I was introduced to acting at school. One of the subjects we did was religion. During that class, I’d do skits and play characters from the Bible. I realised that people enjoyed watching me and that I thoroughly enjoyed being on stage. I have not stopped since. I started attending drama classes at the North West Arts Council, now known as The Mmabana Arts Culture and Sports Foundation. I started attending classes there from 1996, and landed my first job in 1998. That place has produced a lot of actors and musicians from Mahikeng, which is where I hail from.
People from Mahikeng make our hometown really special. No matter what was going on around me, be it crime or any other social ill, the community made me feel safe. I could play soccer at a friend’s home and the family would look after me, and attend to me as one of their own. I still keep in touch with my people from back home. My friends and my parents are still there, so I make an effort to visit often.
When the cameras stop rolling, I become a friend and a colleague. I’d like to think of myself as very easy-going, approachable and friendly — I am that bubbly guy on set. Cracking jokes and being the life of any gathering is second nature to me.
Life after Tsotsiwas interesting. It’s every actor’s dream to attend the Oscars. Travelling to Hollywood and winning an Oscar changed my life. I never imagined myself starring in a movie that earned as many prestigious awards as Tsotsi did, and travelling the world.