When you have a 12-letter name and, at the age of 11, you still can’t spell it properly, you probably dislike school. This was actor Letlhogonolo Saint Seseli’s experience.
It wasn’t easy but things changed when he discovered drama lessons at school. Saint (46) finally found his calling and Tuesdays and Thursdays at school were never the same again. The father of two now plays the role of Pastor Rametsi in e.tv’s Isipho: The Gift – a role that has made him reflect on his parenting skills and how he was raised.
The actor, the lastborn who has two sisters and a brother, has always been the centre of attention as the youngest in the family. Now he takes care of his 83-year-old mother in Rockville, Soweto. “I have always been a mommy’s boy,” he says.
“I now live with my mom. I enjoy it and she loves it too. “My siblings have all moved out and my dad passed away a decade ago. I just couldn’t let her live on her own,” explains the former Ashes to Ashes actor.
Saint’s character in Isipho has only his own interests at heart. Pastor Rametsi is married and has a teenage son, Neo. The young man has a gift of healing and praying for the congregants. A problem arises between father and son, and Neo then decides he no longer wants to be part of the church. This is a problem for Rametsi because he fears the congregation will realise who, between him and his son, has a true gift to heal and bless. Saint says this reminds him of when he wanted to study arts back in his day, but his father would not let him.
“My father encouraged me to rather study something else so when acting didn’t work out I had something to fall back on. I was upset at the time but today I realise he had my best interest at heart,” explains the former Ikhaya actor. Saint studied marketing and went as far as becoming a senior marketing manager for a big company before deciding to pursue his first love, acting, full-time. His character thinks he is making the best decision for his son, but he is actually just looking out for himself. Rametsi fears losing the church and the congregation so he wants to keep his child in the church. This is something Saint does not approve of.
“Sometimes I have to say ‘no!’ to my children. But I also let them make certain decisions on their own,” he says. “My eldest daughter, Naledi (19), is studying at Afda and wants to get into the arts. I know the industry and wouldn’t advise her to but that’s a decision only she can make,” the proud dad says. Only time will tell what his youngest, Rorisang (13), will venture into when she’s older.
He was only in Standard 7 (Grade 9) when he first discovered acting as his first love and scored his first gig. “I’ve always hated school. When I discovered drama in school I finally found my reason for existing.
I looked forward to Tuesdays and Thursdays because of the drama classes,” he says. The actor, who believes in developing himself, is now expanding his skills. He is one of Isipho’s writers and is also trying his hand at directing and producing.