In the realm of South African entertainment, James Sithole, renowned for his portrayal of Mdala in etv’s Scandal, has made headlines not just for his acting prowess but also for his remarkable linguistic abilities. Sithole’s revelation that he is proficient in ten languages left South Africans astonished and intrigued.
A Multilingual Background
Sithole’s linguistic journey begins with his diverse family heritage. He proudly shared that his mother is of Venda descent, while his father hails from the Tsonga community. Surprisingly, neither side of his family spoke these languages fluently. As a result, they settled on Pedi as their primary means of communication.
From Childhood Dreams to Acting Accidentally
Born in Kwa-Ndebele, Mpumalanga, Sithole’s career trajectory initially took a different path. In his early years, while in grade 1, he aspired to become a policeman or a soldier. Acting was far from his mind until a fortuitous turn of events.
“I joined the youth development group as an athlete, aiming to excel in running events such as the 1000 and 200 meters. One day, our athletics instructor was absent, so I attended the acting and music class. It was then that I fell in love with acting. I immediately knew that’s where I wanted to be.”
Sithole’s formal acting journey began when he enrolled in the South African State Theatre in Pretoria after completing his matriculation.
A Passion for Language
James Sithole’s love for languages extended beyond the world of acting. He pursued language studies with the ambition of becoming a translator at some point in his life.
“I studied languages because I aspired to be an interpreter. It was like a safety net for me. I used to interpret at church, and that’s why I wanted to learn to speak multiple languages. I can confidently say that I’m proficient in all the official languages, excluding Afrikaans. Currently, I am in the process of learning Swahili and sign languages.”
The Advantage of Multilingualism in the Entertainment Industry
In a conversation with Sunday World, the Scandal star emphasized the significant advantages of being multilingual, particularly in the South African entertainment industry.
“We’ve witnessed shows that require specific languages to be spoken. If you are well-versed in all these languages, you can secure any job you desire.”
James Sithole’s journey from an aspiring athlete to a multilingual actor in South Africa’s vibrant entertainment landscape is a testament to his dedication, talent, and the remarkable power of language. His ability to speak ten languages not only enriches his craft but also underscores the importance of linguistic diversity in the ever-evolving world of entertainment.