While most people may recognize her as Sharon from Muvhango, Candy Magidimisa exists well beyond her life as an actress. The AFDA Live Performance in Acting graduate is also a smart businesswoman with big ideas. The Limpopo-born creative is a staunch advocate for women and dreams of one day owning a production company.
GROWING UP CANDY
Born Uapfa Candy Magidimisa in Shayandima Limpopo, the young star spent her childhood mostly as a loner – a far cry from what you’d expect from the future seemingly bubbly social butterfly that is Shaz on the SABC 2 soapie Muvhango. “I never ‘played with other children’ because I didn’t have friends. I was raised in a Christian family and went to a Christian school called Nazarene Christian School. My daily life [consisted] of me going to school, doing my homework after school, watching TV, spending some time with my mom and then devoting the rest of my time alone to reading the Bible and writing letters to God. I had a little beautiful diary that I use to write down my prayer letters and express my feelings, everything I dream about and my ambitions,” she shares.
Life wasn’t always the kindest to a young Candy who tragically lost her father very early in her life and had to grow up quickly to be there for and with her mother. “I would say that I matured at an early age because I was so understanding and over-protective of my mother. Growing up I have always wanted to make my mother happy and proud.”
The turning point for the 28-year old came when she moved to Johannesburg and started to open up to bigger possibilities and different experiences. “I met new friends and suddenly sharing my life with people that were not my family [became] a beautiful experience with so many lessons learned from those friendships,” she tells us.
LANDING SHAZ + DRAWING PARALLELS
Acting has always been it even for a young Candy. “I have always wanted to be an actress. I used to do live performances in pre-school. I remember telling my mother when I was only 10-years old that one day I too would be a good actress like Sindi Dlathu who played Thandaza on Muvhango and Connie Ferguson who played Karabo Moroka on Generations at the time. After high school, I decided to come to Jo’burg to study Film and Acting. I finally got my breakthrough in 2016 when my sister told me about auditions which were to be held in Venda. They were looking for beautiful Venda ladies to be the ‘Vendashians’. I thought it was going to be a small role but as it were, God had other plans.
At face value, Candy and Shaz are worlds apart – where Candy is quiet, private and prefers to spend most of her time alone, Shaz is a loud, bubby girl who doesn’t keep too many cards to her chest. But the two are similar in some respects, they’re both confident, ambitious and assertive. “If there is something I learned from Shaz is to be myself. Shaz is a natural, from her looks to her performance. People often share that they like her because she keeps it authentic to who she is. That inspired me to always be myself.”
OVERCOMING BULLYING, COMPETITION + PATRIACHY
Candy was no exception when it came to what society has loosely and crudely termed the cost/curse of fame – essentially entitlement (to say whatever) that is justified because the subject is a public figure. Earlier this year, she made headlines after announcing that she’d be launching a meme collection of herself as way of taking her power back after experiencing cyberbullying over her meme-prone expressions. According to TimesLIVE, “the actress, whose face had been used multiple times as memes on Twitter, chose to find humour in what other trolls meant to be a jab at her and used the same memes that were meant to humiliate her to empower others,” [C. Kekana, 6 June 2021]
It may very well and truly be a cold world out there and Candy knows this – competition is rife. She tells us, “There is a lot of competition and jealousy in the industry, everybody rushing to get to the top! There are those who want to get to the top by destroying others. It’s a pity that sometimes even women fail to unite and help each other grow, instead they focus on tarnishing each other’s image.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, she forms parts of scores of women who’ve found they had to work twice as hard to prove themselves as worthy idea people, decision-makers or entrepreneurs. “Being a young woman in business, I have had so many people try to talk me out of my ideas or refuse to support or invest in my ideas. Just because I am both young and a woman, certain people may think I am not suitable to or capable of running certain businesses. There are people today who still think men are the only ones who can do everything and that whatever they do well, women simply can’t do.”
WHEN WOMEN OCCUPY SPACE
Former Miss Universe Zozi Tunzi’s virtually revolutionary ‘take up space’ winning answer resonates with Candy, who claps harder whenever a woman holds her own, obliterates a glass ceiling and helps other women rise in the process. “I am proud to be a woman because the world recognizes us. There hasn’t always been a large number of female leads in media and politics. Women are taking up space and making a difference. Nowadays we have women, especially locally, leading in movies and owning major production companies. Even the current Vice President of the USA is a woman of colour,” she shares.
She goes on to tell us that it is especially encouraging to see how more and more women are being fearless and relentless in the pursuit of gender equality and unafraid to speak up against inequality or stand with those who share their experiences with patriarchy or sexism. “I may not know or have experienced every hardship that has afflicted the majority of women over the years, but I am proud to stand with those who have expressed the pains and hardships that women have faced for a long time.”
Candy ultimately dreams of a world where women are afforded more opportunities to occupy positions of power and hold executive offices.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“To trust God with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding and to acknowledge God in everything I do.”
What do you feel your younger self needed to hear?
- “Knowledge is power.
- Don’t fear change.
- Don’t let fear limit you.”
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
“I bought my first car while still studying with the pocket money my mother sent me and income from part-time jobs.”
What is your WHY?
“Apart from having big goals to achieve and the desires to learn and have experience that will benefit me when I finally own a production company, it’s the families who depend on my income that keep me motivated to keep going. I love of sharing and have the desire to feed and assist homeless kids and poor families. I know that if I work hard and own a successful company, I will create jobs and assist many people with an opportunity to work for themselves.”
What inspires you about your journey with Muvhango so far?
“My journey with Muvhango has been great, watching my role grow from where it started is inspiring to me and those who have been watching me from the moment I joined the show. My role started as small as just being Mpho’s friend to being a royal princess, now Shaz is dating and owning 50% shares of the family restaurant Dukathole.”
“God’s time is always the best. When it’s your time, you won’t have to try too hard. [And] when you finally get that small break, don’t get too comfortable [and] don’t take it for granted. You must work hard in order to grow. It is simple, take care of your craft and your craft will take care of you.”