He was known for his antics on The River. If he wasn't doing illegal things with his aunt Lindiwe, he was living through messy relationships.
And then he got arrested and fans have been wondering where their favourite Zolani Dlamini is going to show up next?
TV personality, award-winning actor and TV host Lawrence Maleka is getting ready for season three of Big Brother Mzansi, which he will be presenting.
He's put in his time in the industry. He got a taste of fame when he was picked to present Soweto TV's The Gadget Show, which was followed by his success on several other shows, including All Access Mzansi.
But his breakthrough came when he replaced Bonang Matheba as the host of South Africa’s version of Clash of the Choirs.
The 31-year-old entertainer had taken some time off from hosting TV shows and feels that now is the right time to come back to it.
"It so happened that my schedule did free up. I have always been a fan of our industry, in whatever shape or form. I have been a fan of the SAMA's, I have been a fan of Big Brother, and having been involved, and having worked behind the scenes when I started out in the industry, I was just taken aback by this machine and the number of really talented people that work behind the scenes that nobody gets to see," he tells Drum.
"The process for me is always better than the outcome because you can always predict the outcome but the process of people coming in with one common goal to make the best television ever, that's what I am in love with, so when the opportunity came I jumped at it," shares an excited Lawrence.
He adds that the recipe to his success is how he approaches all shows that he does; with the same level of respect, consistency, and performance.
"I am always trying to learn at every point so when I get an opportunity to work with some of the best people in the industry or people that I admire, I'm always going to jump on it for that's what makes every show that I have been on in my perspective successful."
Lawrence is a self-taught entertainer. When he joined the Golden Horn award-winning telenovela The River, Lawrence remembers telling veteran actor and co-star Hlomla Dandala, who plays his uncle-in-law, that he is going to put in the work.
Since then, he has won a Golden Horn Award for Best Supporting Actor - Telenovela and scored himself several nominations and a loyal fan base.
Lawrence's character, Zolani exited the show after he was sentenced to prison for the murder of Zithulele Duze, played by Makhaola Ndebele. Now, the question on everyone's lips is when is he returning?
"Everyone will just have to tune in, The River has an incredible cast, writers, and whatever the outcome is, I don't think they would be dropping the ball in entertaining people and giving people value for money. Whether or not I am there, I am not the show, the show will go on," Lawrence says.
"It's been an incredible journey being in the show, it's been fantastic, I have loved every minute of it. I got to work with some of the best artists we have and I got to learn from them. For me it's been invaluable, I will always carry that with me and I appreciate it so much," Lawrence shares.
Although 2021 did not start on a good note due to the pandemic and the entertainment industry taking a huge knock, Lawrence says "It was a big wake-up call in the entertainment industry, seeing what value do we provide to people in our industry. Personally, as artists we found ourselves in a space where we got to see what happens when there are no gigs. Many things came to play; savings, living in accordance with what your lifestyle actually is," he reflects.
But 2022 for him is starting on a positive note and he has his team to thank, he says. "In 2022 we are more aware and optimistic as well."
When asked what projects will he be jumping on this year, the star says, "I’ve never really been one for announcements, I’ve always let the work speak for itself self and I think it’s having a great conversation."
The new season 3 of Big Brother Mzansi will premiere on 23 January on DStv Channel 161 Mzansi Magic and the 24-hour broadcast channel 198.
Lawrence says viewers can expect a lot!
"So far the only new additions would be the production house, contestants and myself but we all know the show never disappoints."