Craz-E presenter, Karabo Maseko, never allowed his past to determine his future, and now, he is one of the most adorned TV presenters.
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
Karabo Maseko might still be bubbling under as a television personality but with his untamed self-motivation his ready to expand his horizons.
The young presenter for eTV’s youth programmes, ShizLive & CrazeWordLive, startlingly encompasses a mature view of life. He occupies the room with such grandeur as if he has already conquered the world.
He shares candidly with me as we chat at Capellos, in Auckland Park: “I have a strong sense of belief. Even though my background is not fancy, I am determined to make a legacy for myself.”
The Mpumalanga-born star is not shy about the hurdles he overcame in his childhood. He reveals having to face an abusive father and being raised by a hard working mother. Though, he seems to have sewn his strings together and turned them into a shining beckon of inspiration.
He takes us through his journey from Mpumalanga to the bright lights of Johannesburg.
How would you define where you are at this point in your life?
Karabo Maseko: Fantastic! You know when you come from a place where you can never have dreams;it’s hard to break away from that mentality. Mina velengiphuma ezilalini, in Mpumalanga. We grew up kwaNdebele until I was nine and then we moved to Middleburg.
What I noticed from the people in my township, especially young people, is that they are trapped in the same mindset of just finding work in the mines. But I have always been that guy who wanted to be on TV. I feel like, right now, I am gradually getting there.
Coming from a small town, why would you think it was possible to be on TV?
Karabo Maseko: My stepping stone to television was modelling. I studied at University of Johannesburg (UJ). When I got to UJ I entered Mr Bunting and won first prize. I received a call one day that there were auditions for CrazyE and knew I had to grab that opportunity.
My sister, Tsholo Maseko, is also a presenter and she gave me valuable tips about presenting. When I arrived at the audition, I did my best and got it. That’s when I realised that to get into television without someone putting you on, you have to be very lucky. I now believe that if you are passionate about your craft and you believe in yourself, you can achieve greatness.
What would you say is your driving force?
Karabo Maseko: My mother, there is nothing else. Ngikhulenaye kuphela. She is a very kind woman. She has taught me so many values like how to be kind, to love and share. I want to work hard to give her the life she deserves.
My growing up story is not pleasant but everyone has a story. My father was quite abusive and that’s why my mother eventually left.
Many might think you had it easy because you made it at such an early age. What is your response to that?
Karabo Maseko: It’s not true. What I appreciate about being here at this point at such a young age is it teaches you so much about life. My growing up story is not pleasant but everyone has a story. My father was quite abusive and that’s why my mother eventually left. He took the house we lived in and we ended up moving around a lot. We lived quite a basic life and I did not enjoy some of the simple pleasures that other kids enjoyed while growing up.
How did that impact on you psychologically and how did you free yourself from that state of mind?
Karabo Maseko: A strong sense of belief. I have never been the one to limit myself. Even though my background is not fancy, my mother made sure we went to the best schools. Education was always a priority. I always reminded myself of where I come from, where I am at the moment and where I am going. I used to do everything from art to athletes because it was an escape from my reality. I have carried that mentality until this very day.
Do you understand now why you went through what you went through?
Karabo Maseko: You know, I have never had that much of a relationship with my father. I haven’t spoken to him in years. The only thing my mother used to tell me was that “Ungafani nobabawakho” and I know exactly what she means, because I know what kind of person he was.
I am a man of my word. I believe a man is not a man unless he keeps his word. I also learnt not let any situation stop me from reaching my full potential. I don’t need other people’s validation in order to achieve my dreams.
What I know now is that not everybody will say no, somebody will say Yes! You need to let go of the fear of someone saying No!
How have you packaged yourself, so that you are not just the “It Guy” but the “Forever Guy”?
Karabo Maseko: One thing I have learned from my studies is the value of personal branding. Know your strengths and weakness, also know what attracts people to you as person and work on that. I was recently asked what my brand is and it was such a difficult question to answer. It was more disheartening to know that people have branded me in stereotypical way, because they judge me on just my image. I understand that part but I continuously work on my self, because I don’t only want to be seen as just one thing.
What would you say has been your biggest mistake, as an entertainer?
Karabo Maseko: Not capitalising enough on my opportunities. I realise that sometimes things won’t be given to you on silver platter – you must not be afraid to ask when you want something. What I know now is that not everybody will say No! Somebody will say Yes! You need to let go of the fear of someone saying No! Because it can hold you back. I missed out on a big opportunity last year because of that but this year is going to be the year. I am done with fear.
What will you do differently this year?
Karabo Maseko: This year, I want to spend more time perfecting my crafts and that also includes music. Many people don’t know that I can sing and I used to be in an acapella group. So this year I want to go back and add some of my old elements to my brand. I will do a few songs and also try acting. I want to go back to the basics and also expand as a brand.
What would you say is your life mission?
Karabo Maseko: To do what I love and hopefully inspire one or two people. It really makes me happy that me pursuing my dream inspires someone else. But people need to know that I may be on TV but I am still a human being and, I never ever want to lose that. I never want see myself as above other people just because I am on TV.
Catch Karabo on ShizLive every Wednesday at 4pm & Craze World Live every Thursday at 4pm.