Thapelo Mokoena as Axe Gumede
Playing the role of Axe, the man who wants to make his mark at all costs is Thapelo Mokoena. Axolile “Axe” Gumede is a young property agent who’ll do whatever it takes to be somebody – as long as that somebody is rich and influential. This ambition gets him into trouble with loan sharks and the law. Through his community service at Autumn Hills Retirement Home Axe is confronted with the question of what mark he really wants to make.
Thapelo Mokoena describes himself as a God-fearing Actor/ Producer/ Voice Actor/ MC/ Presenter/ Distributor/ Filmmaker and his resume reflects all of those. He’s come a long way since his days on Generations, and has had roles in Fear Factor, Mzansi, Isidingo and Wild At Heart, to name a few. Thapelo has starred in the films DRUM and Skyf and can also be seen in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. He has also been dancing up a storm in Strictly Come Dancing.
Thapelo is a bit of health and gym junkie who could be spotted eating gem squashes on the Nothing for Mahala set and doing push-ups between takes.
Marius Weyers as Hendrik
Giving Axe a run for his money in the form of Hendrik, a grumpy old man who had everything and lost it all is the renowned Marius Weyers. In his heydays Hendrik was a boxing promoter with lots of money but little time for family. Now he finds himself alone and miserable in Autumn Hills Retirement Home, where Axe gets sentenced to community service.
With 35 feature films, numerous television productions and 115 theatre productions behind his name, Marius Weyers needs no introduction – but we’ll brag about him anyway. Many of us first came to love him in The Gods Must Be Crazy but since then he has starred in The Guest, Tigers Don’t Cry, Paljas and Blood Diamond, and dozens of TV and film roles. His silverware includes 12 Best Actor Awards in Theatre, Best Actor Television Award, All Africa Awards for Best Actor and a South African Oscar for Best Actor – and it doesn’t even end there. Imagine having all of that on your CV!
In addition to having to do a balancing act on Mandela Bridge, one of his memorable moments on set was taking Axe’s prized possession, his flashy car, for a serious spin around the town.
Jamie Bartlett as Mike
Mike is Axe’s mean boss who inspires his ambition and greed. A boss who is willing to offer a partnership to whichever of his junior associates is most determined to prove their killer instincts and bring him a lucrative deal. The unscrupulous, cut-throat Mike is played by Jamie Bartlett.
An award-winning South African actor best known for his role as the shady David Genaro on the soapie Rhythm City, Jamie is a household name throughout the continent. With roles in international films such as Beyond Borders with Angelina Jolie and Red Dust with Hilary Swank, he’ll also be on our screens in the role of Sgt. James Gregory in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
His silverware includes a Crystal Award, an Avanti Television Award and a South African Film & Television Award for Best Actor – to name a few.
Be sure to watch out for the flamboyant suits he wears in Nothing for Mahala, each custom-made for his role as the scaly Mike Sarris.
Mmabatho Montsho as Reneilwe
Reneilwe, played by Mmabatho Montsho, is the manager of Autumn Hills Retirement Home, the old-age home Axe is sentenced to for his community service. Her motives and lifestyle are in direct contrast with those of Axe and initially the two butt heads constantly. But as the residents of Autumn Hills begin loving Axe, Reneilwe starts seeing more to him than the flashy car and expensive suits.
Mmabatho is an entrepreneur and actress best known for her television roles in Rhythm City, Jacob’s Cross and Generations. Her fashion label Black Olive Designs was displayed in South African Fashion week 2004 and she is a recipient of a Style Award.
Despite having the difficult job of managing an old-age home, she still finds time to rock it very stylishly in her role. Her most interesting day on set was recording the music video for the theme song, Noma Kunjani.
Lillian Dube as Gogo
Behind every up-and-coming young man is a wise woman who has helped him on the path to success. The woman behind Axe is his Gogo (Lillian Dube) who is also his moral compass and only connection to his roots.
Lillian is an actress, breast cancer activist and a popular South African personality. She is best known for her role as Sister Bettina in Soul City, from 1994-2009 and more recently for her roles in My Perfect Family and Skwizas and the film Fanie Fourie’s Lobola.
Watch Gogo give everyone a run for their money with her agile moves during filming of the music video for the theme song, Noma Kunjani.
Kenneth Nkosi as Godfrey
Godfrey Molefe is the type of man tenderpreneurs and sushi kings are made of. When Axe’s initial property deal falls through, it is Godfrey (Kenneth Nkosi) and Axe’s boss Mike who put the squeeze on Axe to bring in a deal – no matter what cost.
Kenneth is a household name in SA film and television with TV roles in Gaz’lam and Isidingo, and film roles in Tsotsi, Jerusalema, District 9 and White Wedding. He also starred in, wrote and produced Paradise Stop.
As Godfrey he got to spend time snacking on sweet koeksisters and munching away at a gourmet steak – all at Axe’s expense.
Rolie Nikiwe: Director
Rolie has a history with HEARTLINES: in 2003, co-directed the drama pilot Grace, which would later become the movie, Heartlines.
He has since gone on to work as a director on Tsha Tsha, Score, Hard Copy, Place Called Home, The Lab and as a creative director on Rhythm City. He is currently the creative director and a head director of the most talked about show in SA, Intersexions.
His first feature film Inside Story: The Science of HIV/AIDS, film was recognised with a Special Jury award at the LA Pan African Film Festival 2011. Rolie has also earned 2 SAFTAS, a George Foster Peabody Award and a Pan African Film Festival Los Angeles award.
He has this to say about Nothing for Mahala: “Audiences can expect a really powerful story in terms of narrative, they can expect a very funny comedy, but then I suppose most importantly they will walk away with a lesson.”
He must be the first director who was on a diet during set and overlooked the on-set catering in favour of packed rabbit food and fruit snacks.
Rory O’Grady: Director of Photography
Rory has been working in the South African film industry since 2000, where he has gained experience in the commercial and long form environments. He has also had the opportunity to master his skills as a cinematographer, working on digital and film formats.
He has worked on features like Crazy Monkey, Footskating 101 and Bakgat. His drama credits include series like The Lab, Death of a Queen and Following Jesus. In 2011 he was awarded with a SAFTA for Best Cinematography for his work on Erfsondes season 4.
He and Rolie had a special chemistry on the set of Nothing for Mahala, daily competing for who could do the most push-ups between takes.