How starting a family made Kope Makgae a better man
Kope Makgae with his twins Zoyl and Zoey. (Photo: Dino Codevilla)
Johannesburg - He’s a familiar face on TV, whether he’s trying to convince a single man to sell his double bed on OLX or getting up to crazy antics on Generations: The Legacy.
And as his fans will tell you, he’s a barrel of laughs all the way.
But Kope Makgae is taking his latest role very seriously: that of father to sevenmonth-old twins Zoyl and Zoey. Kope (32) – or Tswyza to his fans – is engaged to “the most understanding fiancée”, Mpotseng, and is relishing every moment of fatherhood he tells DRUM.
We meet the actor, rapper, comedian and businessman – and his twins – at a guesthouse in Melville, where he tells us all about his work, being a dad, leaving his playboy ways and finding love.
Life has taken on new meaning since the twins were born, he says. He’s come to appreciate the joy of his babies’ first smiles, the pleasure of sleeping through the night and the reward of caring for two tiny human beings.
“I’m still learning to change nappies though, but everything else I can do,” he says. And by his side on this new journey is Mpotseng, who he’s been with for three years. Before that he was a heartbreaker of note, he admits.
ON FINDING LOVE
The lovebirds met through mutual friends a few years earlier but she didn’t really like him at first.
“She never took me seriously because she thought I was just a funny guy,” he says.
They went their separate ways but reunited a little while later on social media after she started liking his posts.
“At the time I wasn’t a fan of dating as I was too busy trying to make money,” Kope admits.
“Relationships seemed like too much of an effort. But when she liked my pictures I saw a gap and I went for her again.”
He wasn’t looking for anything serious as he’d “given up on love” after a former girlfriend cheated on him, but once he and Mpotseng started dating he soon changed his mind.
ON BECOMING PARENTS
“Three years later, here we are with beautiful twins.”
It was the twins’ birth that made him realise he wanted to be with Mpotseng for the rest of his life. He proposed on the day they were born.
“I knew I had to make her my wife. It was such a special moment for me. “I proposed in front of her mother – I just rolled the dice and went with it.”
Fatherhood might be his number-one job but work remains a big part of Kope’s life. He’s always known he was meant to be an entertainer and a businessman, he tells DRUM.
ON HIS CAREER
He’s been a hustler all his life, having started out selling kota sandwiches to his high-school friends in Lebowakgomo in Polokwane before graduating to supplying pens and pencils to various schools across Limpopo.
Then he turned to catering and even started making curtains for old-age homes. In short, he basically “sold anything I could get my hands on to make money” to allow him to break into the entertainment industry.
With his spoils he managed to graduate with a BA in media and communications from the University of Limpopo, then joined a modelling and acting agency.
Soon he was a regular face on adverts.
“I was birthed from adverts,” he says. “I was told I had good comic timing – I could make anyone laugh and adverts gave me that platform.” TV roles followed soon afterwards, including a short stint on Isidingo as Georgie Zamdela’s henchman Thapelo and as a priest on Ashes to Ashes. But it’s his current role as Mrekza on Generations: The Legacy that’s giving him joy right now.
He plays the street-smart hustler boyfriend of Lucy Diale (Manaka Ranaka) – a role that didn’t need much preparation.
“The biggest stunt I’ve pulled in my life is being paid to play myself,” he quips. “I have so much in common with Mrekza and I resonate with the typical Kasi guy, a guy who tries everything and makes things happen. I am my character!”
He wakes up every morning looking forward to going to work. “I’ve been given the creative freedom to speak how I speak, adding lingo and terminology to make my character relatable and loveable.” He also connects well with his co-star. “Manaka is like a big sister to me – there’s so much chemistry on and off set. We’re normal people, not celebrities, and we learn so much from each other. There’s always fun. Even in a dull moment we squeeze out fun.
ON HIS FAMILY
Kope credits his parents, mom Kintsi and his late dad Barry Makgae, for the person he is. His wit comes from his father and his business sense from his mother.
“My mom is a businesswoman. She’s the person I always look up to because she’s a tough cookie. She’s so ambitious and inspired my hustle.” His father was a traffic and licensing officer with comedic flair.
“He gave me my creative smarts – he could be funny with a straight face.”
Through his father, he learnt to find humour in every situation, “even in the most awkward times”. “It takes a lot to make me sad. “I have a contained crazy that I filter through the medium of acting and comedy.”
He’s also learnt the value of family from his parents and loves nothing more than spending time at home with his fiancée and kids when he’s not pushing his hustle. He can’t stop talking about his wife-to -be.
“I never knew I could love like this and basking in the love has made me a better person, a better businessman, actor and man. “She’s very understanding. My woman is very responsible. She has layers, she’s straightforward and respectable, she’s young and hardworking and she also challenges me and appreciates the value of time, money and work.”
With his fiancée by his side and his twins in his arms, he hopes to achieve even more in life.
Kope owns a non-profit organisation called Hip Hope where he uses music to inspire young children. He’s going to use art to change lives and inspire other dreamers, he promises. And maybe teach them a streetwise trick or two along the way as well.