“Every person has a gift they can use to change someone’s life. I have discovered mine. Have you?” ~ Tumi Mohutsioa, award-winning actress
North West has presented unto us a peculiar breed of creative minds that have gone on to become game-changers in our country’s arts. Mahikeng in particular is known as the heartbeat of the Motswako vernac hip-hop sound, and the birthplace of prosperous rapper Cassper Nyovest, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, and media personality Bonang Matheba, among others.
It is also the hometown of award-winning actress and vocalist, Tumi Mohutsioa (23), who represents a new breed of artists who’re carrying forward the excellence of this talent-rich town of Mahikeng.
Tumi belongs to a post-apartheid generation that has decisively taken up the responsibility to boldly write its name on the cultural fabric of South Africa.
To her, the stage is more than just a theatre of passion, but as a third year performing arts student at the University of the Free State, she’s acquiring the relevant education to fill her gift with knowledge.
Tumi’s performance profile is as much diverse as she is versatile herself (she even speaks in different accents in one conversation)—and accomplished, too. In June of 2017 she was named Best Female Performer at the Trade Fair, Market Theatre, and in 2015 she won the Vrystaat Kunstefees singing competition.
She has played the role of “Mortitia” in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a 2017 children’s production directed by Annebelle Smit.
In the same year, director Thys Heydenrych cast her as “Hecuba the Queen of Troy” in the play, Woman of Troy.
Moreover, she delivered a sterling act in the award-winning production, Steke, directed by Willem Esterhuyse. The production showed in major arts festivals nationwide, and the cast went on a national tour to perform for the towering buildings of Johannesburg, the code-switching humans of Pretoria, and the dry throats of Cape Town.
The year of 2017 was indeed buzzing with action for this wonderful-to-behold actress. When Mpho Molepo’s How High the Moon brightened the dimly lit theatre in 2017, the character of a grieving “Lerato” was given life by none other than Tumi herself—without a doubt the only performer who could brilliantly portray the character’s depression over her mother’s death, especially as a new woman threatened to claim her father’s allegiance.
About the stage opportunities she has so far enjoyed, Tumi says every character she has brought to life has had an immense influence on her growth as a performer, and she’s bringing everything of it to Love, Crime and Johannesburg. She plays “Queenie Dlamini” in the play, and sees this character role as something bigger than her. To succeed in this, she will draw from the magic of her role model Viola Davis, whose mastery of the art of representation she hails.
“For this character I am mainly focused on women who are working in positions that are mostly associated with men and power, as well as how society views such women. Like Viola, to me this is not just a fleeting gig to pay bills. It’s a responsibility. When she takes up a role, it’s never just for her; she locates herself in the plight of other women, and exceptionally depicts the lives of many other women.”
Picture Credit: Willem Esterhuyse