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Israel Makoe's from convict to stardom

By Faeza
06 January 2017

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.

PAIN OF LOSING HIS SON

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.

THE WAKE-UP CALL

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.

HOW HIS DREAM STARTED

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.”