Craz-E presenter, Karabo “Kayda” Maseko (21), never allowed his past to determine his future, and now, he is one of the most adorned young TV personalities in South Africa .
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
Karabo Maseko might still be bubbling under as a television personality, but with his untamed spirit and infectious passion, he is fast becoming one of the faces to watch on local TV.
The young presenter for eTV‘s youth programmes, ShizLive & CrazeWordLive, surprisingly flaunts a mature view of life, despite his troubled childhood. He speaks with such grandeur, as if he has already conquered the world.
“I have a strong sense of belief. Even though my background is not fancy, I am determined to make a name for myself,” he says during his chat with Blacklight, at Capellos, in Auckland Park.
The Mpumalanga-born and bred rising star is not shy about the hurdles he overcame in his childhood, in fact, he wears them like badges of honour.
He reveals that he grew up with an abusive father and was raised by a hard working single mother. However, he managed to turn the scarring experience into a positive.
He takes us through his journey from Mpumalanga to the bright lights of Johannesburg.
Blacklight: How would you define where you are at this point in your life?
Karabo Maseko: Right now, I am at a great place in my life. You know when you come from a place that it did not allow you to have dreams, it’s hard to break away from that mentality. Mina vele ngiphuma ezilalini (I come from a rural area) in Mpumalanga. We grew up kwaNdebele, until I was nine and then we moved to Middleburg.
What I noticed with people in my township, especially young people, is that 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 an entertainer, on TV. I feel like, right now, I am gradually getting there.
BL: Coming from a small town, what made you believe it was possible to break into TV?
KM: My stepping stone to television was modelling. I studied at University of Johannesburg (UJ). When I got to UJ, I entered Mr Bunting and I won first prize. One day, I received a call informing that there were auditions to be held for CrazyE, I knew I had to grab the opportunity with both hands.
My sister, Tsholofelo Maseko, is also a TV presenter, and before the audition, she shared valuable tips about presenting with me. When I arrived at the audition, I did my best and I got it.
Now, I believe that if you are passionate about your craft and you believe in yourself, you can achieve absolutely anything.
BL: What would you say is your driving force?
KM: My mother. There is no one else but her. She is a very kind woman, and she has taught me so many values, like how to be kind, to love and to share. As result, I want to work hard to give her the life she deserves.
My growing up story is not pleasant, but everyone has a story – I am not special.
BL: Many might think you had it easy because you made it at such an early age. What is your response to that?
KM: I would tell them that statement is not true. I worked hard, and I had to overcome a lot to be where I now. What I also appreciate about being here at such a young age is it that it teaches me so much about myself, and about life. My growing up story is not pleasant, but everyone has a story – I am not special.
My father was quite abusive and my mother had to eventually leave him. He took the house we lived in and we ended up moving around a lot. As a result, we lived quite a modest life, and I did not enjoy some of the simple pleasures that other kids enjoyed.
BL: How did that impact you, and how were you able to break free?
KM: I had a strong sense of belief. I have never been one to limit myself. Even though my background is not fancy, my mother made sure we had everything we needed. She worked had so we could go to the best schools, because education was always a priority in our household.
I always reminded myself of where I came from, where I was at the moment, and where I wanted to be. My dreams sort of became my escape. I used to do everything from art to athletics because I was always searching for the great escape. I have been able to carry that same mentality up to now.
BL: Do you understand now why you went through what you went through?
KM: You know, I have never had that much of a relationship with my father. I have not spoken to him in years. The only thing my mother used to tell me was that, “Ungafani nobabawakho (Don’t be like your father), and I know exactly what she means, because I know what kind of person he was.
I have grown up to be quite an honourable man. 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 do not need other people’s validation in order to achieve my dreams.
BL:How have you packaged yourself, so that you are not just the “It Guy” but the “Forever Guy”?
KM: One thing I have learned through my studies is the value of personal branding. As a person, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses. You must also know what attracts people to you as person and work on amplifying that.
I was recently asked what my brand stands for and it was such a difficult question to answer. But, it was even more disheartening to know that people had branded me a certain way, solely based on the image that I project. However, my job is to continuously work on my self, become better a person and not to be one dimensional.
BL:What would you say has been your biggest mistake, as an entertainer?
KM: Not capitalising enough on my opportunities.
I realise that sometimes things won’t be given to you on silver platter and 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. We just need to let go of the fear of getting a no, because it can us hold back.
I missed out on a big opportunity, because of fear, but now I am done with fear.
BL:What do you plan on doing differently this year, so you can achieve all of your goals?
KM: 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 incorporate some of my old elements into my brand. I also want to venture into acting. This year its all about going back to the basics and also expanding my brand.
BL: What would you say is your life mission?
KM: To do what I love and hopefully inspire one or two people. It really makes me happy that pursuing my dream inspires someone else to do the same.
However, people need to know that even though I am on TV , I am still a human being, and I never ever want to lose that. I am not above other people, I am simply blessed.
Catch Karabo on ShizLive every Wednesday at 16h00, and on Craze World Live every Thursday at 16h00.