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Introducing Keabetswe Mashugane, the actress who plays Captain Neo on SABC 1’s drama series, Family Secrets

Keabetswe Mashungane
Keabetswe Mashungane

Keabetswe Mashugane is a South African actress, public speaker, event MC and businesswoman. She is most notable for her acting roles on the South African telenovela “Greed and Desire”, “Muvhango” and recently starred on the new telenovela “UBettina Wethu and now Family Secrets as the character Captain Neo.

With five years to date in the industry, Keabetswe has seen great success with her acting career. The Family Secrets star first broke into the industry and captured Mzansi’s heart with her role as the Tswana Princess Oarabile on Greed and Desire and now has viewers captivated by the relentless Captain Neo on the second instalment of SABC 1’s drama series, Family Secrets.

In this Glamour interview, we unpack her roles in uBettina Wethu and Family Secrets, being an actress, self-care and what youth month means to her.

GLAMOUR: Tell us a bit more about Keabetswe Mashugane?

Keabetswe: I’m a South African actress and professional make-up artist, born and raised in Mahikeng, with a passion for the lifestyle and film industry. Most people best know me for my character leading roles in some of SA telenovelas and soapies such as Greed & Desire, Muvhango, & uBettina wethu to name a few… Outside of being an actress, I’m a 32-year-old lady with a bubbly personality and a great sense of humour, who believes in working hard to achieve the things I have and enjoy speaking my mind when given the chance.

G: What inspired you to go into acting?

K: I always say that acting found me. I transitioned from corporate into arts through sheer chance. I went to an impromptu audition while still working, I had nothing to lose and thought nothing of it afterwards. I resigned from my job a month later and while I was job hunting, I got the call from the producers. And I’ve never looked back since. My first acting role was on The Road. In hindsight, it feels I’ve come full circle because I grew up in the industry. My mother is a makeup artist, so I was exposed to film and television from an early age. Little did I know that that is where I’d find my passion.

G: What's the toughest thing about being an actress?

K: The long and big gaps between employment make it very hard to maintain an even temperament. I’ve learnt to explore other income streams as a result. Fortunately, I’m good at saving too.

G: Tell us a bit more about your roles in both uBettina Wethu and Family Secrets.

K: The roles are so different. Worlds apart. Angelina, who I played on uBettina Wethu, is a talented and naive gospel singer looking to make it big in the music industry- she’s soft and the quintessential girly girl. Neo on the other hand, who I play on Family Secrets is Captain of a law enforcement unit, who has military training as a sniper. She’s very hard and aggressive. I absolutely love playing Neo. She’s completely different to all the roles I’ve played before.

Image: Supplied

G: Seeing that it's Youth Month, what does it mean to be a young person in South Africa?

K: Oh, man. We’ve just commemorated June 16 (Youth Day) and I couldn’t help but wonder what the legacy that was left by those fallen heroes of 1976 mean today when we’re faced with the challenge and crises of unemployment. A crisis that continues to rise at an alarming rate. We’re a youth aggrieved, disheartened and in a different kind of pain. I’m fortunate enough to be among the employed youth right now. A reality that isn’t true for many. We can go pointing the finger at our ineffective government all we want but being a young person in South Africa today means also being able to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. We have technology and social media at our disposal and this has opened so many opportunities that we can take full advantage of to progress and better our lives. Let’s use what we have and make it work for us.

G: Have you ever doubted yourself? and how do you take care of your mind and body?

K: Oh absolutely. I think it’s part of human nature. I work in an industry where rejection is a given. This can take a knock at a person's confidence levels. But the one thing this industry has taught me is to have a thick skin. I have strong faith and believe in always staying prepared to receive what you’re praying for. Prayer and meditation have helped me to keep my mind and spirit focused.

Image: Supplied

G: Given an opportunity, what would you tell your 16-year-old self?

K: Let go of fear, Keabetswe. Never mind what everyone else is doing, you have your own destiny. Be kind to yourself.

G: What are the 5 things people would be surprised to find out about you

K: I’m a makeup artist too. Been doing it secretly for a couple of years now.

I can be incredibly shy at times.

I’m short-tempered (not my proudest trait).

I’ve taken a first aid course so I can perform CPR in an emergency situation.

I’m afraid of frogs.

G: What are you most grateful for?

K: For life and health. Given the difficult time we’re faced with, life and health are such precious gifts. I thank God every day for this.

Family Secrets Season 2 makes a return with a fresh storyline that will leave the viewers glued to their screens with endless plots and twists, enough to keep them on the edge of their seats. Catch it every Sunday at 8pm on SABC 1.

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