They might be the youngest on Skeem Saam, but they’re two of the longest-serving actors, having been on the show since season one! But what most people didn’t know was that both Lerato Marabe (Pretty Seakamela) and Vusi Leremi (Clement Letsoalo) juggled school and worked at the same time for as long as they’ve been on the show. To our great relief (and gratitude), they both passed their matric, and were amongst those who celebrated when the results were announced last week! We caught up with them to find out how it all went down, and what their plans are, moving forward.
Where did you do your matric?
LM: I did my matric at Boksburg High School, and that’s pretty much where I spent all my high school life.
VL: I went to Rooseveld High School in Johannesburg.
What did you enjoy the most about school?
LM: A lot! But I think my matric was when I really found my true identity and who I am as a young lady (I know I still have a whole lot to learn). I found out that this life thing is actually really serious, and not something to play around with. It was a year of so many revelations, a year of growth and many changes.
VL: Outside of being in class, I enjoyed chilling with my friends and participating in sports, particularly rugby. I was always happy around my friends.
What was the hardest thing about being in matric and working at Skeem Saam simultaneously?
LM: The hardest thing about being in matric and working at the same time is that I couldn’t always give the same amount of energy to both places at the same time. I’d sometimes find that I was pushing school more than work, and I’d lack at work, and vice versa. The balancing was the toughest thing. That, coupled with being a child and having chores at home.
VL: It was very difficult. I’ve never really been an academic, so I had to put in twice the amount of work and energy. Sometimes after school, I’d have to go to work and shoot for a couple of hours. When I’d get home, there was homework waiting for me, but my body would be too tired and all I’d want was to sleep. It was always a push-and-pull.
How was your matric dance?
LM: My matric dance was a wonderful experience but I almost didn’t have fun there. Everything was last minute! My dress was done in three days and I didn’t know which hairstyle to have. It was chaotic. But in the end, I think everything worked out.
VL: Out of this world! I enjoyed it so much, especially the after-party! What stood out the most for me was getting my first-ever tailored suit, which made me look like a million bucks. My best friends and I all looked phly, and you could’ve sworn that we’d been torn out of a fashion magazine.
How old were you when you first joined Skeem Saam, and do you remember the experience?
LM: I was 11 years old, on season one. I remember how surreal it all was. When I got a call-back, I remember thinking that maybe I could actually do this, because I’d been to so many auditions where I never got the parts. Of-course when you’re that young, you’re full of uncertainties and doubts, so you never know what’s what. But when my agent finally called me about this job, I was so happy! This is something I’ve wanted since I was a little girl. I knew that Skeem Saam was a big deal, and I was very happy.
VL: I was in Grade 6, aged 12, also on season one. I’d done some kids shows before, but Skeem Saam was bigger than I’d ever done before! The biggest thing ever! What made the process easier was that everyone there was welcoming, especially MaNtuli (whom I still call “Gogo” to this day, because she really treated me like her own). Ous Nanafi the Wardrobe HOD was also very motherly towards me. Everyone was just kind. The kids at my school though would tease me about what my character had gotten up to. It was an experience I will never forget, as difficult as some of the days were.
What are the perks of being the last born (but one of the oldest-serving cast members)?
LM: I can go into everyone’s office and annoy them, and hang around without having a valid reason. I can also ask for help from the older cast members, and I always get special treatment from them because I’m the last-born ha ha ha!
VL: Perks? I haven’t had any perks! Lol. The older cast members always send me around to get them water, make them coffee, go to the shops and stuff. The great thing is that I’m afforded the opportunity to make mistakes on set, and everyone is always on standby to offer advice and be of assistance (maybe that’s because I’m also a sweet guy). The greatest thing about being here now is seeing how we’ve grown as a show, from season one to this!
What advice would you have to other young kids who want to follow in your footsteps?
LM: I would say follow your heart and do what you really want. Don’t do this because you want to impress people around you. Be sure that this is what you want, because it’s not easy to balance the two worlds, as I’ve said. I was fortunate to have a very supportive (and strict) family that allowed me to still be a child, and not lose focus.
VL: You need to have the heart for it, and be willing to dedicate as much time as possible (including all the weekends and free time) going through your scripts and being isolated from your friends. I struggle with time-management, but it’s vital. But I believe that if you’re really into it, you will invest in it; going to theatre, acting classes, speech classes and anything that will give you confidence and improve your skills.
What are your plans for 2018?
LM: I will be studying at AFDA, focussing on editing; but I will still be working at Skeem Saam, and participating in other exciting projects.
VL: This year, I just want to focus on work, then resume with tertiary at a later stage. Last year was too hectic for me, with school and work. So; I want to breathe, go to the gym, work hard and play hard. I’m still trying to figure some things out. I would like to focus on my acting, go to acting classes and buy more sneakers.