Connie Ferguson stars as a villain in Netflix’s ‘Heart of the Hunter’

Connie Ferguson. Picture: Supplied

Connie Ferguson. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 27, 2024


“I am attracted to characters that I can relate to from a woman’s point of view, but also characters that challenge my own beliefs as a woman.”

These are the words of veteran actress Connie Ferguson on her latest character portrayal, Molebogeng Kwena, in Netflix’s newest original film, “Heart of the Hunter”, set to release on the 29th of March.

Bonko Khoza. Picture: Supplied

The film, an adaptation of a Deon Meyer book, is a star-studded political thriller that was shot in Cape Town and features impressive names such as Bonko Khoza, Masasa Mbangeni, Tim Theron, and Sisanda Henna, among others.

Directed by the award-winning Mandla Dube, the story follows Zuko Khumalo (Khoza), who runs from the Presidential Intelligence Agency after obtaining information that could bring down a government.

Molebogeng, a double agent in the intelligence agency, fights at all costs to protect herself against incriminating evidence that is on the edge of being uncovered.

Masasa Mbangeni. Picture: Supplied

“Any character that has traits that I, as Connie, would question – a woman who tends to be the exact opposite in the traits of being a nurturer, a loving mother, and naturally empathetic – is always interesting to portray. I imagine what I would be like in such roles. And that attracts me because I get to remove myself and find that person within somehow,” she said.

Although Ferguson is known for her reign in the local series space, this film marks her second film since she made her debut in the acting space 34 years ago. Her first-ever film feature was “Cape of Good Hope” early on in her career.

“I mean, that very first film, early on in my career, was quite the experience, but this one was just different. Although it is a motion picture, the culture of shooting a movie is very different from that of shooting a series. Number one, especially when shooting long-format series, is that we move very fast, but with movies, attention to detail is everything. The pace is a lot slower, which can be a shock to the system for someone like me. But, ultimately, it got me to appreciate how differently all these genres work and to really appreciate the art of making movies,” she added.

Stepping onto this set, Ferguson reveals how she felt new again. Unfamiliar territories (Cape Town) and with only one other person she had worked with before, but everything else was new to her and felt new.

“The film got me out of my comfort zone, working with a director I had never worked with before but whom I’ve always admired. It was go, go, go. What was sad for me is that we never got a chance to know each other well outside of our characters. I am someone who loves building connections. But, Bonko, this was my first time working with him. What an amazing human being – forget the actor. He’s a brilliant actor, and I was so in awe of his skills, but what an amazing human being; he was such a pleasure to work with, and this goes for every single cast member who all brought their A-game,” she said.

Ferguson’s illustrious career has led her down the path of establishing a prolific production company, Ferguson Films, with her husband, Shona, and although it has been almost three years since his passing, Connie still refers to the dream and their work as “we“. A calling, she says, is meant to serve others.

“I could never exclude him (Shona) from this equation because I built this with my late husband.

“I think this is where passion really takes over everything, where it drives you, and where passion meets faith. There have been so many times when I would have just given up because, honestly, the stress is not worth it, especially once it starts affecting your mental health and you can’t sleep. But between Sho and me, we are more than anything; we were nurturers, and I think we formed such close bonds with the people we worked with. The picture ended up being about more than just us.”

Commenting on the project, Mbangeni said people should look forward to a good black love story shared between her characters Malime Mambi and Zuko.

“In the midst of all the action, bombs, and theatrics, there is this beautiful love story between a man, his son, and a woman, and how he takes his son as hers. It almost speaks to our South African lived experience that, in the midst of all the political and socio-economic strife that we have experienced as a country, people were falling in love, people were making babies, and people were being born. There’s a beautiful black story about black love that we don’t get to see enough of,” she said.

Mbangeni returns in front of the screens after her four-year hiatus, and although she said she never left – working a lot behind the scenes with the craft – she does appreciate the love she is receiving.

“Knowing how much people love and appreciate you is always such a blessing, and as much as I don’t see this return, I am blessed to know that I still hold a special place in people’s hearts,” she said.