23 March 2019

Zimbabwe: I Wear a Ring to Scare Off Ladies - Tsotsi

Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Lifestyle Writer

"It is true that at most functions, I wear a wedding ring which I have labelled 'tsotsi ring'. I am not married or engaged, but that ring means a lot to me. One of the key factors is that it scares girls away," he jokingly says.

His story has been told many times, but there are missing links in the tales.

Saturday Herald Lifestyle caught up with one of most wanted television stars, Zolile Makeleni, for a chat about his life and career.

He is popular for his role as Tsotsi in of local soap, "Wenera".

Walking a mile in his shoe, one needs to have a bold character. He always attracts attention on the streets and has to respond to endless greetings and cheers.

It feels like every time Tsotsi appears on screen, he is finding a new way to inspire.

His ability to work smart solutions out of tricky scenarios has made him a darling of many viewers.

But many would want to know the differences or similarities between Tsotsi and Zolile. Does the character show traits of who he is in real life?

For those who do not follow the soap, Tsotsi plays the character as a master of blackmailing, an opportunistic character in the blue house of "Wenera". Tsotsi is a young man who lives with his stepfather in a ghetto set up very doesn't have respect for anyone except himself very smart when it comes to street life always gets away with anything.

The 30-year-old actor grew up in Epworth and said his origins are from South Africa in the Xhosa tribe.

"I was born in Zambia because my father was a truck driver so he was always moving around. I am Zimbabwean by citizenship, born in a family of five and I am the second born.

"My family stays in Epworth and nothing has changed with my old friends, I am still the ghetto boy, hence my relations with the people each time I move around.

"I love to board kombis because, some will think that since you now a celebrity, you are no longer to be associated with the public. I get most of my jokes from my fans."

Tsotsi who is always sporting white-ginger tint hair also defended his style that it was not a borrowed phenomenon but that is what makes him tick.

"I think the country, has a lot celebrities, famous people and you just need to be outstanding. I decided to spot a new look the ginger hairstyle which I can say will be permanent for now."

What about the name Tsotsi? Does it have a bearing on how he behaves?

"I play my character so well and I am Tsotsi, that is now my brand. Who has never stolen something in life? (laughs) But I am not a thief don't mistake the two," he said.

Asked about the marital status, the cheerful actor-cum-director said he has a girlfriend.

"Remember I mentioned that it is hard to walk because of the attention. On social media, I get inboxes from different girls who would want to date me. By the way I am also a master of ceremonies, so I always wear a ring on the wedding finger, I call it a band. I have a steady girlfriend and very soon you will hear the wedding bells.

"I may flirt here and there with girls but just know that this one is taken. Actually it's normal though my girlfriend doesn't like it, but if I ignore people they will think I am big-headed.

Tsotsi who mostly stays in Rhodesville at Wenera Studios said was also venturing in other productions to widen his horizons.

"I am working on my new projects which include my inspirational talk show called 'Rock Bottom' and I am finishing shooting my first movie as a director called 'Makunakuna'. I do direct and have been hosting some coaching clinics, training upcoming actors," he said.

He may not be Idris Elba or Jason Momoa, but Tsotsi is one cool character one want not to miss.

In the arts industry, some may lose relevance or have waning fortunes but the secret is to keep working hard.

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