At just 4 months, Baby Beyoncé is the youngest member on Mzansi Magic telenovela, Isibaya. On her birth, proud mom Ntwenhle Ndlovu chose the name Thandeka, in memory of her boyfriend Jabulani Zungu’s late sister. But once Dabula (real name Chris Q Radebe) was confirmed as the biological father, he overruled Ntwenhle and renamed his daughter Beyoncé.
— Isibaya Mzansi Magic (@IsibayaMzansi) August 19, 2020
In this exclusive interview, we speak to Isibaya supervising director, Adze Ugah and Baby Beyoncé’s real life mother about the challenges of having young children on the cast.
Asked about the ease of shooting a film with a baby, Adze Ugah said:
“Well, shooting with babies requires a lot of patience. We can only shoot if the baby is ready. Sometimes the crying you hear is actually only the sound of a baby crying that we have in our sound effects library that we add. You will notice that you don’t usually see the baby’s face when she is crying.”
Lucky baby Beyoncé
There are over a million babies born every year in South Africa. The odds of one baby being chosen for an acting role are steep. We asked the award winning filmmaker what exactly it is that casting directors look when choosing a baby.
“Casting directors always look for a child that has another that looks like it, preferably twins. That way, if one is crying and can’t shoot, we use the other one, this child however is not a twin, but there is another that looks like her.”
The supervising director of Isibaya, Adze Ugah shared a few industry secrets.
“But let me also alert you, some of the scenes you saw with the baby, were not shot with the crew present. We have a dummy plastic baby that we use for the wide shots, and then we send a director with a wardrobe lady to the house of the mother and we shoot only the close ups of the child to match what we shot on the wide on set and intercut them together to make it look like the baby was actually on set when she was not. This is just to keep the child safe from potential corona. When it’s hard to cheat that, then we bring the child to set and she must not spend more than three hours and her mother is with her. In such cases we bring the child on set, while adhering to strict COVID-19 production protocols with parental and Labour law consent.”
Who is baby Beyoncé ’s real mother?
If you have ever tried to get a passport photo with a two year old, then you can only imagine how hard it can be to film a TV series with a much younger baby. Of course, we were keen to know how difficult it was for mom and the film crew to have 4 month old Beyoncé – whose real name is Thateho Leballo – on one of Mzansi’s most watched shows.
Quick Read Magazine also spoke to the actual mother of baby Beyoncé, Seipati Leballo.
“It’s not that difficult as she is not a crying baby. But sometimes it is, maybe if they want her asleep in the scene but she doesn’t want to sleep at that time.”
Seipati, who met her baby’s on-screen mom, Asavela Mngqithi, also spoke about how she felt to be the mother of of Isibaya‘s youngest actress?
“I’m very, very proud, as I always imagined myself on TV since my childhood but I didn’t get that chance. So seeing my baby on TV makes me a very proud mom!”
Even though she is just four months old, the proud mother already has career wishes for her child. Regarding her ambitions for little Thateho, Seipati said;
“Yes I would like her to continue with acting, I will be very happy. But of course I won’t force her to do it if she doesn’t want to do it”.
Sadly, Isibaya comes to a close after a thrilling eight seasons littered with numerous awards. But the memory of one of Mzansi’s most watched telenovelas will live on. Perhaps someday baby Beyoncé – Thateho, to use her real name – will once again grace our television screens.
Image supplied by Seipati Leballo and used with permission.
A fan of natural African hair with a love for books and television. If it’s on Mzansi Magic… I’ve probably seen it.
My pen is capped