She has been acting since 1977. She started her journey with theatrical plays such as Ipi Ntombi, which toured South Africa, Monte Carlo, USA and New Zealand, Porgy & Bess and Little Shop of Horrors.
It is, therefore, not surprising that she is one of the award-winning actresses in South Africa.
Connie Chiume has acted in numerous feature films as well, including The Air Up There in 1994, Chikin Biznis in 1998, I Dreamed of Africa in 2000 and Country of My Skull in 2004 with Hollywood star, Samuel L Jackson.
She also featured in a drama series Zone 14, from 2005 to 2010, for which she won the Golden Horn award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama at the third South African Film and Television Awards in 2009.
Apart from numerous commercials, documentaries and educational films she has lent her voice or face, since July 9 2007 Connie has been one of the key characters of e.tv soapie, Rhythm City. Sadly, her role of Mamokete Khuse has come to an end.
The actress, who plays Mamokete on Rhythm City, appeared for one last time last Wednesday.
While in most cases actors opt out, her exit is not of her own volition: Mamokete’s usefulness to the storyline has expired.
“The story of Mamokete has been discontinued. It’s the nature of the industry. Actors are freelancers at the end of the contract they can decide whether to renew or not,” said the thespian in an interview from Johannesburg.
Reflecting on her character, Connie, who has been with the show since its launch, said: “It was a very exciting and joyous journey working with a wonderful cast and crew. I call them my family. We know each other on a professional and personal level. I cherish the almost a decade I spent at Rhythm City and wish them well.”
While she had no choice, but to accept that her character’s time was over, Connie cherishes every moment of her being a Rhythm City resident.
“I have no regrets. Everything comes to an end. No one is like a baobab tree in a production in this industry. Of course, it’s sad, but as they say back home in Malawi, nthawi yakwana.
“I just want to say thank you to my fans and Rhythm City supporters, my colleagues, crew, e.tv, and my family and the media,” she explained.
While an e-tv statement mentioned that she will still be focusing on her love for acting and her long time passion for farming, there is more to what Connie is planning.
“I will not take an acting break. Any opportunity that comes my way, I will take. Hopefully in three months time, I will be opening an arts and film school, which is registered, but I am trying to get accreditation. But acting is and always will be my first love. Maybe I might also pursue my other unknown passion; farming,” she stated.
Rhythm City series producer Yula Quinn heaped praise on the actress.
“We are sad to say goodbye to Connie, who has been one of the show’s cornerstone characters. The brilliance and talent she brought to the soapie, in her role as Mamokete, has been an inspiration to many. We will miss her on the Rhythm City set and on our screens,” he said.
Born Connie Temweka Gabisile Chiume in the 1950s, the actress was born to Wright Tadeyo Chiume who came from Nkhata Bay.
Among her many relations in Malawi include her politician-cum-businessperson cousin Ephraim Mganda Chiume.
Connie therefore calls herself a proud ‘Salawian’ as she has mixed blood.
“I was born to a Malawian father and a South African mother, who is still alive. Unfortunately, my father died in 1983 in Malawi.
“I proudly have this Malawian heritage and I actually coined the word ‘Salawian’, which I call myself with, because I am a mixture of South African and Malawian.
“I feel very strongly about my Malawian culture which unfortunately, I was deprived of because of being born in South Africa. But in the same breadth, I also appreciate my South African roots,” she told The Nation over a year ago. n