By Nomali Cele
Veteran actress Lillian Dube recently spent time on Today with John Perlman sharing her career, her life and all the stories that make up her journey. Her presence in the South African entertainment has been ubiquitous over her . Did you know that her son is the reason she got into acting? She was back living in South Africa and her 12-year-old told her of auditions he’d heard about because he thought she was exactly like the people on screen. She got her very first gig which was dubbing the American sitcom The Jeffersons.
Her first experience with entertainment, she told Perlman, was performing in a fundraiser play for her school while she lived in Lesotho. The performance and many other efforts led to what stands as Maseru High School today.
While her industry peers, in all their legendary status, are performers of a different time, Lillian Dube has broken through the fray in the age of influencers and breaking the internet. Her frank nature and sense of humour has seen her numerous cancer awareness advocacy and her sex-positive messages go viral. Before she was breaking the internet, she adapted her career as a performer and began working behind the scenes as a casting director.
Her childhood is a true migrant tale. Her parents were from Lesotho working here in Johannesburg. She was born in Orlando East, Soweto but ended up being raised in Lesotho by her grandmother as her mother was ill and she was working hard in the city.
“She didn’t love me because she didn’t love my mother,” Dube told Perlman about her paternal grandmother who raised her and her cousins while their parents worked in the cities. Despite the hardships of how she was raised, she said she will always remember her grandmother with kindness
“I wasn’t brilliant, I was very naughty. For me, it was all about having fun. I didn’t know that you go to school to learn to be somebody in life.”
Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” is Lillian Dube’s favourite song because, according to her, it’s a reminder that no matter what we go through in life and all the bad things that happen she still thinks “it’s a wonderful world.”
She chose the works of spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle, especially his 2005 book, “A New Earth”, as one that has impacted her life most. Of the author, she told Perlman, “I read most of his books but I haven’t finished one because I keep going back.”
Pap and morogo is the food that has the best memories for her, food she still prepares for herself today.
Listen below for the full interview including Lillian Dube’s three wishes: One for South African television, one for South Africa as a whole and one wish for herself.