12 October 2023

Mnqobi Kunene on his breakthrough role as Kwanele Dlamini in Outlaws

Actor, fitness trainer and Men’s Health Cover Guy Challenge winner Mnqobi Kunene is having a big year, with starring roles in 1Magic’s How To Manifest A Man and the hit Showmax Original Outlaws.

In Outlaws, Kunene plays Kwanele Dlamini, whose love for Sihle (breakout star Nirvana Nokwe-Mseleku) goes way back to when they were kids. We sat down with the actor to discuss his star-making role. 

Mnqobi Kunene as Kwanele in Outlaws

Tell us about Outlaws. 

It’s a love story, but within the love story, there’s also cattle theft, which is still a prevalent issue in KZN. The story takes place between Lesotho and KZN, adding depth to the narrative.

What attracted you to Outlaws? 

To be honest, I feel like this project chose me. Coming from an agricultural background and attending an agricultural school, I truly believe this role was meant for me.

How did you bring the cultural background to the character you play?

This story is more like the life I wanted for myself, a life that was the plan when my dad was around. The first audition was on the anniversary of the day that my dad passed away, so it felt like it was a gift from him. With my agricultural background, it now feels like I am incorporating my experiences into the story and reliving my life. 

How did you feel when you found out that you’d got the role?

I screamed with excitement. I was in the gym. I screamed so loud, people were wondering what was happening with this guy. I was just super excited when I found out I got the role.

Tell us about your character?

Kwanele is a certified lover boy, and his main desire is to marry Sihle, my love interest in the story. However, he’s also a spoiled brat, adding complexity to his character and creating interesting dynamics.

Do you relate to your character?

In some ways, yes. It’s about being deeply in love and cherishing a connection with someone you’ve known since childhood. All you want is to marry this person, and he doesn’t see anyone else besides her.

Talk us through the chemistry between your character, Kwanele and Sihle?

The chemistry between Kwanele and Sihle is really good in the beginning because they have known each other since they were teenagers, until the loss of her parents, which then changes the chemistry between them because she finds someone who is able to fill that gap of grief.

Outlaws S1 is streaming on Showmax

Working with Nirvana was great. We met during the audition process of the show so we developed a friendship before we started filming.

Why should South Africans stream Outlaws? 

It is epic. It’s a different story, something we haven’t seen on SA television. 

Watch the trailer for Outlaws

Add Outlaws to your Showmax watchlist.

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