They play mother and daughter in one of South Africa’s most popular TV productions and Dineo has nothing but praise and admiration for Connie.
“Connie has gone from strength to strength and has delivered outstanding work on our screens for years,” says Dineo, who plays Kea in The Queen on Mzansi Magic.
It was Connie’s role as Mavis Mabaso on Rockville that “made us all sit up and take note. It was a monumental shift [and a demonstration of] her versatility”. Dineo says she’s inspired every day by Connie.
“I watch and learn [from her] all the time,” she says.
Connie, meanwhile, is impressed with Dineo’s drive to deliver her best.
“She can be very hard on herself at times but I believe she has slowly learnt to trust herself in the process and just be,” the veteran actress says. “A lot of the time acting is about instinct and I believe she is at a point where she has learnt to trust hers. She is a phenomenal young actress and I am proud and honoured to be her TV mom.”
Connie is one of the most renowned film industry talents in Mzansi and it’s all thanks to the fact she takes her work seriously, she says.
“It’s not a hobby or way to become famous! Fame is just a side effect of what I do. I love telling stories and living vicariously through the characters I play. Some are inspiring, others not so much. “There are always life lessons to be learnt,” she adds, “and I love this aspect of being able to ‘life coach’ while entertaining.”
What advice does she have for aspiring young actors? It’s vital to treat it like any other job, Connie says, and to do it “for the love of the craft”. “Build lasting relationships and don’t burn bridges,” she adds. “Respect your fellow actors and crew, and always come prepared. Ask questions, never assume you know everything and leave your ego at the door.”
As a young actress, Dineo also learnt another valuable lesson from Connie – about the importance “of being an artist and businesswoman”. Her TV mom, she tells DRUM, “places no limits on her possibilities”.
Connie’s business is, of course, Ferguson Films, which she founded with husband Shona Ferguson in 2010. It’s produced popular local shows including Rockville, The Queenand Imposter. The production company employs around 70 cast and crew members and it is the “passion and drive of the people we employ, their hard work and determination to be better each time, which is not only humbling but inspirational,” Connie says.
Of course, nothing would be possible without the many fans who continue to support them. She credits her family members for their backing over the years.
“My family members are my biggest cheerleaders. I have always been a provider from a very young age, and failing has never been an option for me.
“Too many people depend on my success and by God’s grace I have been consistent. My husband, Shona, came into my life with the same passion, drive and a need to provide.” She’s humbled that Dineo got into acting because of her, Connie says.
“It’s a big responsibility to have someone look up to you and I don’t take it for granted for a second. “I tell her all the time about remaining true to yourself and staying grounded, respecting the craft and knowing that ‘she is the business’. How she manages it will determine her growth and consistency.”
Connie has learnt a thing or two after many years in the industry. Her biggest lesson “is to feel more than act. Sometimes you read a script and think you know how a scene is going to pan out. Then you get to the set and everything changes, based on the director’s notes and what you get from your fellow actors so it’s a lot of give and take and just being in the moment,” she says.
If Connie could magically do it all over again she would choose to have it unfold in exactly the same way. “I believe this is what I was born to do. Everything, every step, was guided by a higher power. This is my calling and I have gladly answered,” she says.