Warren Masemola (35)

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2018 Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans

Arts & Entertainment

Warren Masemola (35)


Actor Warren Masemola (35) can scare the hell out of you with just a cold, hard stare.

His tough looks, muscular body and rich voice have seen him play the villain in numerous films and stage plays: the gunslinger in Five Fingers for Marseilles, an armed robber in the thrilling iNumber Number and a warlord in the play When Swallows Cry, which earned him a Best Actor nomination in the Naledi Theatre Awards.|

He can sing, dance and act in five different languages, and his talent will inevitably take him to Hollywood.
That Masemola looks tough just proves what a great actor he is, because underneath he’s a really nice guy who prefers inspiring roles, where he can encourage people to think differently about those we might simply stereotype.
“I don’t believe I’m only made to play a bad guy, and it’s too much of a comfort zone to know that people love you for one dimension when I know I can stretch myself further than they [can] imagine,” he says.

His favourite role so far is as MaFred in SABC 1’s drama, Tjovitjo, which won him a Best Actor award in the South African Film and Television Awards — his third Safta so far. MaFred is a pantsula dance group leader who encourages kids to use their passion for dance to get off the streets and create a better future for themselves. “MaFred is my favourite character because he advocates love, and if we love enough we can reach out to each other and touch lives in a positive way. I want to bring [about] change in the world, and with my talent being acting, people will get to know what I stand for, and it’s all love,” he says.

Masemola grew up in Soshanguve and was a great street dancer as a kid. He studied dance at Moving into Dance and drama at the Market Theatre Laboratory. He’s performed in children’s theatre, spent three years touring Europe with choreographer Robyn Orlin, and appeared in TV shows Ses’Top La, Saints and Sinners, Scandal!, Intersexions, Ayeye and Ring of Lies.

His place in the global spotlight is looking bright, with two of his films well received at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival. One of them, The Number, will be our next chance to see him on the big screen. — Lesley Stones

Twitter: @warrenmasemola