How to cope in high school, by Makgotso M and Celeste Khumalo

18 January 2019

How to cope in high school, by Makgotso M and Celeste Khumalo

Private schools went back this week, even for Celeste Khumalo (Linda from The Queen) and Makgotso M (Thishiwe from Is’thunzi), two of the stars of The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, now available to binge on Showmax.

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The Girl From St Agnes on Showmax

Celeste Khumalo. Image: Patrick Toselli

They play students at St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, where a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill.

We caught up with them to find out more about their characters in the whodunnit, whether the dark drama reminded them of their own school experiences, and what advice they’d give to anyone starting high school this year…

Tell us about your characters in The Girl From St Agnes.

Celeste: I play Kholwa, the head girl. She’s an overachiever. She strives for perfection in everything she does. She tries to keep her image clean – and the school’s image clean. She really works hard to prove a point to a certain person at the school, which is also a cry for attention.

People who know me for the Miss Teen era will remember that young girl who won.

Makgotso: I play Moipone. She‘s a lot. She’s this black conscious girl at school. She basically runs the whole school. She’s a bully. She’s unapologetic about who she is. If she doesn’t like something, you’ll know. Her father is like that as well. On the exterior, she presents herself as someone very hard – a ‘don’t mess with me’ exterior – but she’s not just one thing. We are all very complicated and we all have different layers, so you get to see her different layers. She’s actually a softie but has been through a lot…

Did The Girl From St Agnes remind you of your own school experiences?

Makgotso: It did. Two of my high schools in England were shut down because of unruliness. One in Brighton and then one in Milton Keynes for me were horrible; I had a hard time. I got bullied and picked on. I went to a predominantly white school and was teased for my big lips and my accent. I was very secluded…

I didn’t know how hectic private schools are though, even with these initiation things. That traumatised me. These kids are corrupt, I tell you…

Celeste: It was interesting to go back to high school. I went to an all-girls school, Parktown Girls’. I never wanted to be head girl but in a way I ended up being head girl of the country as Miss Teen SA.

I did remember high school but it was fun for me really. I stayed out of trouble but was quite popular at the same time.

What advice would you give to people starting high school?

Celeste: The world is a bigger place than high school. The issues that we face in high school do impact our lives but we should look at them with a positive outlook – there may be a way to work it out and put it behind you.

For men at school, for boys at school, be aware of your actions towards the females at school…

Makgotso: Treat others how you would want to be treated.

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