He acted in the popular television drama series Yizo Yizo, which used fear tactics as a method to teach young people about different topics, including teenage pregnancy, sex work, abuse, HIV/AIDS, and alcohol and drug addiction.
The award-winning show was a fan favourite and had one of the highest ratings, often used at schools to educate the youth.
Former child star, actor, and musician Innocent Masuku played the character of high school drug addict Bobo on Yizo Yizo and was one of the most loved actors in Mzansi at the time.
Speaking on the effects of drug use and bad choices, as part of the EFF Youth Month campaign, Innocent reflected on his own mistakes as a young star and how his addiction affected him off-screen and ruined his acting career.
“When I got into the acting industry, I was involved in drugs,” he says.
While he played the role of a drug addict on screen, he also struggled with his own demons off-screen that pushed him to drugs.
“I regret it because I lost so many opportunities, you understand. I lost so many friends and good things and even if I regret it, I can never reverse time and be able to regain that time. It feels bad. Deep down, I still regret it even today. But I am one of the lucky few to have survived.”
Bobo on Yizo Yizo was not his first role as a drug addict. He also played the aspiring musician Baksteen Lerole on the SABC drama, Tshisa who got roped into drugs while climbing the music industry ladder.
Like many who fell into the trap of drugs, it was difficult to come out.
“The first few years when I tried to quit drugs with all my heart, I had so many problems and lost out on so many opportunities,” he says.
“There are many things I could be counting and could have done. But you know what in life, there is always a second chance.”
He advised young people to be careful of the choices they make.
“Be careful of the choices you make. It’s amazing how time flies. Sometimes, the choices you make can cost you many opportunities,” he says.
He has since forgiven himself for the bad mistakes and made a change.
“You cannot throw people away. Let’s get together. If you have a problem, come forward, and let’s help each other. You can go to rehab, but it won’t help if you are not ready fully. I know change is pain, but it starts with you. I did things, I was a good role model and people were looking up to me. I was a big role model, but I failed people and did things they were not expecting. But I decided to forgive myself.
Other celebrities who have come forward to share their stories of drug addiction and recovery include Vusi Nova who has been clean for almost nine years and has been using music as therapy. Kabelo Mabalane who has been clean from drugs for almost 20 years became a pastor and once shared in an interview that in the music business, people often use drugs while trying to deal with their issues.
“That happens across all industries. When I cleaned up and went to rehab in 2002, I wanted to prove to myself that I can create outside of addiction. And I did, my biggest selling solo album I did clean and sober," he said.
“There is no solution to unemployment in alcohol, there is no solution to poverty in drugs, you’re worsening your situation” -CIC @Julius_S_Malema— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) June 15, 2022
Bobo advices the Youth to be careful of the friends they keep and the choices they because it affects their lives#EFFJune16 pic.twitter.com/3ysPWGXcnH