hard.
ND: Have you ever taken an acting class or seen an acting coach?
WA: I am yet to receive professional training in acting, but under the tutelage of Eddie Ndlovu and Zolile “Tsotsi” Makeleni, who is also my director, I am being assisted on how best to handle acting, including sharpening my acting skills.
ND: What is the most difficult thing about acting?
WA: For me, the most difficult thing about acting is being able to impress the viewers, who are ultimately the judges of the production, so that they remain glued to their television sets.
ND: How has been your experience so far?
WA: It has really been amazing, facing new challenges while showcasing one’s unknown side. I had to go for five months without shaving my hair when I was put behind bars in the soap. This was, indeed, the beginning of a new character since I had never gone for that long without shaving my hair as I usually spot short hair. I really had a torrid time answering questions from relatives, friends and workmates who had noticed the change. Some jokingly linked it to the current economic hardships, saying I was not able to raise money for a haircut, with others even pledging to take me to the barbershop.
ND: Do you have any other hobbies besides acting?
WA: I enjoy travelling and football. I used to play football as a striker from primary school. In adulthood I played social soccer. Unfortunately, I broke my ankle and have not been able to kick the ball again. I, however, do enjoy going out to watch my favourite Caps United and Zim Journoz Football Club.
ND: What advice can you give to upcoming actors?
WA: As someone who is also green and has a long way to go in this profession, I just want to urge fellow and upcoming actors not to give up.AWARD-WINNING Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Life & Style reporter Winstone Antonio has ventured into acting as part of the local high-definition soap opera, Wenera.