Alive and well, Sophie Ndaba is taking on a new and challenging role on Showmax’s Lockdown and breaking the stigma around diabetes.

When Sophie Ndaba first posted a picture of herself after dramatic weight loss, she sent South Africa into a frenzy. Looking quite different from the TV darling we had come to love, Sophie’s daily battle with diabetes has left her much slimmer, and the internet had a lot to say about it! But the actress is determined to live a full and healthy life, despite the gossip. She’s not shying away from her weight loss critics and is making her TV comeback.

Related: Sophie Ndaba opens up about her struggles with depression

South Africans should know better

3.5 million South Africans live with diabetes and a further 5 million are pre-diabetic. With such shocking statistics, you would imagine South Africans would be more knowledgeable about diabetes and its effects.

Actress and businesswoman Sophie Ndaba blames a lack of knowledge for the ongoing rumours around her weight loss and fake news about her death.

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“My weight loss came with its critics; people will say things about you, they will come up with a diagnosis for you and even say you’re dead. They do all this without a thought to what you’re actually going through,” says an exasperated Sophie.

“I did not keep my diabetes a secret, I’ve spoken about it, I’ve tried to educate people, but it’s like people don’t even hear what I’m saying,” she adds.

Related: 5 diabetes myths you need to stop believing for the sake of your health 

A day is not enough to change South Africa, but it’s a start

Type 2 diabetes, which Sophie lives with, is a lifestyle disease and can sometimes be prevented. Sophie says World Diabetes Day is a great way to start life-changing conversations, but more still has to be done.

“So little is said and done about diabetes when so many people are suffering because of it. People make choices 365 days a year that put them in danger of becoming diabetic. The department of health has a huge responsibility, but so do we as families and communities; we need to look out for each other,” says Sophie.

Related: what is the difference between type 2 and type 1 diabetes? 

Preventing diabetes is better than living with it

“I have made big changes to my eating habits with the support of my family. There are certain things we just don’t have in the house anymore because they’re a danger to my health,” says Sophie.

Her husband and children are her biggest supporters and sources of motivation when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In turn, she is sharing her experiences and knowledge to help them steer clear of type 2 diabetes.

“We’ve all made changes to the way we eat, not only to maintain my health, but also to prevent diabetes where possible. It is far easier to prevent diabetes than to live with it,” says Sophie.

Adding that although her family are making healthier choices, they are not on a strict diet.

Not letting diabetes stand in her way

Sophie has not been on our screens for a long time. But now, for the first time since her weight loss, she’s back!

Making her debut on Showmax’s hit prison drama Lockdown in January 2020, Sophie says she’s excited to see what fans make of this bold new character.

“This is my first acting role in this new body and aside from looking different, this character shows my acting in ways you’ve never seen before,” says Sophie.

Although she cannot reveal too much about her new character, Sophie says playing someone so real has forced her to introspect and has raised some serious questions about choices she has made in her own life.

“This character is just so complex! For me, she is more than just entertainment and I think many other South African women will be able to recognise elements of themselves and part of their lives in her raw struggle,” she shares.

Nowhere near the drama queens is she famous for playing, Sophie says this character was emotionally demanding. But even though it is an emotional journey, a serious role is something she has been looking forward to tackling.