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‘Neko: a man of many talents

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — He is well known for his role in Lilaphalapha but Bofihla ‘Neko is a man of many talents.
He starred as a pastor in Kau la Poho 1 and 2 and a bisexual in the series Khetho Ea hao.
‘Neko has also starred in radio dramas for different non-governmental organisations including HIV awareness film projects by Phela.
The Marabeng-born comedian is a true reflection of what an actor can do with proper mentoring.
In all these endevours ‘Neko says what is important is to stay relevant.
“Being cast as a pastor, a bisexual man and playing out the roles to pass a message is not really a challenge because a true actor is supposed to be innovative. An actor should have the ability to swap characters without any difficulty,” he says.
‘Neko says the key is to reflect and research the personality of a character and identify with it.
He says he was born an actor.
“My acting started at a very young age. My first international play was a theatre performance at Market Theatre in Johannesburg in 1998 while I was still in high school; the play was called Gauta ea Moruti and it was written by a local theatre practitioner, Simon Afrika Makane,” he said.
He says he starred in two other one-man theatre performances Spin Bottle and Hi I’m Gay which were both at the Market Theatre which he wrote.
“I did my BA in Theatre Arts at Vista University in Welkom between 2001 and 2003. The following year I acquired a National Certificate in Theatre Therapy with Stanford University and reinforced my skills of theatre with a higher diploma in playback theatre with Wits School of Arts.”
‘Neko says one of his first big casting in drama was being an extra in Yizo Yizo, a South African television production.
“In 2002 I went to Johannesburg to try my luck in the television industry and was cast as an extra in Yizo Yizo and that was my first and last TV production feature in South Africa.”
The comedian says his love of theatre grew between 1996 and 2000 when he was in high school.
“I always played minor roles in school sketches in primary school, which was just the beginning of my career,” he says.
“In 1996 I met theatre legends Phomolo Mosaase, Simon Afrika Makane and Khotso Bulane who taught me to be disciplined always and never to be over-excited. They taught me to be willing to learn in order to grow as an actor.”
“I have always been a performer and an actor in the making. When I was eight-years-old I tried to act out a stunt where I jumped from the roof using a rope and the rope strangled me. It was a very sad but funny story because it tells a story of how my craft came about.”
‘Neko says he was not just a talented actor but a teacher as well.
“I taught theatre in education at both primary and high school levels between 2004 and 2008. Those were my most interesting years as an individual and a professional practitioner,” he says.
‘Neko is the brains behind productions such as Tholoana tsa Bohlola which was produced in 2004, and Love Chapter and Another Chapter which were produced in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
He also produced Lilaphalapha 1 and 2 where he became famous to Basotho film-lovers.
But the production ran into problems due to issues of copyright issues. The case is still pending in the High Court.
“The court case has really affected the potential of the project. It really got to me in its early stage but with the team surrounding me we are confident we will pull through although the big damage has been done,” he says.
He says the biggest problem they are facing as artistes is piracy.
“The biggest pain of being in this industry is that you produce films and get a pat on the back for a job well-done. But one still remains poor because people are reproducing your work. If piracy is not dealt with now it will kill this industry before it even reaches its full potential.”

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