Abdul Khoza gives us an insight into his acting career, his 2017 and future goals.
By: Sihle Masuku
Main photo by: Otsile Moloto
Dressed by: Edgarsfashion and Topman
In 2011 Abdul emerged as the winner of the “Amstel Class Act Season 2″, at the age of 24 and since then the Durban born actor has been growing in strides. He now plays one of the most loved and hated characters, Qaphela, on the hit local drama series, Isibaya. But Abdul shares that he finds excitement in portraying different characters, everyday.
“I didn’t go into acting so I can just be another actor. I even said on “Class Act” that I want to be the most memorable actor, hence I always want to challenge myself.
“The challenge that comes with the opportunity of having to create a new character, that’s what excites me and that’s why I choose acting, every day,” he explains.
We spoke to Abdul and it seems like he had an exciting 2017, but the actor reveals that there is more to come.
Blacklight: How would you rate this year?
Abdul: I had a few goals this year and for some I would say I am putting into action. There is already a movement regarding those plans and then some we will have to carry over to the next year. But each year there needs to be some form of growth that you must try and achieve. I am also focusing mostly on my music, throughout the festive season.
As an actor, how do you personally measure success?
Abdul: Because our work is in the public, every time someone compliments my role then for me that is already success. It can be one person in the whole world that says “You did a great job on that role” and that to me is success.
Blacklight: You burst into the scene after winning “Class Act”. What led you to enter the competition?
Abdul: Class Act was more of a calling for me because I was still a fireman and we had just come back from an incident and this ad came on TV and it was “Class Act”. It was the 10th when I saw it and the auditions for Durban were on 11th. The following day I decided to go and audition and let’s just say ‘the road continues’.
Blacklight: You were in the army and you were also a fireman, what did those experiences teach you about yourself and how do they reveal themselves in your acting?
Abdul: They taught me that I am very fit and also very brave. I have a lot of discipline that came with being part of the army and the fire service. Something I use in my acting today, is the ability to perform my own stunts because I can focus under pressure – there is a lot of pressure on a film set and you still have to perform at your utmost best.
Blacklight: It’s known that a solid acting career in South Africa is hard to attain. What are some of the things you wish you knew before winning “Class Act” that you know now?
Abdul: I wish I had known that to get credit from a bank, as an artist, is really hard – whether it’s car finance or a bond. Although now there are means which one can go around, I wish I had known that earlier. Also the time that you are taken away from your family can be a lot because there can be many days or weeks that pass without you seeing your loved ones because the craft takes you all over the place. Those you hold dear or loved ones have to suffer, at times. I wish I had known that because I left the army to be a fireman so that I can be home but acting has taken me away from home, again.
Blacklight: You have been labelled a “versatile actor”. You have moved from playing a gay man to now a villain. What draws you to your characters and what’s your intention with every role?
Abdul: In regards to playing a gay character, I wanted to shock the world and also try to challenge myself. I didn’t go into acting so I can be just another actor. I even said on “Class Act” that I wanted to be the most memorable actor , hence I wanted to challenge myself with something I had never experienced in my life. It was quite a challenge because I literally had to play two roles. It’s a guy who lives a double life because he wants to hide who he is from the world. With Qaphela I get to be dark and I am enjoying the colours that I get to paint with this character, as well. It’s always a challenge but I love to be challenged, even physically that’s how I keep fit otherwise training would get boring. So challenging is always the option for me.
Blacklight: You have been quoted as saying you are nothing like your character “Qaphela”, who many love to hate. Where do you draw from when portraying a character that is so different from you?
Abdul: In life you don’t need to have gone through an experience to know what it’s like. You can get a sense from someone telling you their story about an experience they went through, from seeing or growing up in the township. If you grew up in the township there is no way you have never witnessed or experienced a mugging, or seeing someone pulling out a gun or shooting a gun. I am not saying that’s the life we live in the township but it happens around us, no matter which surroundings you are in, you will get to see that life happening around you. It’s much easier as an actor to be in the moment and to just tell the truth because it becomes more powerful and reaches people deeper than it would if you had not taken yourself to a place where it comes from, which is a real and truthful place.
Blacklight: You and your brother “Sthembiso “SK” Khoza are both on the hot television shows, currently. What is it like to have a sibling in the same in industry and is there some sort of sibling competition?
Abdul: We have done everything together but we never dreamt that we would end up in the same career, as adults. But we have always done things together as kids and we have always been supportive of one another. Even when we were doing martial arts, he would support my fights and I would support his. I supported him when he broke into the industry, as a presenter, and now he’s evolved into an actor, and I am proud of him. It’s very exciting for me to watch my show and then his show follows right after. There is no rivalry or competition because we always knew from an early age that we will always be different. We are not twins and we have different personalities hence we have always found ways to celebrate each other. I would say we balance each other out. He knows my weaknesses and he balances them out. We are a good team.
Blacklight: Going forward, what is the bigger vision for Abdul?
Abdul: Going forward the bigger vision for me would be having the opportunity to direct. I would really like to direct because I am a writer, as well. I would love to direct one of my projects because I really have a good eye when it comes to storytelling. I would also love to see my music reach the masses because I am making it with the purpose to inspire the youth and to touch those souls that need to be touched. There are many but those are that main two that stand out at the moment.