ACTOR Tebatso Mashishi, whose break-out role was on popular movie Matwetwe, has spoken out about how being a nerd liberated him.

The talented actor, who plays the role of Kgosi on Muvhango, told Daily Sun that embracing his nerdiness freed him from feeling bad about himself as he is living with albinism.

“As a child I was nerdy, awkward and lonely, so I spent most of my time reading. This turned into an addiction and favourite pastime. I would constantly be buried in a book wherever I was, so people started calling me a nerd. At first, this reputation embarrassed me but as time went on, I learnt to embrace it. This freed me,” he said.

Tebatso also revealed that while still at school, he used his nerdiness as a ticket to hanging out with the cool kids as he was struggling to make friends.

“By the time I was at high school, I knew a lot of things through reading. I was smart, so my schoolmates liked to be around me,” he said.

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The 27-year-old, who has a B-Tech in film and drama from Tshwane University of Technology, said he now used reading to cope with anxiety and stress, as well as to take his mind off work and get a different perspective.

Tebatso said that he read at least one new book a week, and wanted to spread this love among his celebrity peers and encourage those who were lonely to take refuge in books.

“I want to start a celebrity book club where others can meet and distress. Reading is one of the most therapeutic and important things one can do in life. Not only does it reveal stress, but it also feeds and exercises your mind,” he said.