Home Lifestyle Ayakha Ntunja went to extraordinary lengths for her ‘Youngins’ lead role

Ayakha Ntunja went to extraordinary lengths for her ‘Youngins’ lead role

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The rising star has been cast in the series’ lead role where she portrays Amo Mosweu.

Ayakha Ntunja leads the cast for the new Showmax series ‘Youngins.’ Picture: Supplied.

Ayakha Ntunja leads the cast of the new Showmax series, ‘Youngins.’ Picture: Supplied

LOCAL actress Ayakha Ntunja might be a newcomer to the entertainment industry but she is already going to unusual lengths to perfect her craft.

The 20-year-old, whose breakthrough began last year when she played Thembi in season 3 of “MTV Shuga Down South”, is now the star of Showmax’s “Youngins”.

The rising star has been cast in the lead role where she portrays Amo Mosweu.

In the show, which premiered in February, the young protagonist’s life is turned upside down after a personal tragedy forces her to leave her rural KwaZulu-Natal home to attend the fictional Olifantsfontein High School in Johannesburg.

This sees the youngster attempting to find herself, all while being entangled in a scandal at her boarding school.

Ntunja explained that in order for her to adequately take on this role, she decided to write a letter to Amo before shooting for “Youngins” started.

“In the letter, I spoke in a sense of trying to give her a voice so that she can be seen in the way in which she wants it to be seen,” the actress explained to Independent Media Lifestyle.

She added that she decided to take up this role because Amo was a character that she could relate to.

“I think that many times we as human beings are able to relate to different people’s stories and I think with Amo, as much as she had her own unique past and her own vibe and her own energy, I saw some of myself in her and I also gave ounces of myself to the role.”

“I really went right in and did the best that I could to portray her.”

Ntunja added that while she shares many of her character’s qualities, they are also very different.

“Amo has many characteristics that I have grown up having: the shy side, the fighter, and her strength, but I would say that I am also different from her.

“I am a lot more aware of situations around me, but with Amo, she is sometimes too focused on one situation, to a point where she doesn’t look at every view.”

“This is a beautiful quality to have when you fight through a hard situation, but sometimes you have to take a step back and really kind of read everything that is around you and I feel like I am more able to take steps back in trying to move forward.”

Meanwhile, Ntunja is also thrilled that “Youngins” shines a spotlight on the lives of Gen Zs, something she feels adds to the TV industry’s vast offerings.

“The show really speaks volumes about how the youth are dealing with challenges they face and the things we hide ourselves from.

“We are putting young people front and centre and giving them such wonderful, deep and teachable stories to portray and we are doing it with a multi-talented cast.”

Apart from Ntunja, the cast also consists of “Rhythm City” star Kealeboga Masango, newcomers Lebohang Lephatsoana and Toka Mtabane as well as “The River” actor Thabiso Ramotshela.

“Youngins” is produced by award-winning production company, Tshedza Pictures.

“Working on ‘Youngins’ was pretty much an adventure, but it has also been quite a journey,” she said.

“We have all come together in the short space of time that we’ve had and worked with each other to put on a show that can really go down in the history books to say that we could, as the young people of today, speak our truth in a sense and give voices to those who cannot speak for themselves.”

“It’s been a lot of fun and there have been some tears, laughter and even tiredness, but what we kept doing was getting up and pushing ourselves everyday.”

Ntunja added that she has learnt so much while working on “Youngins” and that she will always be grateful for this experience.

“I think coming into the industry about two years ago, you are still learning and you don’t know everything, whether it comes to technicalities, running lines and learning to trust yourself.”

“It has really been a journey of being surrounded by such amazing human beings that keep impacting my journey and build me up.”

“One of the biggest highlights of my career so far is just educating myself every day and really finding what I can do and what more I can give.”

∎ “Youngins” is streaming on Showmax, with three new episodes dropping every Thursday.

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