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Sibongile Mlambo
– Actress, United States
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Meet our Zimbassador
Name

Sibongile Mlambo

Location

Los Angeles, Californa, USA

Occupation

Actress

“I’ve found art to be very healing for the artist as well as the receiver and we need a lot of that.”

-Sibongile Mlambo

When a Zimbabwean reaches the big time in the Arts in music or on the big screen, the pride and love is felt worldwide. Such love has been spreading for our very own Sibongile “Sibo” Mlambo who in addition to playing Eme in Starz network’s show Black Sails and having a film premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival lead by Charlize Theron and directed by Sean Penn, she is also starring as a lead in Honey 3 next to Cassie Ventura and Kenny Wormald from Footloose. Zimbabweans all over the world have shared the trailer on social media and shown an immense amount of pride in and support for our Zimbabwean starlet making waves in Hollywood.

In addition to her blossoming acting career,  Sibo has also been very successful in the commercial modelling sector in South Africa and her radiant smile can be seen on Nivea product billboards in prominent locations in Harare and around major cities around Africa. A compilation of Sibongile’s recent body of work can be seen in her 2016 showreel.

Sibo, who left Zimbabwe in 2005 to pursue her education in the USA, has lived in Texas, New York and even had a brief stint in Spain. More recently since 2011, Sibo was living and working in South Africa in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. She only recently moved back to the USA, settling in Los Angeles.

After moving around so much, it’s easy to understand why the concept of home has become difficult for her to define. She wonders,

 “where is home for me? Is it a place, people, or a country?”

One of Sibo's Billboard campaigns across Africa

One of Sibo’s Billboard campaigns across Africa

To overcome this, Sibo values her sense of adventure and ability to be open and accept what’s different. There have been many life-defining moments and decisions in her decade abroad and the time she spent in South Africa is for her, most notable. After graduating in Texas, Sibo spent a year and a half in New York before making the decision to move back to Africa, finding herself in Cape Town.

 “For the first time I was able to earn a living solely from acting, modeling and dancing. This was something I didn’t think was possible for me, I would wonder how long it was going to last. Every year I would see progress in my career which gave me a strong sense of accomplishment and achievement, I really understood and internalized that nothing is impossible!”

Despite her also identifying as South African, Sibo’s lack of fluency in Zulu/Xhosa languages limited her roles in South Africa’s film/TV industry. She did, however, succeed in being cast in international productions.  In addition to the work, with her parents, twin brother and sisters living in the USA, she missed being near her family when she lived in Cape Town.

 “I’d always dreamed of living in LA and I knew people who had been there or lived there and I wanted to experience it for myself so I saved up and at the beginning of 2015 I flew there looking for representation and met with the company that is now representing me. I spent the rest of the year traveling between Cape Town and Los Angeles, working, and finally decided to make the move and here I am!”

She now exclaims at how amazing it is having her whole family in the same country after she made the decision to move back to the USA. On a personal level, living in the same country as her loved ones has definitely been a success factor.

Reflecting on the current trajectory of her career and her starring role as one of the leads in Honey 3, she remembers in awe,

 “I thought my dancing days were behind me but God had other plans! I’d just moved to LA and a week later I auditioned…and two months later I was on a flight back to Cape Town to start rehearsals and filming, it felt very surreal. I remember watching Honey when I was a teenager in Zimbabwe and choreographing to the songs. It seemed like such a far-away world, so to be a part of the franchise is very special for me. It comes out soon so be sure to catch it!”

Honey 3 – Trailer

 

On Zimbabwe, Sibo recalls an incident on her most recent trip back to Zimbabwe,

 “I remember I was driving and got this sudden sense of familiarity. I realized I was in an old friend’s neighbourhood I used to frequent and I experienced this lovely rush of nostalgia that turned to a deep sadness. When I was that age I never imagined I’d leave Zim for so long and now, I can’t imagine moving back. The Zimbabwe I knew in my younger days feels like a myth.”

Sibo’s passion is seen through her dream for Zimbabwe to experience a complete transformation, a rebirth and her determined eagerness to be able to contribute to Zimbabwe through the arts.

“I’ve found art to be very healing for the artist as well as the receiver and we need a lot of that.”

Photo Credit: Justin Munitz

*Featured photos on this page taken by Justin Munitz Portrait Photography

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