Tango Ncetezo (born 21st of December 1984; Age: 37 years old) is a stunning and fast-rising South African actress who is well known for her role as Paulina Dlhomo in The River as well as Lindiwe in the popular SABC1 series A Place Called Home.
The very shy and introverted Tango Ncetezo has featured in some other productions, but her role as ‘Paulina’ in The River remains her biggest one for now. Ironically, she leads a quiet life away from the drama that trails her acting career. For someone who is painfully shy and undeniably talented, she has indeed come a long way in her acting career in the South African movie industry.
What is Paulina from The River’s Real Name?
The beautiful actress was named Tango Ncetezo by her parents at birth. The reason why some of her fans sometimes mix up her name with some characters she has taken up is that she gives sterling performances, that fans begin to refer to her by the name of some of these characters in real life, especially “Paulina” from The River. For the sake of clarity again, the actress’s real name is Tango Ncetezo.
How Old is ‘Paulina’ from The River?
The beautiful actress was born on the 21st of December 1984 in Atteridgeville, Northern Cape, South Africa, which makes her 37 years as of today.
From what has been gathered about her childhood, her parents (Pinky and Mbuleko), who are academics had to travel abroad to study so they left her and her brother in the care of her grandparents (Josephine and Jacob Masegome) when she was just 2. Tango grew up around her loving extended family with her uncles, aunt, and cousins.
According to her, she didn’t have many friends outside her cousins, but their childhood was filled with laughter. They were so many in their grandparent’s house that some would sleep on the floor but it was all fun, especially with their grandmother’s delicious meals.
With all the travel her parents did during her childhood, she moved around a lot but was mostly in and around Soweto with her parents. She also lived in other towns like Nelspruit and Benoni and currently Johannesburg.
Tango Ncetezo Struggled With Her Academics in High School
Looking at the well-accomplished lady that Tango is today, it is difficult to believe that she had a bumpy ride in school. While many of her classmates were focused and knew what they were going to pursue after school, Tango was generally uninspired and confused, which made her lag in her studies.
At one point, she was worried about graduating and referred to herself as not exceptionally bright. She also didn’t have lots of friends and interests as she just wanted to be on her own. Despite all these hindrances, she exceeded her own expectation and passed her matriculation examination.
Tango Ncetezo’s Parents Were Initially Skeptical About Her Decision to Pursue Acting
After matriculating, Tango was still confused about what direction to take concerning her life and career. She described herself as a confused teenager without a plan or clue about what to do with her life. She decided to take a gap year to help her decide on the way forward.
During her gap year, she was just sitting at home without doing anything until a friend invited her to her film school to help with a project. She was there for a whole week and became intrigued by what they were doing behind the camera. She decided to give it a go and register at the performing art school – AFDA.
However, due to her track record in academics and her personality, her parents found it difficult to believe that she was serious about pursuing a career in acting. They thought it was just something she chose on a whim and being academics themselves, they wanted her to choose a career that would be able to sustain her.
It took Tango about three months before she was able to convince her parents to allow her to register at AFDA. After she enrolled in AFDA for the Creative Economy course, she went ahead to give it her all to show her parents that she was serious about acting. They didn’t have a choice but to support her after witnessing how determined she was.
The Talented Actress Faced Several Rejections at the Beginning of Her Acting Career
After graduating from AFDA, Tango began to face another set of challenges. She found it difficult to land a role despite attending several auditions. A year after graduation, she hadn’t gotten any role as the competition was just too fierce, and she probably wasn’t ‘hungry’ enough for success.
The constant letdown and disappointment soon began to get to her, and just like in her teenage years, she became introverted and went back into her shell. She was not confident enough about herself and her talent. She met so many ‘better’ actors that she became intimidated.
Tango soon realized that if she needed to make headway, something needed to change. She realized that the change needed to come from within as her lack of confidence was affecting her auditions. This change in her mindset was the beginning of the change in her career.
Tango Ncetezo’s Got Her Big Break When She was 24
As she began to project more confidence, Tango began to find favor in the sight of directors and finally landed a role in Jozi-H, a hospital drama that aired in SABC3. She was so surprised that she landed a role that she even wondered what the director saw in her. In Jozi-H, she played the role of a woman who thought she was pregnant but had a growth in her stomach.
Even though she was very nervous during the initial stage of filming, she remained calm and soon found her rhythm in front of the camera. As her confidence grew, she began to refine her craft and uncovered an enormous acting talent and the drive to succeed. Not long after, she landed her first major role and big break as ‘Lindiwe’ in the SABC1 drama A Place Called Home.
Her beautiful and believable portrayal of ‘Lindiwe’- a street kid and lead dancer, led to greater opportunities for Tango in her acting career. According to her, after she landed the Lindiwe role, she didn’t know she was the lead. When she got on set, she saw several great actors she had watched while growing up and became really overwhelmed. She used the opportunity to fine-tune her people skills and soak up knowledge from the industry veterans.
She Has Featured in Several Well Received Productions
After her big break into the movie and television industry, directors began to take notice, and Tango Ncetezo began to get more lead roles. Her next major role was in the series Inkaba where she played the role of ‘Young Slindile’ between 2012 to 2013. In 2014, she starred in another SABC1 drama series titled Sticks and Stones as ‘Thami.’
In the same year, she began to feature as ‘Peggy’ in the Mzansi Magic drama series titled Rockville. She was in the show until its fifth season. Some of the other South African Soapies in which she has starred and has made her a household name include End Game, Single Guyz, Mina Nawe, Zabalaga Z’bondiwe, Soul City, and Society, amongst others.
Another role that really endeared Tango to the people was her role as ‘Thuli Zondi’ in the Season 1 of Thuli No Thulani. Her character was a single mother with a 10-year-old child who had to go live with her twin brother after experiencing several bad incidents.
Some of her other appearances are as Mrs. Chuene in Taxi Ride, Mina Nawe Season 1 as Funeka, Ke Ba Bolelletse – Season 2 as Lerato, End Game – Season 1 as Rose, Bones of My Bones as Masego Molate, and Angel’s song season 1 as the Casting Director.
Her Biggest Role So Far is Her Portrayal of ‘Paulina’ in The River
For someone who started off timid and insecure in her acting ability, Tango Ncetezo has indeed come a long way. How else do you realize how successful you are until fans begin to confuse your character to your actual person that they even call you by the character’s name.
In the drama series The River, Tango plays the role of Paulina – A loud and lousy tavern owner so well that fans of the show began to call her Paulina and even wondered if she was truly like the Paulina character in real life. Paulina is married to a police officer-Cobra (played by Presley Chwenegae).
In the series, she features alongside popular industry giants like Sindi Dlathu, Connie Ferguson, and Hlomla Dandala. While Paulina is loud and a social butterfly, Tango is quiet and anti-social. Her character in the series is the exact opposite of her real self but she continues to deliver her role excellently.
Moreover, the award-winning series is a big deal in South Africa with huge followership. So it is natural that there should be some form of feedback regarding her performance on the show. Tango herself shared that she was initially skeptical about how well she could deliver the role as she was intimidated and panicky, mainly due to her shyness. She has definitely grown into the role and has been described as one of the stars of the show.
Another aspect of her appearance on the show that has caused some reactions is her loud and lousy she-been-queen makeup and trashy colorful wigs. Some fans even took to her page to advise her on how to better wear her makeup. In response to this, Tango has shared that she doesn’t do her makeup by herself as they have a department in charge of that, and the makeup is a quintessential part of her character as shebeen-queens want to be heard and seen more than anyone else. Their self-esteem is very high.
When fans got an opportunity to see her without makeup after her brother on the show – Lindani Dlhomo – was killed, they were blindsided by her beauty as she looked like an entirely different person. The show continues to air on Mzansi Magic, and Tango has been on it since inception till the current season (season 4).
Considering her followership on social media, it is safe to say that she has made a name for herself in the entertainment industry but remains her shy and humble self. Tango believes one of the keys to her success in the industry is respect. She has learned to respect the people she works with and also respect the craft.
Beyond acting, Tango has also shared that she loves cinematography and working behind the scenes with actors. She wouldn’t mind being a director, and maybe this is another aspect of Tango that her fans should watch out for.
Awards and Recognitions
Awards and accolades are some of the ways that actors get feedback and rewards for their hard work and stay motivated to do more. When they are slow in coming, this isn’t an indication of poor performance, but good things do take time.
While Tango herself is yet to receive an award, she has featured in several award-winning soapies over the course of her career. The River has won a total of 28 awards and 30 nominations, including an International Emmy Award nomination. Inkaba with 4 nominations and A Place Called Home with 6 award wins and 5 nominations. Being a part of this stellar cast is already a win for Tango as she looks forward to winning hers personally in the future.
Is Tango Ncetezo Married or Dating Now?
As a celebrity, it is difficult to totally keep your life out of the media as fans will always want to know what is going on in the life of their favorites. However, the bootilicious Tango has kept a tight leash on the happenings in her private life. While she flaunts pictures of herself and beautiful curves on social media, she has chosen not to show who she is seeing.
From what she has said in some interviews, she is not married but has a boyfriend whom she is in a serious relationship with. According to her, they are happy, and she has chosen not to say anything further about this mystery man. It is worth mentioning that fans have speculated over time that she is going out with Presley Chwenengae, who is her partner in The River.
Tango has made it clear that their marriage is just for television and that they aren’t even close in real.
Tango Ncetezo is Passionate About Mental Health
For someone who has dealt with a lot in her life, the stunning actress never takes her mental health with levity. She once shared in an interview that if she wasn’t an actress, she would probably be a psychologist. She shares that she is very passionate about mental and emotional health and believes that she would have had a fulfilling career doing this. She advises that people need to be more compassionate and less judgemental as they aren’t privy to what others are really going through.