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News24.com | Oh my gosh, you guys! We chat to Tali's Diary newcomer Ndoni Khanyile about joining the 'fun' show

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INTERVIEW | Ndoni Khanyile


Oh my gosh, you guys. Tali is back!

A lot has changed in Tali’s world: post-Covid, her credit cards are bouncing, her electricity is getting cut off, and she even has to consider getting a job. She has no choice but to move back to Jozi. Yes, babes, Tali is coming home. Economy class. What. The. Actual.

After her wedding diary and baby diary, the third season of the fan-favourite mocumentary show, Tali’s Joburg Diary, focuses on Tali’s move back to the City of Gold and how she and her husband, Darren (Anton Taylor), settle their son Jayden (Troy Davy) into pre-school.

Along for the ride are a few newcomers, including Ndoni Khanyile, who plays as Little Angels Hyde Park principal Barbara Bhembe.

In an interview with News24, Khanyile chats about taking on a comedic role, the vibe on set, finding a balance between the different hats she wears, and what she is most proud of in her life right now.

“She’s just someone who loves being an educator. She sees her role as a calling and special way to serve society,” Khanyile says of her character. “She takes her job very seriously, and the school is her crowning triumph.”

Furthermore, Khanyile says, for Barbera, “the children are her favourite part of the job and the parents are her least favourite part of the job”.

There’s a lot of interesting things that happen with parent interactions. So, it was really fun to play her.

Khanyile adds that it was a particularly enjoyable character for her to take on because it’s not the type of role she has previously portrayed.

“Just to have the ability to come into work and it’s light, it’s playful with joking, you know, that sense of lightness and fun was so wonderful,” Khanyile says, adding: “It was really lovely to come to work knowing you’re going to have a fun day, to laugh all day.”

Khanyile joined Tali’s Diary after two award-winning seasons. Speaking about the vibe on set, the actor praised its creators, Julia Anastasopoulos and her husband Ari Kruger, for creating a very welcoming environment for her, other newcomers and returning cast members.

“Julia and Ari have done an incredible job of creating an environment that brings people in,” Khanyile says.

She adds that “film sets can be quite hierarchical at times”, and the tone of the shoot “comes from the top”. However, Anastasopoulos and Kruger had created a safe and respectful environment for everyone.

It depends on the tone that the people at the top set in terms of how people feel during the day. So, the fact that Julia and Ari made people feel like they could bring their ideas, try things and suggest things, there was really a sense of respect, friendship and camaraderie between the cast and the crew.

Khanyile continues praising the couple for being “incredible leaders” for the rest of the cast and crew, who were, of course, “very welcoming”.

Another contributing aspect to making the set fun and light-hearted was the kids, Khanyile says. 

Although she did not work closely with them, “working with kids is always just so nice because it reminds you to take things a little less seriously”, the star explains, adding that sometimes “things have to go a little slower”, and that’s totally fine.

It’s just so wonderful to see how they respond to being on set, what they bring, their spontaneous moments, their reactions to things. And I think when you have that child energy around, it just softens everything and everyone.

In addition to her acting career, Khanyile is a mom of two, a journalist, the founder of the Me, After You podcast and, most recently, a certified integral practitioner coach.

When asked about her secret to finding the perfect balance between showing up equally for these roles, Khanyile first says: “I don’t even know if I have an answer.”

She then explains: “It’s like it’s something you’re constantly trying to find, and it’s like it’s ever-evolving. Sometimes you feel like you get a better handle on it, and then sometimes you’re like, ‘This is just madness’.”

What it does boil down to, Khanyile says, is time management and learning to say no.

“It’s not easy… [but] I’ve kind of over the years created the ability to control my own work life to a greater extent. I can sort of structure my time.”

She adds that while she doesn’t always get it right, she does choose what to involve herself in, and does her best to manage her time according to her priorities.

“[It’s] really just giving myself permission to disappoint other people. I’d rather disappoint other people than disappoint myself and my children. And giving myself permission to really prioritise my own health. Rest. Sanity. That’s important to me now.”

With that said, the answer to what she’s most proud of comes easy for the actor.

“I’m proud of a couple of things. I’m first and foremost proud of my partner.”

Khanyile’s husband is David Isaacs, one half of the comedic performance duo Joe Barber. The pair recently completed what has now become a record-breaking show, Joe Barber’s Family Reunion, at the Grand Arena, GrandWest, in Cape Town.

READ MORE | Joe Barber smashes box office records in Cape Town

“Just seeing him perform something that he created over two decades ago in front of over 5 000 people a night, I’m filled with so much pride,” Khanyile says.

The When We Were Black actor adds that she is also proud of her kids.

I’m also just really, really proud of my kids. I’m proud of how we’ve been able to parent our kids and create space for them to feel like they can be themselves and talk to us about anything. So, I’m really just proud of my family at the moment. I’m grateful for them, and I don’t take that for granted.

The first episode of Tali’s Joburg Diary is now available on Showmax, with new episodes every Friday.





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