LESOTHO-BORN Nkopane Mohola was almost giving up on acting when he landed a role in the drama series Ya Lla on Mzansi Magic last year.
The role of Lenka catapulted him into the big league and got him a lot of adoring fans, chiefly because of how he waxed lyrical when he spoke Sotho.
But his is not a tale of overnight success. Mohola had been attending auditions for five years without success. While waiting for his chance, he even tried his luck in directing, working for Black Brain Productions who produce shows such as Ses Top La and City Sesla.
He says he had lost hope and was even thinking he would cast himself because of his position as a director.
“I had given up about acting. I was excited to get that role (of Lenka) and I couldn’t even celebrate it because it happened so fast. I did directing just to pay the bills but I knew that my heart was not there,” he shares.
Lenka was an ambitious young man who takes control of what’s left of the once-legendary Marashea gang of Lesotho migrants and tries to restore it to its former glory.
The story follows Lenka as he comes to South Africa looking for a job just after his father died. He arrives with nothing and rises to become the most powerful man in the gang.
As someone who comes from Lesotho in real life, Mohola, says he knew about the history of the Marashea, and he was excited to be involved in their story.
Mohola says Ya Lla changed perceptions about Basotho, that there’s more to them than just riding horses and wearing blankets.
“The show portrayed Basotho as passionate people who work hard to achieve success.”
His convincing portrayal of Lenka has scored almost a similar role in the telenovela Greed and Desire where he plays Tokelo.
He describes Tokelo as streetwise. Tokelo’s girlfriend works for the wealthy Makhethas, who own a hotel, and he provides for her beau.
Mohola says the viewers will watch as Tokelo’s life goes through phases as he tries to survive and make a living.
“Tokelo is struggling to find a job after being fired for stealing. His desperate situation forces him to commit unlawful deeds in a bid to make money,” Mohola says.
He believes Greed and Desire is the start of bigger things to come.
“I am enjoying portraying the role and it shows that I did a great job in Ya Lla and I thank God for that.”
The charming actor also assists other actors on the Greed and Desire set to speak pure Sotho.
Mohola admits that he does get awestruck when acting alongside established stars such as Nthati Moshesh, Xoli Zondi, Linda Sebezo, Thato Molamu, Sello Sebotsane and Thami Mngqolo.
“As soon as you get to know them, you realise that these people do not behave like stars. They are humble human beings who don’t mind to show you the ropes.”
“I am a shy person by nature. It is uncomfortable when you get a huge response (from fans). Even on social network, I see girls have a lot to say about me.”
Mohola came to South Africa in 2007 to study television and stage acting at Afda School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance. He says he was inspired by actors like Sello Maake-kaNcube.
Mohola is also a rapper, and is a member of a Lesotho hip-hop group called Majic In Progress (MIP). They have an album out. – Sowetan