29 March 2023

Thembinkosi Mthembu on his role in the hit Showmax Original drama Adulting

Celebrated actor Thembinkosi Mthembu has garnered critical acclaim for his roles and shows no sign of slowing down. He soars to new heights in the new Showmax Original Adulting, now streaming on Showmax.

With numerous heavyweight titles in his resume, the KZN-born actor is well on his way to being South Africa’s most sought-after actor. Mthembu plays the bad boy Mabutho in 1Magic’s award-winning telenovela The River, having previously impressed Mzansi viewers with his breakout role as Junior in Mzansi Magic drama series The Republic. He is also portraying King Dingiswayo in the highly anticipated drama series Shaka Ilembe, set for release later in 2023, and is currently starring in Tshedza Pictures’ first Showmax Original, Adulting. 

Adulting is an eight-part drama series set in the parallel universes of four friends. Their strong bond has held them together even as their journeys in life have taken them in very different directions – a bond the show’s creators describe as “the bromance of the decade”.

Watch the trailer for Adulting

Mthembu spoke exclusively to Showmax about his role as Bonga, a high achieving corporate maverick with commitment issues in Adulting.

Thembinkosi Mthembu plays Bonga in Adulting S1

What traits do you admire in Bonga?

He’s a fun guy who likes his friends and family. A person who goes after what he wants in life. He’s at a stage in his life where things are changing for him. He just bought a new house, new car and is taking care of his family. I’m not sure about his love for girls (laughing).

What is it you don’t like about him?

I don’t like the fact that he doesn’t accept his father. I mean, he’s old and fathers do make mistakes. At the end of the day, a father is a father. Also the fact that he doesn’t care. I think in the long run, it’s going to catch up with him. He doesn’t believe in love and he gives up easily. But I don’t judge him.

We know being an actor isn’t easy – what has been the most challenging thing about playing this character?

I’ve played a lot of serious roles who are a bit older and Bonga is totally different. He’s young, just fresh out of varsity and he’s very loud. So I had to do research and even though my personality is slightly the same with him, I had to find ways to embody someone who has a lot of money.

How does Adulting set itself apart from other shows you’ve worked on?

It’s different and it delves into our lives as youth. It doesn’t sugarcoat, everything is here. It doesn’t have a filter. It also gives us a lot of different perspectives because everyone has his own story. I also believe that in every story there’s someone out there going through the same thing. It’s fun and fast-paced.

We know guys like to have fun. What are the things you’ve learned from your fellow cast members, both as a character and in real life?

Firstly with Thabiso who plays Mpho, funny enough he’s even married in real life, so it seems that he got a perfect character. I’ve learnt quite a lot because we chill and talk as gents. He’s at a stage in life where I also want to be, to get married. 

With BU, it’s his bravery. He hasn’t been acting for a long time but I like how brave he is. How he told himself that this is acting and he needs to embody the character. His character is wild and he has committed to it fully.

With Nhlanhla, it’s the conversations we have about acting. Also our characters are very close, Eric and Bonga. We always talk about acting, and give each other tips about the industry.

Without any spoilers, is there any specific scene that’s your favourite?

There are quite a few. The show is exciting. Every scene is fun and well-written. There’s this one scene but I won’t talk about it now (laughing). Yes, it involves a woman. That’s all I can say.

What do you hope the viewers will take away from this series?

First of all, I would like the gents to watch the show. Like I said, there are so many things men go through and the show touches on these things. I just want them to learn that you make mistakes in life but you have to grow as a person. They will get to see that even if you can be wild, you still need to be careful, especially regarding friends. Also they will get to see that at some point in life there are friends that you get to move away from as part of your growth.

If you were to choose another character, which one would you like to play?

Definitely Mpho, because I think it would challenge me as a person based on characters I’ve played before. I also think BU’s character as well.

Any three tips to surviving adulting?

Here are my three tips to survive adulting: 

  1. When you arrive in Jozi, make sure you have few friends and save as much as you can. 
  2. You will get a girl and face heartbreak (laughing).
  3. Hit the gym, hustle, and not deny yourself opportunities, especially if you are in my line of work. 

All episodes of Adulting are ready to binge on Showmax.

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