Israel Makoe’s from convict to stardom

He is known as the ultimate bad boy on our
small screens and most notably as GP on
the SABC1 drama series, Gaz’lam. Actor
Israel Makoe (42) opens up to Move!
about his journey to stardom. He says he
nearly lost his faith in his dreams because of the
challenges he came across in life. But he says an
ace up his sleeve helped him get through the
tough times.

The actor has a 14-year-old son, Benedict, who
means the world to him. But he feels incomplete
because of the huge void in his heart left by the
death of his 15-year-old son.
“In 2011, I lost my first-born son, Tebogo, to
a shooting incident. Apparently Tebogo and his
best friend were playing with a loaded gun that
belonged to the friend’s father, and the friend
accidentally shot Tebogo,” he says.
Israel recalls the untimely death of his son as
something he can’t get over or try to erase, but he
had to stay strong for Benedict’s sake.
“Sometimes I just don’t know how to deal with
the emptiness Tebogo left me with. Sometimes I
find myself contemplating getting revenge. Other
times, I blame myself for not protecting him
enough,” he says.

In 1996, Israel was sentenced to six years in
prison for car hijacking but
due to good behaviour in jail,
his sentence was reduced to
three years.
The actor says the time he
spent in prison helped put
his life into perspective. He
doubts that he would have
changed his bad ways if he had
not been charged.
“Being arrested was a
blessing in disguise. It’s
like my life needed that
sentencing for me to fully focus on my dream of
being an actor,” he says.

Israel says he started acting from an early age.
“I started acting in school plays
and church dramas at the age of
seven. My Sunday school teacher
once told me that I had what it
takes to be an actor,” he says.
“Growing up during the apartheid
era limited our opportunities
to succeed, and that’s why I
chose the life of crime. But jail
made me realise that this was
not something I could live my
life doing, so I chose the acting
career path.”