Ifeanyi Dike Jr., Tobe Dadiva, Uriel Oputa Emerge Top Three For BET’s “Top Actor Africa” Reality Show

BET (DStv channel 129) has revealed the top twelve actors and actresses who are making up the cast of Top Actor Africa, the first ever pan-African series of the channel’s dramatic reality show.

After months of auditions across the continent, BET has identified the 12 potential heart-throb heroes and leading ladies from South, East and West Africa who’ll be gracing our TV screens in Top Actor Africa from February 2016.

Hoping to see their names in lights are South Africans Shamilla Miller from Cape Town, Farrell Drew from Durban and Marilyn Sekgapane, Jesse Suntele, Hendrik Lombard, Simhle Belinda Plaatjies and Sabelo Sibeko from Johannesburg.  Representing Nigeria are Tobechi Nneji, Uriel Oputa and Ifeanyi Dike, while flying the flag for Kenya are Lorreine Wangui Gakuo and Alexander Eliab Khainga.


The contestants will be eager to follow in the footsteps of last season’s winner, Altovise Lawrence, who is currently in the US shooting her first Hollywood feature, “The Other Side” opposite Brad James and Erica Hubbard.  The film is due for theatrical release in 2016.

Top Actor Africa will be testing the actors to the limits over in nine grueling acting challenges, taking them through every genre from Improv to Comedy, Theatre, Soapie, Commercial, Romance, Horror, Drama and Action.  Along the way they will work with Hollywood and local industry experts including celebrity actors, casting agents, directors, producers, managers and writers as they fight to stay in the competition and keep their acting dreams alive.

The contestants will be competing for the chance to win the title of “Top Actor Africa”.  At stake -a career-launching prize package that includes US$10,000 in cash, a one-year contract with international representation and access to Hollywood auditions

Alex Okosi, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, VIMN Africa commented saying, “Our congratulations and best wishes to all the contestants who have made the final cut in Top Actor Africa.   We are thrilled to have developed this powerful and proven platform for discovering and empowering African acting talent, and we look forward to seeing the drama unfold in season 2.”

Samad Davis said , Creator and Executive Producer for Top Actor, “This show is truly a door-opener for aspiring actors.   Last year’s winner went from being a student fresh out of drama school to having a regular presenting job on TV (in BET Buzz) to appearing in an American feature film alongside Hollywood notables in just a few months.”


Hosted by South African movie star Zikhona Sodlaka (“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” & “Generations”), the first season was won by South African drama student Altovise Lawrence, an increasingly popular figure on BET itself, where she now hosts an entertainment news show, BET Buzz.

Top Actor Africa will premiere across Africa on BET (DStv Premium, channel 129), in February 2016.



Farrell Drew – 24-year old South African Pietermaritzburg:

A drama class is where Farrell’s passion for acting first got started.   A student in Drama and Production at the Durban University of Technology, he heard about the Top Actor Africa via Facebook and managed to get his lecturers to move his exams forward so he could make it onto the show once he had heard he had been chosen.

Hendrick Lombard – 20-year old South African from Pretoria:

After various different jobs and failed relationships, Hendrick decided to try his hand at acting. He has landed numerous roles as an extra and featured extra and even had a small role in “Resident Evil”.   After winning a part as a featured extra in a South African daily drama, he decided that acting was the life for him. No formal acting training.

Lorraine Wangui Gakuo – 23-year old Kenyan :

Lorraine’s first dramatic role at school was the part of “Anna” in “The King and I”.   After school she studied International Business Administration specialising in Marketing and Minor in Japanese Language. She studied French at school and also has passion for language. She chose Japanese because she found it unique, disciplined and polite. She has been a provincial swimmer for her country. No formal acting training.

Alex Khayo Khainga – 27-year old Kenyan fro  Nairobi:

Before becoming an actor, Alex worked in marketing for a major mobile phone company in Kenya. After being offered a role from a previous audition he went on to join Jicho Four productions, one of the leading stage plays productions in Kenya. He continued doing marketing for various groups using his marketing skills, and  subsequently ran into one of the household to a Kenyan TV producer  who offered him a minor role in the TV series “Angel’s Diary“.

Shamilla Miller – 27-year old South African from Cape Town

Shamilla is a graduate of Live Performance and Film from AFDA who has had the opportunity to work with the likes of David Kramer and Alfred Rietman and has acted in numerous international and local commercials as well as cameo roles on a few international and local films.

Sabelo Sibeko – 23-year old South African from Johannesburg

Sport was always the main event for soccer player Sabelo who played for SA soccer team Jomo Cosmos. Always keen on acting, Sabelo sees landing in the top 12 of Top Actor Africa as a huge opportunity for him to follow his dream. No formal acting training.

Simhle Belinda Plaatjies – 22-year old South African from Cape Town

Simhle has always loved having an audience; her passion for performance started at a very young age, when she went to acting classes at the Baxter Theatre. While the other children were hanging about during break she would be creating choreography and dancing with her friends for fun.

Marilyn Eskgapane – 23-year old South African from Kroonstad

Former accountancy student Marilyn always had a passion for acting, and remembers acting and singing in front of her family from an early age. No formal acting training.

Ifeanyi Dike Jr – 26-year old Nigerian from Lagos:

Ifeanyi started his acting career in 2012 on Nigerian soapie, Tinsel where he discovered his passion for acting.  He feels that it is a powerful medium to get a message across and to assist people.  Ifeanyi has recently been seen on MTV Base in the role of “Michael” in drama series “MTV Shuga”.

Jesse Ambrose Suntele – 23-year old South African from Johannesburg:

Jess studied sound engineering but discovered a love of acting during his participation in numerous school plays. After landing the very first professional audition he went to, he realised that he actually had a genuine talent for acting.  Jesse has gone on to act in numerous commercials and most recently has appeared on South Africa drama series “Ashes to Ashes”. No formal acting training.

Uriel Ngozika Chukwu – 29-year old Nigerian:

Uriel first got involved in drama at school and loves being on stage.  She has spent her life singing and has produced a few house tracks that have played on radio in Nigeria. She lives in Nigeria and makes a living creating wigs and making music. No formal acting training.

Tobechi Nneji – 28-year old Nigerian from Lagos:

Tobechi studied for a BSc in Economics at the Madonna University in Nigeria before working in several states across Nigeria as a radio presenter.   No formal acting training.


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