By Chanel Retief
From Hollywood exports and Grammy artists to award-winning ideas that can save the world, Africa is not only diverse in its people but also in its industries and creativity. For FORBES AFRICA hundredth issue (since the magazine’s inception in 2011), we decided to curate a list celebrating these very ideas, inventions, and influential role models that have spelled Africa’s growth over the last decade.
Having been in the film industry for over 30 years, award-winning South African actor Connie Ferguson is on the list for her impact as an actor, producer, and filmmaker. In 2018, she also graced the cover of FORBES WOMAN AFRICA. She talks to FORBES AFRICA about being included on the icons list.
Correct us if we are wrong but you have had almost 30 years in the acting industry and you have been hugely successful-what/who do you owe your success to?
I’ve been in the industry for 31 years now and literally grew up in it and with it! I owe my success to simple perseverance, hard work and never taking anything for granted! Faith and prayer have also been a big part of it! And the people who have believed in me and cheered me on along the way, especially my family, are the reason I never gave up even when times were hard.
What have been some of your highlights as both an actress and businesswoman?
My highlights as an actress are definitely my time at Generations, a show that allowed me the opportunity to build my personal brand, my role as Mavis in Rockville, our debut show as executive producers, and my current role of Harriet Khoza on The Queen. Although the different awards received over the years are humbling and appreciated, the loyal fans and viewers that diligently follow and appreciate my work, are who make it all worthwhile.
As a business woman, being the first SA TV personality to launch a perfume in 2008, and a body care range Connie Body Lotion and Connie Men in 2015. Winning the Shoprite Supplier Of The Year Award in 2015 was the cherry on top. Ferguson Films, a production company I own and run with my husband Shona, is also not only a highlight but the biggest blessing! We are able to create work for a hundred plus in a very tough economic climate. All our shows have performed exceedingly well, and we are truly grateful to the people who follow and enjoy our work. They inspire us to keep the creative juices flowing.
In your opinion what do you think makes an icon?
Someone that is not only aspirational but inspirational, that is memorable and leaves a mark wherever they go.
Can you comment on us at FORBES AFRICA considering you an icon.
I appreciate the honor. I didn’t set out to become an icon. I let my work speak for itself and endeavor to empower and touch as many lives as I can positively. The titles and accolades that come with that are a bonus!