Rising stars

Thapelo Mokoena

Thapelo Mokoena
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Thapelo Mokoena is a young accomplished actor, presenter and film producer. He has the business savvy essential to realising a lucrative career in the arts. 

Originally having moved from KwaZulu-Natal to the bright lights of Johannesburg to study accounting, he was influenced by his new environment to rethink his goals.

 “Everywhere I looked, I saw evidence of the media industry, so I changed to a course in filmmaking,” he reminisces.

Makoena has not looked back since. He presented the first season of South Africa’s version of reality competition, Fear Factor. 

His acting credits include starring as lead character Cedric Fatani in the United Kingdom TV family series, Wild at Heart. It follows the life of a Bristol-based vet and his family who emigrate to South Africa to start a game farm. 

He is in great demand for commercials, voiceovers and film productions.Makoena is frank about American actors playing South African roles in local productions, revealing a maturity far beyond his years: 

“We need to start, as a society, to stand for something and take pride in what we do.  Some American actors’ accents in our films sound like a cross between Spanish and Russian,” he offers.

”We unfortunately live in a society that needs much healing, confidence building and struggling to get comfortable. We are starting from scratch.

He is not looking for free rides, and endorses action for a changed society. There are far less initiators and executors, therefore we live in a country predominantly populated by followers.”

But the suave young director is convinced the world is our playground. 

“If you have a full stomach and your basic needs are met, there’s no excuse to sit back,” he says philosophically.The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) confirms there has been continued growth in the South African film industry locally and globally, with about 28 films released in 2011. 

South African films Semi-Soet and Material reached the top five at the box office on the weekend of their release. They each grossed more than R5.5-million at that time.
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Issue 83


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