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Making moves on big screens

Making moves on big screens
EARLY BEGINNINGS: Atlang at the Muvhango callback auditions in Johannesburg in 2018

Local actress sizzles on Muvhango

Don’t be fooled by her stunning good looks, Angela Atlang’s rise to the top is down to hard work, talent, and an unerring belief in both herself and God.

The 26-year-old Maun sensation was plunged into the limelight last Monday when she made her debut on South Africa’s award-winning soapie, Muvhango.

The gifted actress plays the role of Itseng, a feisty but troubled young woman who will have fans glued to their screens trying to guess what she does next.

Equipped with a Bachelor of Theatre Arts from the University of Botswana (UB), Atlang’s international success will come an as little surprise to fans of local drama, where she has been a leading figure since 2017.

Whilst her character is outspoken and loud, in this interview with The Voice’s SHARON MATHALA Atlang comes across as shy and laidback….

Congratulations on your exciting new gig with Muvhango. But before we get to that, why do you look so familiar? You’re not the Angela Atlang who famously got pulses racing when she graced Page 3 back in 2014, are you?

I have actually appeared on Page 3 quite a number of times, I think three if not four times!

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The first time I was 15 years old.

I had just won Miss Maun 2009 title and to be on The Voice as a young teen I needed my parent’s consent, which they gave.

The one thing they asked I don’t do is to go completely naked (laughing).

The response was actually great because a lot of people recognized me from the newspaper.

So apart from your modelling talents, how would you introduce yourself?

I am Angela Atlang.

I am a thespian.

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I am an actor and performer.

My whole life is all about God and art.

When did you start taking acting seriously?

It has always been a childhood dream for me.

I started at eight years old with modeling and pageantry and by Junior school, I joined the Drama Club – so you could say my acting career started there.

I have always been playing the lead roles since then, which I guess meant I had a lot of talent in acting.

I did have reservations about taking it ‘seriously’ as you put it because I was told that there is no future in acting and so when I got to tertiary I took up a course in Accounting.

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I only studied the course for one semester because my spirit was not in the right place.

I left and changed courses to Theatre Arts.

And now you’re starring in one of the most viewed productions in Africa. How did that come about?

A friend of mine had forwarded a post to me about auditions in Botswana hosted by the Muvhango team.

I did not take it seriously then because I thought it is one of those workshops, and so I went reluctantly.

When did you receive the call that you had been chosen?

I don’t remember the exact date but somewhere around September 2018 I went for auditions and we were selected for the next call.

We went the next day for a workshop and a month later I was called and told I had made it to the top 8 and that I should go to Johannesburg for final call auditions.

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I was called with Sharon Seno, Maxwell Dichi, and others.

The latter were called whilst we were told that they would call us back for other parts.

It took them three years to get back to you?

Actually, I was contacted in 2019 but I had personal challenges from my side.

When they called me again in 2020 that is when Covid-19 hit and we had the first lockdown in Botswana so I wasn’t able to travel.

Immediately after that, there was the State of Emergency (SOE) again which prevented me from traveling so I had to wait until 2021 to actually join the cast.

I was initially given the Warona character but because of these reasons they had to give it to someone else, the second time again I was supposed to play the role of Itumeleng but again I couldn’t make it.

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Wow, quite the journey then! Tell us about your first day on set, it must have been intimidating being surrounded by all those big stars?

(Laughs) I wasn’t intimidated really.

I was just so happy that I finally found my place and it was with these big stars I had been watching on TV!

So which of the cast members have you made friends with?

I would say Dingane Khumalo, who plays the role of James Motsamai.

I think it’s because the time I was auditioning in Botswana he was amongst the panel.

And also for the fact that the times I was unable to join the cast he and the producer of the show, Duma Ndlovu never gave up on me and kept in constant communication.

What words of wisdom have Ndlovu passed on?

Well, he has told me that I am a very talented character and strong young lady and that during my time here I should concentrate on my work.

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He said that whilst I am here I should keep away from bad characters because a lot of people would now want to be associated with me and I should be very picky on whom I let in.

Tell us a bit about the character you play.

(Laughs) Itseng is a seductive character but she is also hard and witty.

She is a troubled young lady and so unpredictable.

She is naïve and complicated.

She is hard to trust and love, but she is also edgy and there will be twists and turns in the future.

She also fights dirty and so as the character progresses you will see that she stops at nothing to get what she wants.

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Do you share any similarities, traits with Itseng?

We are both hard workers and unpredictable.

We are both fighters in life.

We are both beautiful.

The difference between me and Itseng is that she keeps people close for her own motives.

Was it always part of your plan to go international?

Well growing up I always saw myself acting on Generations and not Muvhango.

I think this is because as a person you dream and people always motivated me to join the big screens and so I always knew that somehow I will be in the big leagues one day.

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I remember in 2016 there was another casting call on social media and I emailed them my information and I was actually called for auditions in Joburg.

Unfortunately, I was writing exams and I saw the email very late, but that gave me the confidence that if they could recognize me then, they will definitely recognize me in the future.

How is your newfound fame treating you?

I have so many interviews but luckily most of these are through the phone.

My phone’s very busy these days and it is overwhelming but I get it because people are excited and are celebrating me.

I think as time passes it will tone down.

How did your family react when you told them you would be on their screens every weekday at 9 pm?

It took them by surprise because I only told them on the day of the debut!

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I had to wait for Muvhango to make the announcement.

I did not tell them where I was the whole time I have been here.

Did you watch your debut and what was your impression?

I missed the first part of my scene!

I was still rushing home.

I only saw the very last part of it but I managed to catch up and it was surreal.

It was a bit weird to see myself on national TV and I was wondering how people will react to a wild character because Muvhango is not known for that.

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But to be honest I liked the second episode better.

I know you’re just getting started at Muvhango but what are your plans?

Well, right now I just want to grow my brand.

I would also at some point want to set up my own agency and arts academy.

Does this mean you’ve relocated to Johannesburg?

I have relocated here for now, yes.

Beautiful, talented, and now famous – your DMs must be extremely busy?

I haven’t been able to check my messages but yes I have seen a lot of guys texting me and complimenting me about my beauty.

It is flattering…

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So are you taken?

It’s complicated…..

Is he a local guy?

(Laughs) I would rather not speak about it!

Fair enough, do you handle your own social media?

For now, I do, but the way my phone has been giving me a headache I would have to look into that.

I need help because people will start to think I am ignoring them intentionally whilst that is not the case.

Is the paycheque good?

The paycheque works for now.

I am hoping it will get better in time.

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I am comfortable.

And finally, thanks so much for your time – and Thanks to God It’s Friday, what will you be up to?

I have not planned my week that far but I think I will be home if I’m not doing any media interviews.

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