Sivuyile “Siv” Ngesi is one of South Africa’s most dynamic performers. His diverse talents have seen him making waves in the South African entertainment industry. He is a sought after comedian, popular television presenter, prolific actor, MC, Producer and a social media success. Little wonder his accolades include The Mail and Guardian’s Most influential young South African 2011, one of Destiny Man’s most influential men under the age of 40, You magazines most stylish celebrity, GQ’s top dressed man for 2014, a coveted place in the Cosmo sexiest man calendar 2015 and a place in the IMDB Top 10 best working South African actors overseas. This 3 times SAFTA nominated adventurous presenter on the magazine programme Man Cave and witty co-presenter of the global travel show Wingin’ It is a busy man. We catch up with him on his return from New York, before he jets off to Monaco.
Have you always been interested in Arts and Entertainment as a career or would you say your love for the industry started when performing as Gavrosh in Les Miserables, at the tender age of nine?
As a youngster, I would be the one to always disrupt the class I thrived on the energy, that drama. Although my mother was the principal! She is instrumental in my life; everyone needs someone that is prouder of them than they are- your own cheerleader.
What would be your first love today – musicals, comedy, acting, presenting or producing?
Acting, it’s about the journey, not the destination. Success lends itself to power and that is the key that can change a life.
Who would you like to collaborate with and is there another genre you would like to explore?
My next venture will be with Siya Kolisi (South African Rugby Player) and Wayde van Niekerk, (South African Olympic Champion) I strive to be best, together we can achieve greater heights. We will be focussing on scholarships and sponsorships for the under privileged. This is hot of the press; watch out for the official press release.
To succeed in this industry, what do you have to tell yourself?
All about the journey, that’s big and as soon as you are not enjoying it – stop. My dad died in a car accident, at his deathbed, I promised to make him proud, I aspire to honour that promise daily. Coincidentally, one of my best friends Simba Mhere (of Top Billing Fame) (a Lifestyle television programme) passed away on a Saturday in a car accident. This happened after we discussed our plans to start a production company on the Tuesday prior. Jonathan Boynton- Lee and I have now started Half Man Half Amazing (Simba’s nickname) in his honour. We are continuing Simba’s legacy, for example one of the shows we are working on is fulfilling people’s last wishes, bucket-list stuff.
What behaviour of others/ colleagues would be your pet peeve?
Timing, if you are on time you are late. Always arrive 10 -20 minutes before an appointment, you never know who you might meet in that time. The other would be how they treat the waiter; I come from a simple household where these values were installed and I live by them.
What would be a typical work day for you, or no such thing in the Entertainment Industry?
There is no such thing as a typical workday. I do my utmost best to do something physical, work related or nothing at all every day. I believe in utilizing time and can be anal about wasting it. Give a task 20 -30 minutes, whislt ensuring the content is concise.
As you travel, a lot work wise, do you have a favourite getaway destination(s) when not working?
Last year Janez Vermeiren and I did 27 countries with our travel show, Wingin’ It. It is a “hilariously funny bromance travel show.” This was all work, but my work is my life, so pretty much covered most destinations. We have a great synergy and it shows.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie
It has to be Culture and Adrenalin junkie. I will always try something I have never tried before. On the show, I will be the one to do the racing and all the crazy things. As for Culture, I am intrigued by people, the state of a country and concerned if it is indeed working and of course how. That makes you realize on a daily basis how sick we are as a country. In turn the show pivot on the authentic connection Janez and I have.
What have you learned from your travels?
A smile goes a long way. Always have respect and empathy, the world in general needs it. You return a better person, one you know you like.
You have already done Tropika Island of Treasure (South African Reality Show).If you had the opportunity to do one of the following reality shows, Survivor or The Amazing Race, in aid of your charity Siv Gives Back (SGB) which one would it be and why.
Tricky, I love Survivor, but it has to be The Amazing Race though. My partner has to be a woman, so she can balance my energy.
Name five things you would take with you on the show (should it be allowed)
Cell phone, passport, credit card, condom and an open mind
Which series is the series to binge watch and to admit that you have done so.
I am currently watching This Is Us. As a man in his thirties, I can relate to this as it is a true portrayal of family lives and connections of several people who all share the same Birthday and the ways in which they are similar and different. It was a mind-blowing experience visiting Columbia; everything looks exactly like it did in 1959. That prompted me to watch the movie on Pablo Escobar’s live, but I hate subtitles.
Would you agree a series is at its most potent in its first season?
Yes, I would watch the first to third season at the most.
What is your take on remakes and would you consider playing in one?
I struggle with them, as it is not the authentic, having said that The Shawshank Redemption would be a firm favourite to do.
Movie or Book, for example Fifty Shades of Grey?
I would do neither for Fifty Shades of Grey. In general, I definitely prefer the movie.
What would you tell your teenage self?
Don’t worry it will all come together
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?
Not any specifically, I strive to be a better person today than I was yesterday.
What can we expect from you in the year ahead?
It will be difficult to achieve more in 2018 than I have achieve d in 2017. I will be focussing on my sanitary pad drive, to better the delivery of the products to those in rural areas and achieving sustainability. (In 2016 Siv launched a sanitary pad drive and collected 150 000 pads for young girls in need.)
We did ask…
Yes Siv is single. He has no ambition to settle down just yet; but loves children and is adamant that he would love a baby girl –one day. There is no doubt, that with everything he has achieved and his motto of “making a commitment to bring about a positive change” that he will take this in his stride too. Soaking up, as he puts it, parenthood when that day arrives. What a lucky girl it will be.
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