SOUTH African-based Mosotho actress, Bokang Phelane, is determined to put Lesotho on the global stage by taking the country’s hitherto untold stories to the big screens locally and beyond.
The 27-year-old actress produced her first short 15 minute film, Thabana Nonyana, in December 2017 and is currently in the editing phase.
The film which is set in the small area of Ha Seeng in Semonkong is about a young couple struggling to conceive a child. Amid the frustration, the lady (played by Phelane), starts having dreams which reveal to her that her ex-lover and childhood friend were killed by her husband.
“We found Ha Seeng to be a perfect location for the film in that the village still has that traditional style of living which has not been tampered with and the community was so cooperative and assisted with the wardrobe,” Phelane recently told Xpress People.
The film was shot on a shoe-string budget from our own savings.
“The plan is to circulate the film to various international film festivals in order to source funding for a full feature film. But if we fail, we will keep shooting short films.
“There are so many untold stories in Lesotho and the plan is to tell as many as possible so that other nations can get to know about our greatness and those stories will also remind us of our glory days.”
Phelane gave examples of the stories that can be derived from the time of the founder of this nation King Moshoeshoe I, the likes of Queen Manthatisi who commanded an army in the 19th century. She said Basotho were very talented, especially in acting but most failed to tell Basotho stories because of financial challenges.
She however, said the problem could be overcome through teamwork.
She was born in Ha Makhalanyane and grew up in Ha Thamae in Maseru. She attended Lesotho High School and Machabeng College where she obtained IB (International Baccalaureate) before moving to South Africa.
In 2015, Phelane enrolled for a six-month acting course at Indigo Academy in Johannesburg after which she joined an agency. In May 2016 she landed her first television role in Soap on a Rope which aired on SABC 3.
She went on to act in Keeping Score which used to air on SABC 2.
Fezeka in Single Guyz season 2 on SABC 1.
She has also featured in the SABC 3 productions that include her role as Noxolo in the popular SABC 3 prime time soap opera Isidingo. She however considers Keeping Score her breakthrough which enabled her to connect with a lot of industry shakers and movers.
“When I enrolled in the acting course I was fortunate to have lecturers such as Pamela Nomvete (who played Ntsiki on SABC 1’s Generations) and Michelle Maxwell (who played Abigail/Laqhasha on Etv’s Scandal). I also worked alongside Luthuli Dlamini (who currently plays Advocate Bheki Zulu on SABC 1’s Uzalo) on my first role in Soap on a Rope.
“I also learned to take rejection as it is not in every audition that one gets a role and sometimes one gets a role she had not expected.”
Phelane also said that she will star in Umgoma – a short film about a young couple in the fashion industry who are caught up between their careers and the spiritual calling. The film will be shown on SABC 1 next month.