Baby Cele is exiting SA’s most-watched show Uzalo with a bang in the next couple of days. Her character Gabisile’s past finally catches up with her.
A little birdie told me that her exit is not permanent’ it’s only a matter of when and how she will return to the soapie. Sowetan caught up with Cele to discuss how relocating to Durban in 2018 to be on the show, especially as a newlywed, was more than a career move.
Gabisile’s devious acts finally catch up with her. What was it like to film those scenes?
Usually when I get scripts I don’t read other people’s storylines because I want to be caught off guard. So I want to read what people are going to be seeing as it happens and get surprised. I lived this character and the minute I walked on set I knew I was ready. For me to do this role justice was to not read before the shot date.
I hear that your departure from the show is temporary. How true is this?
It’s temporary? That is news to me [laughs]. When I finished shooting Uzalo I took a break for three months. It gave me enough time to be with my kids at home. It came at the right time because there was so much happening in my personal life. I got to detox Gabisile.
You deserved that break because in the last 10 years I don’t remember seeing you off screen.
True. I’m so grateful to God and my ancestors that this is where I am in my life. I remember those years where I was not near where I am today [financially]. It was all about spending all my money with friends. But now I can take a break and not worry about affording my life.
I think I did only two auditions and I got the one that I’m currently busy with. The character is different from Gabisile. I’m grateful for the break I took because I was able to get into this character with a clear mind.
What was it like to relocate to Durban when you joined Uzalo?
At first I was reluctant, but deep down I knew that it’s what I wanted to do. I have been in this industry for 38 years and I have never worked in Durban. When I got the call I thought ‘oh sh*t, I just got married’. I signed the contract before telling my husband. He’s not fussy but I didn’t want to leave room for when I look at his face, I change my mind. After I told him he didn’t take it well for a few minutes, but he was OK with it. Long- distance relationships are never easy.
How will you remember your time in Durban?
I’m glad that I trusted the process and journey. I had to undergo a spiritual journey of things that I have seen in visions but it wasn’t very clear to me. So as I found myself in that place I thought ‘oh my gosh, I have been seeing this for so many years’. So I did all those things my ancestors needed from me. I don’t think I’d be in the place that I am spiritually if I had not taken that offer.
What legacy do you want to leave?
I’m very grateful for the kind of career that I have had because many people that I started with have not been this blessed. I’m not done and I see myself working to the end, like Mary Twala.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Looking back at Sarafina there were people that I could see that they were never going to make it and I was right. With some I could see that there was talent, but there was no professionalism. Seeing where I am, that is my greatest achievement. I have had my wild days, but I matured out of it when others couldn’t.