He’s been playing the same character for 12 years. Even though he absolutely loves his role on etv’s Scandal!, he was ready for a fresh challenge. So when a chance to be part of SABC 1’s new sitcom uBettina Wethu came around, he grabbed it. Actor Brighton Ngoma got the gig to play Thabang “T-Bang” Moeketsi on uBettina Wethu. It is the South African edition of Ugly Betty.
Brighton has been playing businessman Quinton Nyathi on etv’s Scandal! and he says he welcomes the change because the new character is nothing like Quinton. Thabang is mean, wicked, dramatic and selfish. He is everything that Quinton was not. He is only loyal to his cousin Lakhe, but otherwise he is always scheming and being underhanded.
“I have been longing for a role like this because I was starting to doubt myself as an actor and the industry as a whole. I was kind of considering hanging up my boots, but then this came along. As an actor I believe it is important to diversify and not do the same thing for too long to avoid being typecast.”
Had the acting failed, Brighton says, he would have considered something that has to do with cars. “My other passion is motoring. Last year I started doing videos for dealerships too, like Top Gear vibes. I am into speed and the mechanics of cars. Spinning is the only thing that does not make sense to me,” he says. “It’s a waste of rubber,” he jokes.
Being on uBettina Wethu will be an opportunity for viewers to see a different side to him, the funny side. “I do think I’m funny. I come from a family of theatre people who always keep you on your toes with wit and sarcasm. I am happy to be tapping into my comedic side for this show.”
Brighton has Vitiligo and is very open about the skin condition. “I went through my own research about the condition and learnt it is completely painless and it is not contagious. I had to dig deep and get comfortable with myself. It is one of the worst things that can happen to you on TV, when you body starts to change. I had to decide what I wanted to do, you know, did I want to cover it up with make-up – which was going to be a nightmare logistically because it would take too long, or did I want to have it included in the storyline. Ultimately, I decided to carry on the way I was doing.
“It started with just a spot on my elbow and obviously I wasn’t standing in front of the mirror everyday looking at my elbows. Then it spread. I was about 20 when I first noticed it and there has been a rapid spread over the last 10 years.
“I think that everyone should accept that we are all unique, accept our uniqueness and live our lives to the fullest as we are,” he says.
Actors Lorcia Cooper and Clint Brink have been vocal about how they feel there is a lack of representation of coloured actors who are in lead roles, but Brighton would not be drawn to that conversation.
“I do not think it is a necessary conversation to have. I do not like to be boxed in any way,” he concludes.