SHE’S manipulative, conniving and her family has just about had enough of her. But she isn’t going anywhere, no matter how much pushback she faces, especially from the family matriarch, who can’t stand her. Actress Linda Mtoba (28) has made a dramatic return to her role as Nomonde, the not-so-innocent daughter of Zweli Dikana, played by Hlomla Dandala, on The River.
This comes after she took almost a year off TV to have to her baby. When she left, she’d been the much loved Zama Ngwenya on Isibaya. Now she’s back and rattling cages on The River. “It was a transition I needed. I have been given the opportunity to grow with my characters. Zama was sweet and Nomonde is very manipulative and being given such a character, I am really grateful because that means they believe in my capabilities,” she tells Move!.
THE MOTHER OF ALL ROLES
She’s known for keeping her personal life private. The TV star welcomed a baby girl in October last year and has only just recently introduced “Baby Bean”, as she calls her, to her fans. Making the decision to show her baby to the world was tough. “I cried the first time I decided to share her pictures. I wanted to pull out so many times,” she says. “I couldn’t even sleep, because social media is so mean. I can take it when they are mean to me, but not to my child.”
But they loved her and now Baby Bean has her own social media page.
“People wanted to see more of her, that’s why I started an Instagram page for her because not all my followers are interested in baby stuff. And I guess as a content creator I know the business side of social media.”She had shared so much of her pregnancy with fans that she feels it’s only fair to share glimpses of Baby Bean too. She loves being a mom, she tells us. “Being a mom has been the one thing that comes naturally to me. Out of all the things I have done, it is just like breathing,” she says.
“And she is such an easy baby. Having an easy child has made motherhood so easy for me.” Getting help from her husband and mom, Celiwe Mtoba (48), has helped her adjust well into her new role as mom. “Having my mom around has honestly been the best gift and my husband is so supportive. I don’t want to celebrate a fish for swimming, but he really goes over and above to make sure that I am comfortable as well.”
The actress says being a mom has helped her understand what it means to love someone with her whole heart. “I love my husband, my mom, and my family so much. But I have never known a love like this. I have always known and understood that my mom loved me, but I never understood exactly how much, until I had to experience it for myself, kanti ukuthanda umuntu ku
nje, and I am like, ‘Oh my gosh loving someone is like this’,” she says.
“I stay up all night praying until I cry because I ask God to protect her and keep her safe. Baby Bean is the spitting image of her father. She is such a happy child, always smiling and she loves people. She is learning how to walk and stand now and she is grabbing onto everything, nothing is safe in this house, not even us,” she laughs.
BEING MRS HUSBAND
Because she hasn’t officially debuted her husband on social media, she’s affectionately known as Mrs Husband. They just celebrated their third wedding anniversary.“God has really been so good, three years later and it is three of us now and we have been together for nine years,” she says.The pair meet at a club when Linda was 19-years-old. “It’s a very funny story. We saw each other at a club and didn’t talk. Two months later he inboxed me on Facebook.”
The two started chatting and then dating. “He stayed in Cape Town and when we started dating he came to see me in Durban,” she recalls. Even though they had laid eyes on each other before, Linda had long forgotten she’d once seen him in a club. “We went out and later that day while we were chatting, he told me he felt he had met me somewhere before. I was like, ‘No man, it’s because we have been talking for the longest time’. And later, he asked if I was in a club that other night, two months back, and as soon as he said that, I just saw him,” she says.
“It’s very strange how we didn’t exchange numbers, but somewhere, somehow the universe brought us back together.” Being married is great, she says. “Marriage has been amazing, it’s like dating but with aroma,” she laughs. “My husband has been the most consistent person in my life and I really, really appreciate that about him. He is kind, caring, and has empathy and that is really important [to me] in marriage, well to have a partner like that honestly.”
He makes it easy for her to balance it all. “We talk all day, we text and we call, and he comes back for lunch sometimes,” she says.“Bean goes to bed at 7:30 pm and from that time it’s just us, we have a nice meal together and watch series together. And that is what we do most weekends.”
As much as Linda loves being a mom and a wife, she also loves being an actress. Making a splash on The River for her comeback was great. “I was scared of leaving my child and felt selfish for wanting to go back to work. But I love my job and I also wanted to go back to doing things for me, other than being a mom,” she says. “My husband told me, ‘No love, I want you to go back to work because it makes you happy, and all I want is a happy wife . . . I don’t want you to look back years from now, and feel like you were held back by having a child’.”
She also feared how she would be received by The River viewers, but she needn’t have worried. “Everyone has been so kind, supportive, and reassuring, bekufana nokubuyela akhaya (it was like coming back home).”
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