Who is Nhlanhla Kunene, aka Tsiki Tsiki from Adulting?

From hustling in community theater to captivating audiences as the lovable rogue ‘Tsiki Tsiki’ in the hit Showmax series Adulting, Nhlanhla Kunene’s meteoric rise encapsulates the raw charm and unwavering determination of the South African entertainment industry’s newest sensation.

Nhlanhla Kunene’s Profile Summary and Bio

Before we delve into the depths of his inspiring journey, here’s a quick glimpse at the man behind the magnetic screen presence:

  • Full Name: Nhlanhla Kunene
  • Birth Year: Around 1994/1995 (age 29ish in 2024)
  • Birthplace: Emnambithi, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Current Residence: Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Height: 1.76 m (5’9″)
  • Background: Raised by a single mother who worked as a domestic worker
  • Siblings: 3 older siblings
  • Education: Dropped out of Wits University drama school, attended Duma Ndlovu Academy
  • Known For: Portraying the charismatic gangster Eric ‘Tsiki Tsiki’ on Showmax’s Adulting

As Nhlanhla himself quipped during an interview, “I never thought I’d be the one stuck in the spotlight…I figured the attention would be on Bonga since Thembinkosi is such an amazing actor.”

Who is Nhlanhla Kunene?

Who is Nhlanhla Kunene?

From chasing his acting dreams in humble theater productions to progressively etching his name into the annals of South African television, Nhlanhla Kunene’s path to success is a true underdog tale. You can’t help but admire his tenacity and resilience.

His first major breakout arrived in 2022 with the role of Jabu, a nonchalant gangster, in the Mzansi Magic series Lavish. While the performance turned heads, it was merely a foretaste of Nhlanhla’s truly star-making turn as Eric ‘Tsiki Tsiki’ in Adulting.

As the roguishly charming yet devoted father figure, Nhlanhla’s authentic portrayal resonated with audiences in a seismic way. Surprisingly, even the rugged character’s brash mannerisms and criminal antics couldn’t deter fans from finding “Tsiki Tsiki” incredibly appealing.

Nhlanhla’s undeniable screen presence and ability to inject profound depth into seemingly stereotypical roles have quickly solidified his reputation as a talent to watch. From minor roles in shows like The River and Muvhango to this breakout success, his upward trajectory feels limitless.

How Old is Nhlanhla Kunene?

Like most rising stars, Nhlanhla has been relatively tight-lipped about his specific age and birthday. However, based on interviews, he was likely born around 1994 or 1995, making him approximately 29 years old as of 2024.

It’s a delightfully ironic feat that despite his somewhat mysterious age, Nhlanhla utterly convinced audiences of his credibility as a young, rough-around-the-edges father figure to the feisty teen Ncumisa (played by Siphesihle Khanyile) in Adulting.

In the acting world, after all, age is truly just a number when you can embody a role with such raw authenticity. And clearly, Nhlanhla has mastered that skill.

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Nhlanhla Kunene Was Raised by a Single Mother

Despite his current rising star status, Nhlanhla’s upbringing was far from lavish. He candidly recalled growing up in the small town of Emnambithi, raised by a single mother who worked tirelessly as a domestic worker to support Nhlanhla and his three older siblings.

She did not flat-out say no to acting, but I could see she wanted me to do something else. I was somewhat of a whizz in maths and physics…but I realized I was more of an artist than an academic.”

  • Nhlanhla reflecting on his mother’s initial hesitance about his chosen career path.

Financial hardships regrettably forced him to drop out of the prestigious Wits University drama program during his second year when his mother could no longer afford the tuition fees.

These struggles clearly ignited an unwavering drive within Nhlanhla. He went on to hone his skills at the Duma Ndlovu Academy, paving the way for his eventual breakthrough.

Nhlanhla Kunene’s Wife

Nhlanhla Kunene's Wife

Despite his rapidly rising prominence, Nhlanhla has remained decidedly tight-lipped about his romantic life. During a candid chat on the Podcast and Chill with Mac G in May 2023, he jokingly acknowledged the persistent gossip by quipping:

“Y’all want to know if I’ve got a msunu (partner) so bad!”

The answer, at least as of that interview, was a resolute “No.” Nhlanhla revealed he is currently single and consciously focused on avoiding intimacy for spiritual reasons.

His stance stems from his belief in avoiding potential “energy transfers” that could impact fertility or manifest other metaphysical consequences. While his perspective may raise some eyebrows, his fixation on personal growth is admirable.

Nhlanhla Kunene’s Adulting Character Taught Him About Parenting

In Adulting, Nhlanhla portrays Eric ‘Tsiki Tsiki’ – a former university student navigating a complex life of carjacking, fatherhood to a young daughter Ncumisa, and lingering feelings for his high school sweetheart.

The role demanded a nuanced depiction of the joys and struggles of single parenthood. In an interview with Xabiso Ngqabe, Nhlanhla insightfully remarked:

It taught me that fatherhood is not easy – especially when the mother is not around. Now you’re a single father to a girl child, and there are things you find it hard to talk about. It also taught me there’s no formula to parenting.”

Despite the character’s flaws, his endearing relationship with Ncumisa was among the most lauded aspects of the show’s first season. Nhlanhla’s authentic performance clearly benefited frommpathetically internalizing those paternal experiences.

Nhlanhla Kunene Embodies the Characters He Plays Spiritually

Nhlanhla has astounded audiences and critics alike with his ability to fully inhabit and elevate seemingly one-dimensional roles. His secret? A rather profound “spiritual” approach to acting.

As he disclosed to Drum magazine:

“I research each character, study as much as I can about them. But I also invite their spirit to come into me so that I can make the character believable…Then when I am done shooting, I tell him that I am done and he needs to leave.”

This esoteric methodology leads Nhlanhla to embody the characters so thoroughly that the line between reality and fiction blurs. It’s a fearless technique that allows him to access deep emotional reservoirs and infuse roles with remarkable authenticity.

Whether you interpret it as profound artistic commitment or spiritually interconnected, the results are undeniably captivating. From the entitled rich kid Ndumiso in The River to the philosophical gangster Jabu in Lavish, Nhlanhla seamlessly becomes his characters.

Nhlanhla Kunene’s Instagram

In this age of social media saturation, Nhlanhla has amassed an impressive following of over 88,900 fans on his Instagram (@nhlanhlakunene) as of 2024.

The newly minted star has humorously contemplated deactivating his account due to an onslaught of overzealous admirer DMs. As he cheekily relayed:

It makes me feel uncomfortable, and I want to make sure that I do not lose focus…I am even considering deleting my Instagram because all of that also brings with it spirits that I do not want to be associated with.

Hopefully, Nhlanhla maintains his presence so his rapidly growing fanbase can follow his unconventional spiritual musings and onscreen endeavors. An unfiltered glimpse into his life would certainly be compelling.

Nhlanhla Kunene’s Filmography and Theatre

Nhlanhla Kunene's Filmography and Theatre

While his breakout success came compliments of Adulting, Nhlanhla Kunene has steadily built up an impressive acting portfolio:


  • Adulting (2023-present) – Eric ‘Tsiki Tsiki’
  • Lavish (2022) – Jabu
  • The River (2018) – Ndumiso
  • Muvhango (2019) – Minor role
  • Step Up to Start Up (2018) – Lead
  • IsiThelo – The Mask (2016 short) – Supporting role
  • Missing (2016 short) – Supporting role


  • Magic Pot (2017) – Lead
  • Forbidden Knowledge (2016 musical)
  • The Antidote (2016 musical)
  • Secret Society (2015)

With his undeniable talents and dedication, there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing much more of this rising star in major film/TV projects very soon.


Where is Nhlanhla Kunene from originally?

Nhlanhla Kunene is a native of Emnambithi, a small town in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.

Who does Nhlanhla Kunene play in Adulting?

In the hit Showmax series Adulting, Nhlanhla plays the lead role of Eric ‘Tsiki Tsiki’ – a former student turned carjacker who is also a doting single father to his daughter Ncumisa.

Who are the other main Adulting cast members?

The core friend group in Adulting is portrayed by:

  • Thembinkosi Mthembu as Bonga
  • Luthando Mthembu as Vuyani
  • Thabiso Rammusi as Mpho

With his raw talent, striking authenticity, and profound artistic perspective, Nhlanhla Kunene’s meteoric rise showcases the incredible potential of the South African entertainment industry’s next generation. As “Tsiki Tsiki” would likely philosophize, this is merely the beginning of his soul’s journey.

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