He may be disrupting classes and undermining school authority as Paxton Kgomo on Skeem Saam. But in real life Thabiso Molokomme is as bookish as they come.
The actor and former YoTV presenter has graduated with a diploma in operations management and shares that he earned the qualification from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) with 20 distinctions.
The initial plan, Thabiso tells Drum, was to study at UCT after matric. But he had to consider his budding media career in Joburg, having already been a YoTV presenter for quite some time.
“I wanted to go to the University of Cape Town to study politics, philosophy and economics. I was accepted because my marks in matric are very high. But my parents were, like, ‘Come to Johannesburg so that you can do this course and then we will allow you to get into the media space.’ And that’s why I came to do operations management at UJ and I did media as well on the side.”
He has plans to study further but has his eye on earning a qualification that will see him go into the world of business as an entrepreneur rather than the corporate world as an employee.
“I have plans of going back to school but not a traditional school like UJ or Wits. As much as I am smart and I am very intellectual, I don’t want to do that. So with this qualification I will be using it in my entrepreneurial journey. I am super passionate about entrepreneurship."
Thabiso is flying himself to Cape Town to celebrate graduating and turning 21 years old. This solocation is to mark his independence and follows days of celebration with his loved ones.
“On my graduation day, my family, close friends and I went out for dinner.
“I will be flying myself out to Cape Town, to celebrate my 21st birthday," he says. "I got myself independence at a young age to afford me this lifestyle that I want to live, you know, just doing things that I want to do. So what better way to celebrate my independence than flying out to Cape Town?”
He says he will be in the Mother City all alone to give himself time and space to get to know himself better.
“I would love to celebrate this part of my life alone. Being with people is so nice but we can only practise self-love by being alone and identifying things that we love and love doing.”
He is the type to turn negatives into positives and that’s how he was able to discover his love for acting and TV presenting. He says his family often teased him about being dramatic.
“I come from such a beautiful, loving, supportive family, so when I was a kid, they were, like, ‘Yoh Thabiso has drama!’ So I thought why don’t I use that and actually go to a drama school? I then pursued that and went to drama school – my mom was paying so much money so that I can go to that school.
“And then with TV presenting, I knew that I speak very well. I am a passionate speaker. In Sepedi we say, “Aowa o bolela kudu” [you talk too much] but I am a passionate speaker, I don’t talk a lot. My mentor used to tell me that you need to use your skills and monetize them, and I think one of my skills is talking very well.
“It’s crazy how presenting on YoTV came about," recalls Thabiso. "I thought I was going to do TV presenting later in life because I wanted to act. God always has a way of making things happen, so I got an audition for YoTV and I was one of the youngest people who were chosen to represent the brand YoTV."
And the rest, as they say, is history.