Bandile Mkhonta graduated from the Lilima career programme in 2021, he then completed a course at Africa Film Drama and Art (AFDA) in Johannesburg and is now studying performing arts in LA after winning R60 000 funding to study at AMDA College, Los Angeles in 2022. American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) is a private conservatory for the performing arts in New York City and Los Angeles, California.
Extracted from Drum Magazine - 23 June 2022
When other kids talked about how they wanted to study medicine, law, accounting or engineering, he'd zone out.
Bandile Mkhonta says he always knew that he wanted to do something different and be in the creative space.
One day, one of his friends showed him a Soweto TV poster calling on actors to audition for a scholarship at AMDA College in Los Angeles. Bandile prepared a monologue from the movie Coach Carter, as Coach Carter, gave the audition his all, won R60 000 and is now on his way to study in the US.
"I am so happy and excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," he tells Drum.
"I would like to thank Soweto TV for giving me a platform to showcase my talent. A friend of mine showed me the flyer and I went for it because I am passionate about acting and think I can contribute a lot to the industry."
"I chose a basketball-related monologue because I can relate to the sport and I love it. I wanted to do a piece that will allow me to show all my emotions and be true in my acting."
When Bandile heard the news, he thought a drive to eSwatini would be too long so he called his parents immediately to share this delight.
"The auditions were in May. I got the news last week Wednesday or Thursday, if I am not mistaken, and I couldn't wait to tell my parents. Because they are in Swaziland, I couldn't wait. And telling them was so amazing because they were always supportive," he says.
"They understood that I want to take acting as a career and they never questioned my decision but always encouraged me to go for it and not give up." he says.
He says he can't wait to study something that he is good at and believes this opportunity will expose him to more acting opportunities abroad.
"I hope my story inspires other young people to know that going international is possible," Bandile adds.
"They just have to believe in what they want and give it their all."
Bandile is currently in Los Angeles.