Viewers of the Isidingo soapie on SABC 3 have recently been introduced to the enigmatic new character on the soap, Hamilton Radebe. We had a quick chat with the star behind this character, Anthony Oseyemi. With a career spanning music, theatre, international television and film credits, Anthony spoke to us about how he ended up being headhunted to join Isidingo.
Q: Has acting always been your dream?
A: Ever since I can remember entertaining people has been what I have always enjoyed most. Whether it’s on stage, on screen, in a theatre, or performing music – being able to bring entertainment into people’s lives has always been my passion.
In addition to my role on Isidingo, I’ve also starred in Jacobs Cross and Traffick, right here at home and the UK’s Holby City, and HBO’s Strike Back in America.
Another love of mine is music. In that part of my life, I’ve completed an album, “Load Shedding” which was a project I really enjoyed as it allowed me draw on stories from my own life experiences. I also do enjoy being in the background sometimes and have written music for bands in SA and the UK that have had wide commercial success. So even though it may be what I’m best known for, I don’t see myself solely as an actor.
However, it’s definitely always been my dream to be in the world of entertainment.
Tell us more about your character on Isidingo, Hamilton Radebe?
Hamilton is a smooth charmer of a character. He is enigmatic and mysterious; a slick dresser, very into his suits and ties. Professionally, he is a prominent business adviser, who worked his way out of poverty into a lavish lifestyle. Younger woman view him as the ideal “sugar daddy,” but he’s very focused and headstrong. Nevertheless, as much as he is a success, Hamilton is also a professional grifter. He knows Bra G, played by the legendary Darlington Michaels, from back in the day. Bra G, called him in to look over the books, but other things start to happen. He meets Sechaba Moloi and Lerato Tsotetsi and they become friends, which is when the intrigue starts to set in.
How did you break into the world of entertainment?
Growing up in South East London, I joined the Lewisham Youth Theatre which was my first step in becoming a professional performer. This led to me attending the London Metropolitan University where I graduated with an honours degree in Performing Arts.
I first came to South Africa in 1997 through Phakama, a youth art programme that encourages cultural exchange through arts on an international basis. I just fell in love with the country. Essentially, I realised that I wanted to continue to work in the South African entertainment industry which is overflowing with an overwhelming amount of creativity and talent.
My big break came when I was featured as the lead actor in ads for Old Mutual, Hunters Dry, Mercedes and Yellow Pages, all of which were broadcast internationally.
However, it was in 2006 when I became the host of Survivor Africa, that my name really started being known in the industry.
Aside from TV, my career has also been monopolised by some big-screen roles. I recently finished shooting a film called The Assignment, a South African a political thriller. And I have The Salvation, a South African-Danish co-production, coming out soon. In the other movie I have, I play a Navy Seal. I get to run around, shoot, and blow up things, which of course, is awesome!
How would your friends and fellow actors best describe you?
Oh, wow. I don’t know really. I’d hope they’d say I am unassuming and keep myself grounded, which is a difficult thing in this industry.
But I think the fact that Isidingo contacted me hoping that I would join their team is a good sign that I’m doing something right.
Like pretty much any career, I think, it’s the relationships you have with people that are most important.
Tell us a bit about your experience as host of Survivor Africa.
When I was selected as the host for Survivor Africa I was honoured because as the host I got to represent Africa. I am proud of my African heritage, it is an undeniable part of my being, it inspires me, it drives me and it definitely makes me who I am.
It was a lot of fun being part of that project, mainly because as the host, I got to go back to a hotel-room at the end of the day. I’m not sure if there are any plans – at this stage – to do another season, but I’d definitely be interested in working with that team again.
What more would you like to achieve career wise?
I’m hoping to get more stage work. I love working in TV and film, but my first love will always be theatre, and if I can find a good project that I can fit into my schedule then I’d love to get involved.
I’m also hoping to get working on new music, but you know how life can just throw a new unexpected opportunity that makes jokes of all your plans. So essentially, for me, I’m just always open.
At the moment, I’m just enjoying today’s success and more importantly paying that success forward and on this front, I’ve recently become a Brand Ambassador for Relate Bracelets after their social enterprise model piqued my interests.
Social enterprises are basically run like businesses with the profits from these enterprises going straight back to the people who need it most. By running Relate according to business principles, the increased efficiency and effectiveness allow the organisation to do even more for the people it seeks to help. I want to create positive change in the world around me, and together with Relate, I’m lucky enough to be in a position to do that
Additionally, I was really happy about getting to champion the PinkDrive breast cancer bracelet, as breast cancer I’m quite passionate about.
Although the majority of breast cancer cases occur in women, many people are surprised to learn that men can develop breast cancer too. But in addition to that, as men we also need to stand with our sisters, wives, and mothers in this cause. While all men are aware of breast cancer, many stay silent on this topic thinking it’s not appropriate for them to let their voices be heard in this discussion. We need to be active participants in the fight against breast cancer. What could be more appropriate than caring for the women we love?