Going to the next level

Actress talks recent success, and her secret to longevity

11 October 2019 | Art and Entertainment

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that actress Hazel Hinda has been on form, on killing every production she's been in for the last 12 years - a hot streak that she is adamant has translated into longevity in her field of work.

We caught up with the bubbly actress to discuss her win last weekend at the Namibian Theatre and Film Awards, as well as her victory at the Simply You Lifestyle and Fashion Awards (SYMLAFA) a few months ago.

At SYMLAFA, Hinda scooped the coveted Favourite Actress Award which she said came as a surprise to her. “It was so unexpected; it was a voting category and I did not think people were going to vote for me but I was grateful they did.”

Moreover, at the 2019 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards, which were held last Saturday at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) under the theme Creating Tomorrow Today, Hinda walked away with the Best Actress Award.

Hinda has been working in the performing arts industry for 23 years, but 12 years on a professional level. She shared that her first professional production was at the NTN when she was about 10 years old. “It was a children's production,” she said.

She completed her secondary school in South Africa in the Northern Cape. Thereafter she was enrolled at the Northlink College in Cape Town where she studied drama. “For my second year I transferred to the then Pretoria Technicon which is now known as the Tswane University of Technology. There I got to my diploma level and was scouted by 7de Laan,” she said.

She was a cast member at 7de Laan for three years and her character was Danny Lnanu-mas. She said she identified with her character because the character was basically a Namibian girl who lost her way through her studies and started working at some agency.

After three years at 7de Laan she decided to be a freelance actor, a decision she said was difficult to make.

“I was just like, I do not want to be a soapie actress forever. I needed to explore more about my craft,” said Hinda.

As a freelance actress she has been part of several films including Hairareb, The White Line and more. Her notable theatre production of this year was Anna and Cristelle which is a two-women play directed by Ashwyn Mberi.

Sharing her opinion on the state of the film industry in Namibia, Hinda mentioned that there is too much room for exploitation of performers. “We have production companies still wanting to pay actors in exposure.”

Hinda believes that the reason performers are not paid enough is because the industry itself is not regulated, let alone formalised. The absence of a structure that helps people identify who the amateur and professional actors are is another loophole Hinda has identified to be contributing to the slow growth of the film industry in Namibia. “I am personally working on putting all that together.

“Next year I want to host workshops to inform and educate actors and performers; whether you are a singer or dancer; what you are actually supposed to do, your responsibility as a performer and what you can then expect from the people that want to use your talent.”

On longevity, the actress maintains that she has always treated acting as a professional career. Another secret recipe to her longevity is professionalism and having strict work etiquette. “I do not give half-baked performances. Whether I am working with a seasoned director or a new director.

“I could have been talented but if I was not humble, not professional and rude, no one would want to work with me,” she concluded