Patrick Mofokeng on being the leading man on Lingashoni and why leaving Scandal! was so emotional

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Actor Patrick Mofokeng plays the character of Mandla Cele on Lingashoni.
Actor Patrick Mofokeng plays the character of Mandla Cele on Lingashoni.

It's not an experience he's going to forget anytime soon. In fact, it rates up there as one of the highlights of his career. 

But after years on Scandal!, it's time for a fresh start. Actor Patrick Mofokeng has moved on to a new set. He's joined Lingashoni. 

“It’s refreshing, it feels exciting, a new challenge, it’s a new adventure,” he tells Drum.  

While this was what he wanted to do, it was not easy to say goodbye.

He had so much fun playing Mlungisi Ngema that he brought in a bit of his strict mother into the role which made his character even more believable to viewers. 

“Psychologically, I was ready but emotionally, I wasn’t," he says of his decision to finally bow out. 

“When I told them I was leaving the show, it was one of my hardest meetings ever," he tells us. 

“In life you build a rapport with people. They become friends and family. Then comes a time when you have to cut the umbilical cord and say listen I am taking another direction-it’s not eas.

“But I had fun. It was the longest thing I have ever done.”

Patrick was thrilled when he got the call that he landed a leading role on Mzansi Magic’s Lingashoni. 

“You realise that you are the leading man," he says, "but then it starts to dawn on you that there is a lot of work ahead when the whole story is centred around you. There is no time to rest on my laurels.” 

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His Lingashoni character, Mandla Cele, is a complicated man. For Patrick this makes bringing the character to life even more exciting. 

"He is in this dilemma with two wives he loves so dearly. They are always bickering and fighting so he is forever is on his toes. 

"Honestly, the story is amazing. My jaw always drops when I read the script. The writers have really done a great job, now it is up to us to breathe life into it."

Even though when he was a teenager Patrick didn't have too much of an idea of what the future would hold, he got an inkling when he fell in love with theatre.

"At school I played soccer, and I loved soccer – I still do. But when I started missing soccer games and training, then I knew where my heart was and I did not look back. 

"It started with acting in school plays and small theatre productions in the townships. I know for sure that those platforms should not to be taken for granted as they serve as training."

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Being a leading man on a show is a first for him but Patrick's experience in the industry has brought him to this moment.  

What made him remain consistent all these years?

"I take my work very seriously. I love what I do and I would not change it for any other thing. I respect people I work with," he says.

"As much as it is a God-given talent, talent alone isn’t enough. You need a good work ethic, people need to enjoy and want to work with you. Once you become a prima donna or a celebrity, it’s hard for people to want to work with you because they know they would be bringing a headache."

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