By: Mpho Shelile

In a stunning turn of events, an emerging talent in the world of acting has taken the entertainment industry by storm, making headlines across Africa and Lesotho. A young and promising actor Lehlohonolo Mayeza, whose name was virtually unknown until recently, has quickly become a household name, leaving both fans and industry professionals in awe of his meteoric rise.

Lehlohonolo Mayeza is a 32-year-old actor born in the mountains of Lesotho, Thaba Tseka Ha Tjope, and like every Mosotho boy he did his part of herding cattle for some time, but now he is an actor, a film producer and a director, an author and an editor. He stated that his journey to fame began with a breakthrough role in a critically acclaimed independent series titled ‘OUTLAWS’, catching the attention of renowned directors and casting agents. His exceptional talent, dedication, and commitment to his craft quickly set him apart from the crowd. His captivating performances and versatility in various roles have received critical acclaim and have resonated with audiences of all backgrounds.

The series that propelled Mayeza to stardom has just been released on Showmax, and it’s not just his acting skills that have garnered attention; his unique charisma, genuine passion for storytelling, and his ability to connect with his characters on a profound level have made him a favorite among audiences and critics alike. When talking about his educational background, Mayeza stated that he is an alumnus of the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, he professed that Limkokwing is a place that taught him to be more than he can be. “It gave me the strength to strive higher and reach for my goals, the drive and the passion for a brighter future filled with unlimited opportunities,” he said.

When asked whether he knew that acting was his passion, Mayeza replied that he grew up knowing that he wanted to become, an actor. But he grew up in a rural village where having a radio was a privilege so he only got to see a television in books, “I grew up thinking that there were people inside of a radio, and the elders would give us a task and bribe us by saying we would also get an opportunity to get inside the radio as well, so imagine my reaction when I saw a television for the first time. If I remember correctly it was after I obtained a form C certificate” he exclaimed, adding that he used to write scripts during his Christmas holidays so he and his fellow age mates would “act it out during Christmas day celebration.” 

“My desire to act and write drove me to call every person who could get me into acting but I failed, however that was not the end of it, I could not let that define my acting career, a short-lived one. I followed my passion until University where I made sure to study anything that related to film and acting.  In 2017 was when my journey as an actor began” he said. But we all got to see his social media following skyrocket, and he is now considered one of the most sought-after talents in the industry. Mayeza’s dedication to his work and his humility in the face of newfound fame have endeared him to fans and colleagues alike.

He gave a little narration about the series. Outlaws is the story of two families at war: the Zulu, cattle-farming Biyelas, and the Basotho, cattle-raiding Ts’eoles. Set in the lush but lawless land on the border between Lesotho and KwaZulu-Natal. South Africa’s first contemporary Western series, Outlaws was created by Tshedza Pictures’ Phathu Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon, who brought us The River, The Republic, and Adulting.

Talking about his favorite scenes in the series and what kind of challenges he has faced, Mayeza emphasized that he enjoyed every scene he had to shoot but he kind of looked forward to intimate scenes because he kind of loved the way they are shot in South Africa, and he stated that having to use a gun might have been one of the most challenging scenes but he had awesome directors to help him navigate it all. “ I had the honor of working with legends such as  Mmabatho Mogomotsi, Siyabonga Shibe, Khotso Nkhatho, Lillian Dube, and Nolwazi Shange just to mention a few”.

“One of my funniest moments when shooting a scene was a runny tummy, you know how men are, I chose to ignore it hoping it would magically go away as we drove to the location where we were to shoot a movie and trust me as we began shooting I had to run out in the middle of shooting to God knows where and ended up using a toilet of people who could not understand me fully well as I tried explaining to them why I used their toilet without seeking permission. Looking at it now not only was that funny but it was also the most embarrassing moment”, he said.   

Mayeza’s incredible journey from obscurity to stardom is a testament to the power of talent, hard work, and determination in the world of entertainment. The upcoming actor’s rapid ascent to fame serves as a source of inspiration for aspiring artists and a reminder that dreams can indeed come true in the world of cinema. As fans eagerly await the actor’s future projects, it is clear that this young talent has a promising and enduring career ahead, and their remarkable rise to stardom is sure to be the stuff of both South African and Lesotho’s legend for years to come.

“The only advice I would give to any upcoming actors and actresses out there is that everything is possible, but I know at the beginning things might not be looking up, and quitting seems like a better option. Other people will tell you that it is wise to choose a different career, especially actors from Lesotho. But every success comes with decadent obstacles that will need God and hard work to overcome, never give up on your dreams”, the rising start concluded.