It took steamy scenes of sadomasochism to put the name of Motsoaledi Setumo on the lips of television viewers.
The explicit sex scenes on Generations: The Legacy that featured her as Thabitha Cele even landed the SABC1 soapie at the SA Broadcasting Complaints Commission, but the matter was thrown out. It has all boded well for Setumo whose stardom has gained some wattage from all the attention.
The 26-year-old from Kagiso on the West Rand does not understand what the fuss was all about as, according to her, this was nothing compared to what her character did when she first joined Generations in 2015.
“Thabitha was still very young then, still experimenting, very free, very open-minded. She did things because she wanted to, not because she was forced to, she really enjoyed herself.
“Remember the bondage scene, tied to a bed post, had candle wax poured on her. She was experimenting with her mind open and free.
“Her character is now older and wiser, more mature and focused but still very sexy like the old Thabitha, still feisty,” she says. Setumo, however, has reservations about reprising that role, thanks to the backlash and name calling she has had to endure.
“With the response I got from South Africa, I don’t ever want to go through being called names or being labelled something I’m not because of a character I played. I don’t think I’ll ever do something like that again.”
Setumo says she understood why so many parents were unhappy.
“I understood where they were coming from, having to watch such scenes with their children,” she says.
Setumo’s prospects of having an acting career almost never happened when her mother Glenda, who used to take her to auditions, got involved in a car accident.
“My mom used to take me to auditions but sadly couldn’t any more because the accident left her quadriplegic.”
Setumo, however, did not let her mother’s accident hold her back. She went on to graduate in media studies at Boston Media House and subsequently got a job as a producer on Radio 2000, something she enjoyed prior to getting a taste of television.
Her only challenge at Radio 2000 was that she was a 24-year-old who had to come up with content for over 30s. Her role on Generations in 2015 attracted casting agents for the Mzansi Magic telenovela Greed And Desire in which she played Tselane Dlamini. Setumo is now working on something “exciting” which she says will surprise many.
“Because my work has spoken for itself, productions have recognised that and soon enough South Africans will find out what my next job is.
“It’s very exciting and will happen soon. My plan is to get recognition all the way to Hollywood,” she adds.