‘Actors are born, not made’
ESTABLISHED actor, Tseko Monaheng, popularly known as Ntate Moruti or Ntho Tse Tsepa, says the best actors are born and not made as in other careers.
Speaking in a recent interview with Xpress People, Monaheng said most of the best actors did not go to school and those that did only went to sharpen an already existing talent.
“Just like in soccer, one cannot got to school to learn to be an actor, actors are born and some like myself developed careers without having to go before lecturers,” Monaheng said.
“When I first went to South Africa, I learned that there were so many prominent actors who never studied acting, all one needs to do is keep acting especially different roles to stay relevant.
“Another thing is that actors form working relations and love working together and this allows them to blossom in a short space of time.”
Born and bred in Khubetsoana, Monaheng’s acting skills were discovered in 2005 by veteran actor and producer, Silas Monyatsi while hosting auditions for the AIDS drama Ke Khetho Eaka.
His career blossomed that same year as he went on to star in Untitled – a locally produced short film by Kaizer Matsumunyane which Monaheng describes as his best film to date. He was also featured in several radio drama of the HIV/AIDS initiative, Phela.
He debuted on the South African scene in 2006 on Soul City’s Untitled Stories including Mapule’s Choice and Monna Motsamai. Thereafter, Monaheng never looked back as he went on to feature in several local and South African films.
Locally he featured in films such as Kau la Poo and Lilaphalapha as well as radio and television commercials while in South Africa he has played roles in Mantsopa and Qomatsi and radio dramas on Lesedi FM.
He will star as a policeman in the upcoming Five Fingers from Marseilles which will be released next month.
He will star alongside prominent South African actors, Mduduzi Mabaso, Warren Masemola, Vuyo Dabula and Kenneth Nkosi.
“I dropped out of school so I did not qualify for most jobs. I used to be a taxi conductor and also did small jobs in construction.
“One day while operating as a street vendor, my friend, Tsele Sekoala asked me to accompany him to Silas Monyatsi’s auditions for the film Ke Khetho Eaka.
“There were so many people at the auditions including my home boy, Bofihla Neko (Lilaphalapha) who made fun me for being there but that motivated me to fill in the form to audition.”
He said his group was the only one which was asked to stay on by the panel of judges while the other nine were sent away.
“That was the beginning of my career as we toured around the country promoting the film.
“Kaizer Matsumunyane’s Untitled film followed and it remains my best to date because when I watch it I realise I exuded the best yet even with the little experience I had back then. From there I worked for Phela on their radio dramas and they linked me with South Africa’s Soul City.
“In 2009 when we were launching Kau La Poo, Silas Monyatsi invited prominent South African actors including Jerry Mofokeng who loved my talent and featured me in his theatrical play Mantsopa which became my career breakthrough in South Africa,” he said.
He also said that the soon to be released action Five Fingers from Marseille would be his biggest film, adding he was delighted to work with big name stars.
He said he had however, experienced several challenges on his way to achieving a glittering career, adding he never gave up.
“Being born in Lesotho is the major setback as our country fails to recognise our talents and that the arts sector can create many jobs. We are not asking for money but rather theatres and studios where we can practice and stage shows.
“I never wanted to go to South Africa as my dream has always been to establish myself in my home country but then I have a family to feed and bills to pay,” he said, adding, he was in Lesotho on leave since January but would be returning to South Africa next month.
“I do not like to work on long-term projects like acting in a soapie for more than six months for such roles redefine you and that makes it difficult to be considered for other roles. I want to be challenged as an actor by playing as many short roles as possible.
“I am going back to South Africa so that I can raise money in order to come back home and shoot more films that can get international exposure. Lesotho has so many untold stories and a landscape that cameras love.
“I have started production through radio commercials and wish to learn more about television production in order to tell our stories such as that of cannibals,” he said.