Thembinkosi Mthembu’s journey to fame had many obstacles, including being broke and unable to take care of his child.

But today the actor, who plays Mabutho on 1Magic’s The River, has been nominated for a Royalty Soapie Award for outstanding male villain.

Thembinkosi told SunBuzz: “It feels good to be finally doing what I love.

“I spent over a year not working because I was signed to an agent that didn’t believe in me,” he said.

The 26-year-old said things were tough when he was unemployed and couldn’t afford to take care of his two-year-old daughter.

“It bothered me that I couldn’t take care of her. It made me feel less of a man.

“I was broke and didn’t have a job. But now I’m able to look after her and her mum, with whom I’m still in a relationship.”

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He said his plans to marry are in the pipeline.

The actor, who holds a diploma in drama and production studies from the Durban University of Technology, said he’s learnt to be money-savvy.

“I’m saving for the goals I want to achieve. I struggled a lot, so now I’m wise with money. I’ve been with the show for eight months and viewers have shown me nothing, but lots of love and am grateful.”

Thembinkosi said as a result of his role on The River, he had experienced what it’s like to be famous.

“I was at a party in Randburg when a woman squeezed my buttocks, but I laughed it off. I was shocked though.”

Catch Thembinkosi Mthembu on 1Magic’s The River (DStv channel 103) weekdays at 8pm