Renowned actor and performer Khaya Dladla says his passion for raising awareness on issues affecting members of the LGBTQI community pushed him to write a storyline for his "Uzalo" character, GC.
He said while he was having fun with the character, he saw the need to highlight serious issues.
"I was having fun with GC. He was being funny and everything people loved but I thought it was time to change things up a bit. There are many GCs out there who are not only funny but have problems. So I thought, let's give GC some problems.
"So I came up with a whole storyline for GC which saw him coming out to his parents and battling with acceptance. I wanted to do that because homophobia is real out there and the worst thing about it is that it starts at home.
He said the show's producers loved his idea and were happy to proceed with the storyline.
"The reason an entire neighbourhood is treating you funny is that your family has not accepted you. If your family embraces you then everyone else will follow. I've seen a lot of people from the LGBTQI community who are living their best lives in the cities but when it's time to go home, they have to change themselves and look a certain way because their own families have not accepted them," he said.
Khaya said people should not have to be scared to live their truths.
"It would be nice for people to live comfortable lives regardless of their sexuality. I'm blessed in that I have never had to come out of the closet but it's sad that people are having to go through that like it's a crime. Who are you hurting by being gay? Why is it even a discussion? It's like breathing. There are bigger problems that need our energy than homosexuality and people 'coming out'."
He said GC's storyline only scratched the surface though, as he believes there are many other issues that affect people, but are yet to make their way to TV productions.
"So far, all productions speak of homosexuality in the context of relationships. We still need to deal with the issues on the ground, like family, gays in the church and many other things," he said.
Khaya spoke to HuffPost during the cast tour to Johannesburg recently.
They wrote me in. I demanded a role.
"Initially, I was cast on the show as a choir member, but it bothered me that I'd only be appearing on TV to sing, in a group - but I still went. Next thing they had open-call auditions and I attended. They did not believe it. I told them I wanted more.
"Two weeks later they called me to come through for a scene but even then I was going to come in as an extra. I said no. Later they called me again and told me this time I would be saying lines, two lines for episodes one to three. I decided I would go there and kill those two lines in my delivery.
"The producers changed their minds and kept me," he said.
The Genesis of his career:
"It's been about 20 years ago now of me just doing my thing.
"It all started when I was six years old attending a ballet school. I was the only boy and the only black person there. I also attended drama and music.
"That was just for me to keep busy. My parents did not need me around them. They had too many things going on, and could not handle me so they got something to keep me busy meanwhile. It created a monster. By the time I was eight years old, I graduated from the junior section of that particular academy.
"During that graduation ceremony, I had a monologue, a piece to recite and a dance piece. Little did I know, there was a producer in the audience who approached me afterwards. That's how I got my first gig and have never stopped."
GC's future on the show:
"He wants his life back and he's willing to do anything. He is recovering and working to gain back the trust of those around him. Also, he might be dating again," Khaya said.