… SA actress Lusanda Mbane tells creatives
While creatives decry lack of opportunities in the entertainment space locally and internationally, South Africa’s award-winning actress, Lusanda Mbane, says the gap exists everywhere for artists, especially actors.
Mbane – who plays the villainous Boniswa Langa in TV soapie Scandal – was recently in Gaborone, courtesy of Makgabaneng International Creative Arts Festival. She urged creatives in the audience to make use of social media to showcase their talent as they build their value proposition. “It’s no longer about what nation you come from,” she said.
“It’s about the activism of the artist and how they take their craft, put it together and brand it into an attractive package that people want to place value on.”
Talent alone not enough
Mbane emphasised that it is not enough to have talent and to attend auditions and that building a value proposition is what will attract attention. Although it is a long-term focus, it certainly pays off once the recognition comes and people are ready to pay for the creative’s services.
Citing herself as an example, Mbane said she acts every day, reads scripts, and creates content on social media to give herself an upper hand to obviate having to stand in audition rooms full of other hopefuls for limited roles.
“From my perspective, the biggest challenge is that artists themselves don’t know the value that they bring to the table,” she said. “We go for auditions, stand in queues blending in with the rest of the world and it is difficult to stand out. These days, specifically at a time when acting as a craft has taken a further back seat, it’s becoming even more challenging to stand out.”
The creative space is a business
As an actress, radio host, entrepreneur, marketing and communications expert, Mbane’s role at the festival was to share a part of her story with local creatives and to inspire them. She emphasised that the creative space is a business that should be crystalised, solidified, packaged, branded and taken to the world.
“My message is that as creatives, we are entertainers, disseminators of information and business owners,” she said. “And when we come from two years of COVID-19, loss and depression, the world is looking to us to lift their spirits, which is something worth paying for. We are not just in the entertainment industry; we are in the entertainment business.”
Fast facts about Lusanda Mbane
* In 2009, she made her TV acting debut in Muvhango.
* She is the SAA in flight safety voice-over artist.
* She quit her corporate job for the creative industry.
* She now gets paid as an actress, radio host, entrepreneur, for her Facebook posts, as a speaker, as a voice-over artist and to show up.