Kope Makgae is a regular on TV screen in the OLX commercials, and now with his role as Mrekza, a likeable gangster from Alexandra Township.

The role on Generations was only meant for three calls, but was extended to a full-time role – a clear indication of an impressive performance. “One thing I did was to study the character and the soapie well. I learnt that Generations was missing a funny link as Choppa had left, and that helped me in my casting,” said Makgae.

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“Generations is the South African dream for all aspiring actors. We grew up watching the show and dreamt of being on it. The biggest con I’ve ever pulled was getting paid to be me,” he shares.

Makgae has featured on Inkaba, Zone 14, Rhythm City and Ashes to Ashes.

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He has a natural comedic flair, and this has endeared him to fans.

“I’m a happy guy, I choose happiness as an emotion over everything. I am witty and have natural comedic timing, and have been told that I am a funny guy.”

Makgae schools me on comedic timing. “It’s the ability to say funny things at the right time and with the right audience. We could be running late for a funeral and you say, ‘we’re already late’, and I’ll retort by saying, ‘I mean it’s fine, it’s not like the person will wake up anyway’, that being said to my peers can be funny but not so to an elderly person.”

Makgae admits that comedy can be used as a mask for emotional pain, and says he uses it to diffuse tense situations.

He also has an amazing singing voice, and is a gifted wordsmith, choosing to express his talent through hip-hop. He’s known as Twyza in those circles.

He has released a song about a female lover gone stray, Lalela La.

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The enterprising Makgae also has an online TV channel, Lalela TV, which he says serves as a platform for the youth, focusing on finances, relationships and social dynamics. “The name came from my cousin and I making fun of how Zulus always say lalela (listen), then it grew to what it is now,” says Makgae.

Never one to fold his arms, Makgae also runs Hip Hope, an education foundation for children, and he hopes to stage a fundraiser in April for a science educational room at one of the charity homes he supports.

“I always aim to raise the Limpopo (where he was born) flag high and want to be the poster child for my province. Like it or not, I will always showcase Limpopo.”