Up close with Namibia’s Dalton Ashikoto


Namibian theatre and TV actor Dalton Hashondali Ashikoto, who currently stars as
Stanley Gwala in the South African soap opera Rhythm City, believes ideas are
always valid no matter where one comes from.

Truly pan-African in education and background, the father of two went to school in
Windhoek, Namibia and studied computer science in Nairobi, Kenya. Throughout his
studies he maintained a passion for the performing arts. “I have always had a love
for television, film and acting for as long as I can remember,’ he says. To be
precise, he started acting some 20 years ago with friends in college. He then did
short films for the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as well as presenting a
NBC TV music show called Penduka.

After the experience at the NBC, Ashikoto took a 10-year break to concentrate on

Two years ago he decided to reignite his passion for acting and decided to pursue
his childhood dream again, inspired by Hollywood greats like Will Smith, Denzel
Washington, Kevin Spacey and Angella Bassett. He embarked on a pilgrimage to Los
Angeles to study film and acting.

Besides being an actor and a presenter, he is also a producer and a businessman,
with a number of business interests on the go in his home country. The enterprising
actor recently started a media and film production company in Johannesburg, where
has been doing mostly commercials and short films for M-Net. He also recently
worked on the Hollywood live-action anime adaptation, Kite, alongside Samuel L

With all these irons in the fire, Ashikoto now also enjoys the somewhat steadier
work of a soap star with his role on Rhythm City. “I got a call from my agent while
in Namibia telling me that I need to get to Joburg,’ he says. Ashikoto promptly
boarded a plane, learned his lines during the flight and showed up at the audition
ready to tackle the part. As a result, since April 2014, he has become known to
South African soapie enthusiasts as the incorruptible Stanley Gwala on the daily
drama, which airs on free-to-air channel, e.tv.

Of the Namibian film industry, Ashikoto says it is still in its infancy in contrast to
the South African industry, which is well supported by corporates and government.

“The challenges are many as you try to break into the South African industry,’ he
says. “Building networks, getting work permits, getting a good agent and so on are
some of the many hurdles.’

On whether he plans to stay in Johannesburg permanently, he says: “I love juggling
between the two countries. Joburg can be hectic and Namibia is my sanctuary.
Luckily Windhoek and Joburg are only two hours apart.’


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