‘Blood & Water’ Star Ama Qamata Explains Why She Almost Turned Down the Role of Puleng

The Netflix YA series Blood & Water centers around Puleng (Ama Qamata), trying to find her long-lost sister. So, she enrolls in the prestigious Parkhurst High to uncover whether or not elite socialite Fikile (Khosi Ngema) could be her missing relative. While many fans couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Puleng, there was a moment when the actor almost turned down the role. 

Who is Ama Qamata?

Ama Qamata talking to a camera person in 'Blood & Water' Season 1.
Ama Qamata | Jonathan Ferreira/Netflix

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Amamkele Lithemba Qamata is a South African actor born in Cala, Eastern Cape. At the age of three, she moved to Johannesburg with her family. Qamata went on to appear in advertisements like Cheese Curls and McDonald’s.

At 17, Qamata made her television debut in the comedy series My Perfect Family on SABC1. Soon after, the actor starred in the South African TV series Rhythm City (2018) and Gomora (2020). After graduating high school, she enrolled at the University of Cape Town. But, she dropped out during her second year. Eventually, she landed the lead role in the Netflix series Blood & Water. 

Ama Qamata auditioned for the lead role in ‘Blood & Water’

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The role of Puleng has changed Qamata’s life forever. The part has catapulted her acting career to new heights. But, she almost turned down the opportunity to star in the Netflix series.

In an interview with SowetanLIVE, the actor explained how she landed the lead role on Blood & Water. “After high school, I interned at Bomb Productions and met casting director Kutlwano [Ditsele]. He was coincidentally the casting director for Blood & Water. We kept in touch, and he saw me at the Global Citizen concert,” she said.

“The next week, I got a message asking if I was in Cape Town or Joburg. He didn’t respond after I informed him that I was in Cape Town,” she continued. “My agent then asked me to audition for Blood & Water. A week later, he said to me the reason he was asking was for me to audition for Blood & Water.”

Before securing the role, Qamata was a drama student at the University of Cape Town. So, portraying Puleng required her to drop out of school. But, she didn’t want to leave school at first. “There were a lot of challenges that came with the decision to take the role. I auditioned, not knowing it was a Netflix show at the time,” she explained. “I just showed up for my audition. So, having to drop out was a difficult decision. I almost didn’t take the role because I didn’t want to leave school.”

The ‘Blood & Water’ star wanted to pursue her education

To put it plainly, Ama Qamata wanted to continue her studies. Before taking the role, Qamata told her mother about it. At first, the young actor was going to decline the part. Ultimately, her mother convinced her to take it and pursue the opportunity. 

“My mom was like, ‘Are you insane?’ You are going to take this role; this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she told the outlet. “You can always go back to school and complete your studies. I have her to thank for encouraging me to pursue my dreams and believe in myself more.

Blood & Water Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.