Recently reported to be optimistic about taking on Hollywood, but just as we wait, Dalton Ashikoto seems to be bagging more achievements on his way to international fame. The Namibian born lad recently landed a role in the much-celebrated and viewed Southern African soapie ‘Generations’.
Many might know him from the local scene in Namibian theatre but what no one could have missed is his presence in the South African soapie ‘Rhythm City’ as Stanley Gwala.
He played the role as a commissioner working for the government – a character he described as intelligent, stern, principled and charming, who refuse to be corrupt.
Also known as a theatre actor and television presenter, Ashikoto has been the ambassador of the Land of The Brave in South Africa, landing major roles in dramas and major advertisements, and surely setting a living example that Namibians are just as talented in the world of acting.
Narrating his journey to the recent achievement, Ashikoto said he started acting a long time ago. While pursuing his undergraduate degree in Computer Science in Kenya, Nairobi, he landed the lead role in Romeo and Juliet. Then, being on stage was such a thrill but nonetheless, he had to put acting on hold for a few years to pursue a career in business. In 2012, he decided that he wanted to take up and pursue his acting career. He took up an acting and film making course in Los Angeles.
“I have always loved how acting brings ideas and a story on paper to life and how the different characters allow you to momentarily transform into someone else. While living in Namibia, I realised that the South African Film Industry was growing at a much faster pace than it was in Namibia and a move to Los Angeles would be more complex than a move to South Africa. But I have nevertheless kept my contacts with filmmakers in Los Angeles and we are working on various projects together,” shared Ashikoto.
Parallel to his involvement with different projects, he managed to get himself a reputable agent based in South Africa and started attending auditions. Initially, he had to travel back and forth between South Africa and Namibia to attend the auditions. And just like any other industry he received a lot of rejections before landing his first major role in a DStv commercial. He then decided to move to South Africa where he has been living for the last three years.
Now 44, the ‘natural’ started tacking small but intentional steps to become the big name he is today, an achievement that many upcoming Namibian actors can only aspire to. As such, his recent achievement has been a long time coming.
He says for years, he has watched ‘Generations’ and wondered what it would be like to feature alongside. Little did he know that it was all in the pipe line. He defined this as a success that will not only benefit him but also open doors for those eager to make it in the acting industry.
“It really is a very exciting time, not just for me but for aspiring actors as well. Success can be defined and achieved in a million different ways and there are endless perspectives to do both,” said Ashikoto.
He adds: “My success with landing this role means that I can help others achieve their success. Doing something that has never been done before, unlocks and reveals the endless possibilities to those driven enough to want to succeed in this industry. Success is a moving target and like Steve Jobs said, “If you look closely, most “overnight success took a long time to achieve.” It shows that with discipline, focus and dedication, anything is possible.”
From Stanley Gwala, the Namibian now enters ‘Generations’ as Mr. Goombie, a character he has described as unlike other characters on the series. He changes from the role of a commissioner who refuses to be corrupt to a highly successful investor with good moral business principles. He has some major investment interests with projects that involve the character portrayed as Jack Mabaso whose real name is Vusi Kunene.
He is placed in a powerful dilemma when he realises their ways of doing business are very different. By putting him between a rock and a hard place, his true character is revealed by the choices he makes. By turning his world upside down, he is given a new direction to go. “The audience will however be able to empathise with my character from the very beginning.”
He believes he made it on the acting scene because he was willing to learn and listen to advice he got from different people on his journey to the top. But on top of this, he always initiated the first step.
“To date, I continuously work on developing my skills by attending courses, acting workshops and reading books. Being in South Africa has allowed me the opportunity to network more and also be more accessible to attending auditions,” concluded ‘Mr. Goombie.’