Archives: Q&A with Karabo Maseko

Karabo Maseko might still be bubbling under as a television personality, but with his untamed spirit and infectious passion, he is fast becoming one of the faces to watch on local TV. The Generations Actor   surprisingly flaunts a mature view of life, despite his troubled childhood. He speaks with such grandeur, as if he has already conquered the world.

“I have a strong sense of belief. Even though my background is not fancy, I am determined to make a name for myself,” he says during his chat a famous publication.

The Mpumalanga-born and bred rising star is not shy about the hurdles he overcame in his childhood, in fact, he wears them like badges of honour. He grew up with an abusive father and was raised by a hard working single mother. However, he managed to turn the scarring experience into a positive.

 How would you define where you are at this point in your life?

Karabo Maseko: Right now, I am at a great place in my life. You know when you come from a place that it did not allow you to have dreams, it’s hard to break away from that mentality. Mina vele ngiphuma ezilalini (I come from a rural area) in Mpumalanga. We grew up kwaNdebele, until I was nine and then we moved to Middleburg.

What I noticed with people in my township, especially young people, is that that they are trapped in the same mindset of just finding work in the mines. But I have always been that guy who wanted to be an entertainer, on TV. I feel like, right now, I am gradually getting there.

Coming from a small town, what made you believe it was possible to break into TV?

My stepping stone to television was modelling. I studied at University of Johannesburg (UJ). When I got to UJ, I entered Mr Bunting and I won first prize. One day, I received a call informing that there were auditions to be held for CrazyE, I knew I had to grab the opportunity with both hands.

My sister, Tsholofelo Maseko, is also a TV presenter, and before the audition, she shared valuable tips about presenting with me. When I arrived at the audition, I did my best and I got it.

Now, I believe that if you are passionate about your craft and you believe in yourself, you can achieve absolutely anything.

What would you say is your driving force?

 My mother. There is no one else but her. She is a very kind woman, and she has taught me so many values, like how to be kind, to love and to share. As result, I want to work hard to give her the life she deserves.My growing up story is not pleasant, but everyone has a story – I am not special.

Many might think you had it easy because you made it at such an early age. What is your response to that?

 I would tell them that statement is not true. I worked hard, and I had to overcome a lot to be where I now. What I also appreciate about being here at such a young age is it that it teaches me so much about myself, and about life. My growing up story is not pleasant, but everyone has a story – I am not special.

My father was quite abusive and my mother had to eventually leave him. He took the house we lived in and we ended up moving around a lot. As a result, we lived quite a modest life, and I did not enjoy some of the simple pleasures that other kids enjoyed.

How did that impact you, and how were you able to break free?

 I had a strong sense of belief. I have never been one to limit myself. Even though my background is not fancy, my mother made sure we had everything we needed. She worked had so we could go to the best schools, because education was always a priority in our household.

I always reminded myself of where I came from, where I was at the moment, and where I wanted to be. My dreams sort of became my escape. I used to do everything from art to athletics because I was always searching for the great escape. I have been able to carry that same mentality up to now.


Do you understand now why you went through what you went through?

 You know, I have never had that much of a relationship with my father. I have not spoken to him in years. The only thing my mother used to tell me was that, “Ungafani nobabawakho (Don’t be like your father), and I know exactly what she means, because I know what kind of person he was.

I have grown up to be quite an honourable man. I am a man of my word. I believe a man is not a man unless he keeps his word. I also learnt not let any situation stop me from reaching my full potential. I do not need other people’s validation in order to achieve my dreams.

How have you packaged yourself, so that you are not just the “It Guy” but the “Forever Guy”?

One thing I have learned through my studies is the value of personal branding. As a person, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses. You must also know what attracts people to you as person and work on amplifying that.

I was recently asked what my brand stands for and it was such a difficult question to answer. But, it was even more disheartening to know that people had branded me a certain way, solely based on the image that I project. However, my job is to continuously work on my self, become better a person and not to be one dimensional.

What would you say has been your biggest mistake, as an entertainer?

 Not capitalising enough on my opportunities. I realise that sometimes things won’t be given to you on silver platter and you must not be afraid to ask when you want something. What I know now is that not everybody will say no. Somebody will say yes. We just need to let go of the fear of getting a no, because it can us hold back. I missed out on a big opportunity, because of fear, but now I am done with fear.                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 These days, Karabo cannot conceal his elation about his  role on Generations: The Legacy (SABC 1). But who can blame him; the young man was deep in the threshold of uncertainty after eTV dumped all youth content under Craz-e, in 2019.

“Ngijabul’ukufa (I am so happy I could die),” he tells another publication.

“We all grew up on Generations, and most actors have dreamt of being on the show. So, this is quite an honour for me.”

The star made his debut on the popular prime-time soapie on 15 May, as the charismatic Luyolo the Rastafarian yummy doctor. 

“While preparing for the character, I dug deep into the Rastafari lifestyle. In the process I learned to love and respect the religion because I was able to get the ethos of the culture,” he explains.

“Luyolo is a well-travelled guy, and through his travels, he came across Rastafari and decided to adopt the religion. Him being a doctor, he kinda demystifies and debunks the notion of western medicine being the only method of healing. 

“He is just a sunshine and rainbows kind of guy.”

Karabo cut his teeth as an actor on eTV‘s drama, Isipho: The Gift, which was abruptly canned last year in December. 

The young star says he was left distraught by the sudden ending of the show. “After Isipho ended I went back to my home in Middleburg, Mpumalanga,” he reveals.”I was in the process of moving the rest of my stuff to Mpumalanga when I got the Generations role. So I was able to move back to Johannesburg.

It’s always tough having to go back home, especially when you were on TV. I am from a small town, and when you come back everybody knows. Just thinking about the chattering (behind your back) in your community can be demotivating. At first, I thought it was not going to be for long. I thought I would use the time to reflect, reconnect and re-energise, but when it seemed to last longer than I anticipated, I started getting a little depressed.


I retreated to myself. I could not go outside for weeks on end because I was avoiding crossing paths with some people I grew up with, who now chill by the corners. In such situations, you fear that you will also end up chilling by the corner with nothing to do, and that’s what some people also expect. 

Luckily, I got the role on Isipho, moved back to Jo’burg, but that also ended so abruptly. I went back home again because I could not finance myself. I have a single mother who has worked hard all her life and I never wanted to trouble her by constantly asking for money, so I opted to go home until I could get back on my feet. 

I can respect people who decide to stay in the city and stick it out, but I care about my credit score. I am still planning to have a great future, so I am not going to compromise my credit score, or stress myself while I have a home.

 How did your mother react to you coming back home?

K: Every parent wants their child to be successful in whatever they are doing. However, a majority of black parents want their children to have security – and that means pursuing careers like being a doctor, lawyer, teacher etc. They want stability and a proper structure.

My mother is very real with me, but she also reminds me that if things are not working out that I have a home and a family that loves me no matter what. 

As people, we tend to dwell too much on negativity than on people who love and appreciate us.

What did you uncover about yourself, during that period of being home?

 It taught me resilience and patience. Before, I was not patient; I always wanted things to happen now. I don’t like uncertainty, but when everything gets quiet you have to constantly remind yourself that everything will be alright. I never had to do that before.

 How do you deal with criticism in this age of social media?

 I believe there is always more love than there is hate. There might be one or two negative people, but usually, it’s a lot of love. As people, we tend to dwell too much on negativity than on people who love and appreciate us. I also believe that the best way to learn and be better is by doing, and if you get criticism, it needs to be criticism that builds you, otherwise just keep on moving.

What is your motivation?

My future motivates me. When all is said and done, I want to leave a name and a legacy for myself. I want to be remembered. I want to build an empire, and eventually, I want to be a household name, locally and internationally. I want to show my family; my mom that she made the right choice by supporting me – ngifuna aphile soft (I want her to live more comfortably).

Karabo loves playing Luyolo on Generations: The Legacy’

My friends also motivate me. When you are surrounded by people who are progressing in life, you are forced to also do better with your life. It’s not even envying; it’s just seeing your peers doing great and being motivated to step up as well. 

What do you think makes you so special?

 I am always willing to learn, and everyone I have worked with can attest to that. Whenever I get constructive criticism, I lap it up and soak it in. I don’t make the same mistake twice – I always do better. I love being good at something and winning. I grew up as an athlete, so that drive is still embedded in me. I want to keep getting better and better.

What advice would you give to people who are currently in a place of uncertainty?

We live in a time of great uncertainty and it’s hard to just ‘live’, let alone tackle the root of our uncertainty. There is also social media depression. I never thought we would live in such a time where there is something such as social media depression. 

You go on your phone and you see people living their best lives, forgetting that everything is filtered. People don’t live the way they present themselves on social media, that is why I don’t allow social media to define me. I like what it does for my work, but I am also able to switch off completely.

The best thing one can do in moments of uncertainty is to reflect. Remind yourself where you come from, how far you have come, and why you are doing whatever you are doing – that will make you certain about what comes next. Reflection and introspection are key, because they help you see all sides to every situation. 


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