Fulu Mugovhani is making her way back to the small screen after a year-long study sabbatical.
Mugovhani, 30, will for the first time in her career play a mother and wife in new TV show Still Breathing.
She rose to fame as tenacious photojournalist Anzani in Scandal! and feisty musangwe (traditional Venda bare-knuckle boxing) fighter in Ring of Lies.
But it was her starry turn on the big screen as Afro-hipster in coming-of-age movie Ayanda that won her critical acclaims and made her one of the promising stars in SA’s growing film industry.
The role won her a South Africa Film and Television Awards (Safta), Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and took her to the Cannes Film Festival.
Sowetan reconnected with Mugovhani for the first time since she took a break from public life at the lavish The Palace of the Lost City Hotel in Sun City, recently.
Descending down the iconic grand spiral staircase in a tribal Trendy Furbish dress, the pint-sized beauty is still the African screen siren I remember her to be.
The Thohoyandou-born star focused on obtaining her degree in musical theatre from the Tshwane University of Technology.
“I focused on my studies last year because I want to expand and get into production,” Mugovhani said.
“I want to tell my stories and be in those stories – I don’t want to wait anymore for the right role. I want to see what else I can do, not that I have exhausted my creativities as an actress. I think I have more in me.”
Mugovhani was writing her examination when she filmed the show in December.
“Although it was challenging, I had a lot of support from the crew. They literally wrote on the call sheet ‘today is Fulu’s exam’ and when I came back they asked me how it went. That support was so beautiful,” she shares.
In Still Breathing, premiering on M-Net on February 27, Mugovhani is joined by Siv Ngesi, Lorcia Cooper, Nandi Nyembe, Shannon Esra and Brandon Auret.
In the show, love, betrayal and dark secrets collide after a group of friends are hit by a tragedy.
Judging from the first episode that was screened to me, the show is very experimental compared to many TV dramas on local screens. It’s a slow burner, but the last 15 minutes of the first episode is gripping and will have you bawling your eyes out.
“I think people should expect growth from me. Before I did a lot of drama, but nothing like this,” Mugovhani says.
“It’s a more mature Fulu in terms of my acting and the roles that I pick now. I want to play roles that are not the same and one-dimensional.
“I want roles that are different and I can live through vicariously. In SA, the industry is booming right now and the characters are very dimensional.”