Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
ALL eyes are on South African drama, Diep City’s fast-rising actor, Chrispen Nyathi who plays the role of a Zimbabwean illegal immigrant, Pastor Charleston as his character is unearthing a controversial subject, the fake doings of some pastors.
Nyathi who grew up in Zimbabwe’s cultural hub, Bulawayo, has become a favourite of many on the soapie that features renowned South Africans, Mduduzi Mabaso (Mgedeza), Hamilton Dlamini (Bonga) and Dawn Thandeka King (Thandiwe). Recently, Nyathi was instrumental in the making of a defining moment for Zimbabweans when the South African film industry showed appreciation of the country’s languages after the cast spoke in Shona on one of the episodes.
Chronicle Showbiz caught up with Nyathi who gave a glimpse of what the audience should expect in the coming weeks.
He said Pastor Charleston is on a quest to own a church that will command a large following and will do anything to ensure this dream comes to reality. “Pastor Charleston has a huge vision. He sees his church being massive with a large following – the Bushiri type of church in terms of size and numbers.
“In Pastor Charleston’s mindset, the more numbers he gets, the more he believes and convinces himself that he is doing the Lord’s work.
He is convinced that truly, he has the anointing and is a man of God – not that he does not believe it – but he wants to see it with the numbers.
“For the longest time, Charleston has been wanting to build a big church in South Africa and this hasn’t been going too well because people haven’t been receiving him well, especially because of the stigma associated with him being a foreigner and a young man. The stigma around pastors being liars has also worked against him,” said Nyathi.
The actor who is adored by many for his singing talent and “hantsho phela” statement said as pressure is mounting, Pastor Charleston joins the bandwagon of pastors conducting fake miracles. This stint set tongues wagging on last Friday’s scene.
“Now, there’s an element that Charleston does not perform miracles and has nothing tangible as of yet. He does not have holy oil, holy water and a mentor with whom he lays on people and says be healed.
“On last Friday’s episode, he realised that people only believe when they see miracles after he conducted a fake miracle. Generally, before this pressure to have a big church, the pastor has been genuine. So when he was made to conduct a fake miracle he was disappointed as he knew he had been sucked into a big scam. But, Pastor Charleston still played along as he’s desperate to make it big,” said Nyathi.
He added that due to this zeal of having a large following, Pastor Charleston will start conducting more fake miracles, something which some pastors are apparently in the habit of doing. This was evidenced by one Alpha Lukau who performed the miracle of waking up a dead man in 2019.
“Following the realisation that people believe in what they see, not the concept of faith, pastor Charleston needs to come up with something that people can see. Due to the fact that he wants numbers, he’s going to end up succumbing to the pressure of not getting the numbers and do whatever it takes to get them.”
Nyathi said he is enjoying playing this role as it is getting people talking.“Already, people are talking about the fake miracle that happened on Friday saying this happens in real life. It’s good to act out things that people can relate to,” said Nyathi.
Turning to his acting stint on the drama that replaced Isibaya, Nyathi said: “For me, the journey has been about learning. I’ve learnt a lot within a short space of time because of the legendary cast the series has. Their talent is out of this world.
“I’ve learnt that I can grow as an actor and have that kind of knowledge that many acquire when they go to schools of acting. I’ve also learnt that I’m good in singing, something that I’m perfecting on set. Above all, acting on Diep City has been a wonderful experience.” [email protected]_mthire