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Shaka Ilembe

161Drama16 VL

What it was like to be an extra – Shaka iLembe

05 September 2023
'But nothing was close to this,' says Osvaldo Jalane.
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The TV series Shaka iLembe has touched many lives. Industries such as hospitality, tourism, catering, and construction, not to mention media and production, have seen positive ripple effects.

Video editor Osvaldo Jalane is one of those people who have first-hand experience with what it was like to do numerous things on and off screen. Mzansi Magic sits down with him. 

Mzansi Magic (MM): What was your role? 

Osvaldo Jalane (OJ): On screen I was the Portuguese translator. My role was to facilitate the communication between the Portuguese and the slave traders. We were trading, and the warriors traded ivory for chairs.

I wore many hats for this show, from acting to assisting production in casting actors, translating the script, and acting as a language coach to a few actors.

MM: Which episodes did you appear in?

OJ: Officially, I am on episode two. I should have appeared in episode five too, but the scene was deleted because they had to change actors.

MM: Describe your experience about being on set as much as possible.

OJ: So, the call sheet was from 5:00 till 17:00. I had two scenes on different episodes. We started in Johannesburg and ended in Durban.

I think this was the most iconic experience for me because I was involved in this show in many ways. I was treated like a superstar and had a cabin with my role name on it. Everyone always asked if I was okay or needed anything. I've never seen a production like this before, it was huge. I do have experience in production because I worked as an assistant producer on the Princess Diana movie with Naomi Watts, and I acted in a short film in Mozambique, but nothing was close to this.

Rubbing shoulders with the cast, making jokes and laughing, everyone sharing their experience about being in this industry, and drinking beers with them … this was priceless.

The crazy part is that I didn't realise just how big the show is until I went back to work as a video editor at Don't Look Down. I only told one or two people about being on Shaka iLembe, and they came back to me like 'Yoooooo do you have any idea how big this show is?'

Then I realised it's not just me being on the show to showcase my country home, Mozambique, but the show is about Africa as a continent.

MM: What was your highlight?

OJ:  I think it was being able to wear many hats: actor, script translator, casting, language coach, and video content for online platforms.

I remember when Bomb Productions invited the media to tour the set and the producer was shocked to see me with a camera because I was there to interview him.

MM: How was it to work on a show of this calibre?

OJ: It was eye-opening. I understand that there is so much to unpack about Africa's history, so many heroes' stories that need to be told, considering that now with globalisation and technology, we can go back in time and learn the real truth about Africa's history.

MM: Do you have any last words?

OJ: There's a lot of lessons to learn from telling these stories. The history is so deep and it went deep. Finally, Africa decided to tell its own stories. Now, we're watching our own Game of Thrones.

You can find us on social media: Facebook (Mzansi Magic), Twitter (@Mzansimagic), Instagram (MzansiMagic), and TikTok (@mzansimagictv). Use the hashtag #ShakaiLembeMzansi.

Shaka iLembe’s headline sponsor is Telkom. Associate sponsors are Grant’s Whisky and LottoStar, while tactical sponsors are Santam and Toyota.