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Nkopane breaks boundaries

Business

Chris Theko 

Lesotho-born actor Nkopane Mohola was initially introduced to South Africa’s big screens as Lenka Moshoeshoe when he landed a role in the drama series Ya lla on Mzansi Magic in 2015. 

From there, he never looked back as he featured in several productions including South Africa’s Telenovela hit, ‘Lingashoni’.

Created by Stained Glass, Lingashoni is a telenovela about a poverty-stricken farm worker who returns to his former life as a high-flying businessman after a decade-long memory loss.

Despite what he calls a turbulent journey, the actor says he is yet to achieve more in the television space as he looks to take on more roles in his career.

In an exclusive interview with Newsday Arts this week, the actor says he is on the first stage toward achieving his biggest dream of owning a production company. 

“I am nowhere near achieving my dreams. At the moment I am at about five percent closer to the finish line,” Mohola said.

“I would love to one day own a production company, make movies and produce television shows for the international market and also provide opportunities for other filmmakers,” he added.

In 2016 he landed the role of Lenka which catapulted him into the big league after years of endless auditions.

After graduating from the AFDA School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance, Mohola struggled to break into the industry by attending auditions.

During this time, he tried his luck in directing, working for Black Brain Productions which produced shows such as City Sesla and Ses Top La.

“The journey had been turbulent and rewarding. Since graduating I have been to several auditions but only succeeded in a few,” he said.

“It took me five years to get my first role but in that time I was doing some work behind the scenes so I was able to learn about how everything else is done,” he added.

Most of the roles he plays allow him to wax lyrical in Sesotho which is something that has gotten him a lot of adoring fans.

The actor says he enjoys the ability to show that not everything good should come from abroad, referring to when he was young and his peers would go to schools in South Africa and come back with accents.

“When I got the opportunity to take show that not everything from South Africa is better than ours, I ran with it and people noticed me. I then started getting work as a voice-over artist, more acting gigs, translating scripts and many others. That is where I saw my career improving,” he said.

Mohola currently plays the role of Tebalo on Lingashoni where he acts alongside legendary actor Patrick Mofokeng in a star-studded cast that includes compatriot Liteboho Molise who was famous for playing the role of Teboho on Muvhango.

Currently, he is working on a project which he said is hopeful it will be due for release next year.

Having featured in different roles and productions, Mohola maintains that none of them was easy as there are no easy roles.

“All the roles come with their own different and unique challenges and each requires a completely different approach. But, the most challenging is probably Ya Lla, purely because it was my first television role and it was a lead character so I felt a lot of pressure,” he said.

The actor admits that he still encounters some language barriers when on set due to his limitations in other languages apart from isiZulu.

He also acknowledges that some of the actors struggle to understand what he is saying when he is in roles that require him to speak deep Sesotho.

He, however, was quick to state that this is not a big problem.

Before putting his focus on film and television, Mohola was known to be a rapper, initially known as part of the hip hop duo Terama le Lemakoane.

He and Thulo Monyake, also known as Tmech, then formed the group called Magic in Progress (MIP) and he says they are yet to do a comeback for one more project.

“I have been thinking about returning to music for a while but sometimes I think I am too old to keep up with today’s market. But I have said that the only way I will return is if I am doing one more album with good friend Thulo Monyake, so maybe we will get back in the studio soon and cook something up for an older audience,” concluded Mohola.

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