PE actor finds his calling

Yoliswa Sobuwa

LIFE has been a roller- coaster ride for former 7 de Laan actor Fiks Mahola of New Brighton. Some may think the 35-year-old is confused about his calling as he has pursued several career paths – at one time even showing interest in becoming a Catholic priest.

But Mahola now knows exactly what he wants to do with his life and has been working closely with Masinyusane Development, a Bay organisation which focuses on the development of young children.

He started his journey in the entertainment industry as a stand-up comedian in 1997, and left Port Elizabeth for the City of Gold the following year to pursue acting. He secured a role in children's theatre for several years and then got his big break after auditioning for a spot in popular SABC2 soapie 7 de Laan.

Mahola was cast as Simpiwe and played the character for three years. He describes Simpiwe as a lazy student who became a waiter, then a junior salesman before ending up as a marketing manager.

Mahola left the soapie and "gave away" his possessions after showing interest in studying towards the priesthood.

He left Johannesburg for Cape Town to start looking into the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood, but realised after a year that it was not for him.

Broke and practically homeless in Cape Town, he was forced to move in with his sister, Zolani, lead singer of the well-known group Freshlyground.

Now back in Port Elizabeth, Mahola is doing what he loves most – working with children. "I have always been interested in singing and acting. When 7de Laan gave me my big break, I thought that was what I wanted to do but I became tired of playing the same role. I felt I was not growing ..."

He began working with Masinyusane Development which offers mentorship to pupils from underprivileged schools. "Working with children has always been very close to my heart. I act as a bridge between parent and school. I make sure the kids are getting educated and we go to different schools in the township where we introduce them to extramural activities," he said.

Acting remains a passion and he tries to do one play or production a year. "Last year I was in a movie called Lien se Lankstaanskoene.

"It is an Afrikaans coming-of-age drama based on the acclaimed book by Derick van der Walt, and I played the role of a beggar.

"It's a good thing I did Afrikaans at school," he chuckled.