Sophie Ndaba shares her battle with depression, weight loss

South African veteran actor Sophie Ndaba, renowned as Queen Moroka in Generations, is opening up about her mental health like never before after overcoming depression in the last few years.

The 49-year-old star got candid about falling into depression after going through severe weight loss when she was diagnosed with diabetes.

Now feeling stronger than ever, Sophie Ndaba is a guest panellist on the second season of Mzansi Magic’s four-part series Black Conversations; addressing topical issues around the black community such as spirituality, pride, mental health, love, storytelling, and success.

“I always wondered what happened to the spirit of Ubuntu. Not a lot of people will understand what you go through or the fight you’re fighting but just knowing that people are in your corner always means a lot,” Ndaba said.

“I went through a lot these past years. I was 85kg and lost almost half of that… all I needed to hear at the time, especially from people closest to me, was ‘You’re going to be alright’. Yes, there were those who cheered me up but the ones I expected more from were the ones who said the worst things to me.

“This is why I am glad to be talking on the mental health topic because I learnt how to deal with navigating people’s opinions about me. I was told I would never be loved by anyone based on how I look right now. I feel I will be able to help enlighten others on how I chose not to allow anyone’s opinion about me to affect me anymore.”

Other public figures making up the panel this season are Sello Maake ka Ncube, Zola, Rorisang Thandekiso, Bishop Joshua Maponga, Jackie Phamotse, plus broadcaster and super-couple Tbose and Mapaseka Mokwele.

“I am proudly black, there was no way I was going to say ‘no’ to being a part of a cast that discusses topics around black culture and our pure existence. Such conversations are needed in our lives because we tend to be so caught up doing other things that we end up forgetting who we truly are,” said Ndaba.

“As parents, it’s very important to remind our kids where their history comes from and who they are, and where they are going. This will help them make good decisions in life and become strong-minded.”

Sophie Ndaba added that it was important to realise Gen Z is misguided by international trends seen on social media or anything that makes them forget what makes them truly African.

“My journey from being a young mother in my teens, I had to fight different fights. I couldn’t go to varsity because I couldn’t afford it. I had to choose an industry that seemed easy for me, so I went for modelling, I then realised how boring that was. I then decided to shadow a casting director as a trainee, this is where I got access to all the auditions – that’s how my career on television started,” she said

“Since I grew up in Zimbabwe, although I was born in Soweto, I couldn’t speak other languages besides English. So, when I returned to SA it was difficult for me to articulate myself in another language. I then went for an audition and a white director was casting me. Luckily, I secured the role of Queen and the rest is history. –Sowetan

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