Having visited just about every continent on the globe, Siv Ngesi’s here with the ultimate traveller’s tips
His massive smile, infectious laugh and rock-hard abs may be the first things you notice about Sivuyile ‘Siv’ Ngesi. But a closer look at this comedian and actor reveals a complex character with, at the core of his being, a deep love for his country and its people.
Born and raised in Cape Town’s Gugulethu, his first taste of fame came at the tender age of nine, when Siv chanced an open-call audition for a production of Les Misérables. A month later he was touring Asia portraying the character of Gavroche in one of the world’s biggest stage shows.
Since then, he’s blazed across the big and small screen in films like Invictus, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom with Idris Elba and the hit American TV series 24. More recently, he’s been travelling the world as Janez Vermeiren’s co-host on Wingin’ It (M-Net) and The Man Cave (SABC 3).
We caught up with Siv who eagerly shares his globetrotting highlights and travel-savvy tips.
What’s your earliest travel memory?
It has to be the long, boring family drives to the Eastern Cape, in the most dangerous taxi-like cars. All the toilet-break stops along the way and – the best part – the amazing meals my mommy packed for us for the road. No, wait; the best part was actually arriving at our destination in one piece.
Tell us about your first overseas trip
We went to the UK while my mom was doing her Master’s on a scholarship. She was such a hustler. She saved money and worked on the side, enabling her to fly my two sisters and me over there. That woman is like a magician and Superwoman combined.
I was seven years old and I remember looking forward to seeing heaven and God while I was on the flight! Never got to see Him up there, but my fondest memory was playing in the snow for the first time – it reminded me of cold mealie pap falling from the sky!
How do you survive a long-haul flight?
I sleep like a baby on flights; I usually watch a movie, eat, and then sleep all the way. The secret is preparation; I always make sure that I’m dead tired beforehand, that I’m wearing snug clothing and that I have my eye covers packed. But the best remedy for long flights is to fly business class.
Do you have any travel phobias?
The only thing I’m afraid of is not being able to travel!
What’s your favourite thing about travelling?
Travelling should be compulsory for all. Every time I come home after a trip, I feel like a better version of myself. My biggest travel highlight is meeting new people and learning about their cultures.
And your all-time favourite destination?
New York City. It’s just mind-blowing. The movies don’t do it justice and I couldn’t do it justice in the written word either. You just have to go and experience it for yourself. It’s like taking a swim in Cape Town’s ocean water – you only realise how cold it really is when you jump in!
Your duffel bag falls open, what spills out?
Sweets, condoms (for friends), toiletries, my laptop and undies. I pack very light, as you can see.
All you really need when you travel is respect, a toothbrush, your credit card, an open mind, your passport and your smile.
Will your travel show Wingin’ It return for a second season?
It would be an injustice to the world if it didn’t. What an adventure it was, what a dream job and what a quality production – if I may say so myself.
What other projects are you working on?
I’m currently shooting the best season of The Man Cave yet – SA isn’t ready for this high calibre of TV!
I’m also writing my one-man stand-up comedy show called SIV-ilized. You can catch me at Cape Town’s Baxter Theatre, 2–14 October.
You’re famously single, the quintessential bachelor. What kind of person would get you to finally settle down?
I will never, ever get married. Period. But, if I ever had to settle down with someone, it would have to be someone who makes me a better version of myself – and I’d have to do the same for her. Personal growth is priceless.
This is article first appeared in the October 2017 issue of Club Magazine.