Lesley Khoza stars in a one of its kind telenovela series Giyani: Land of blood. Lesley’s charismatic persona allows him to rise above all odds and breaks barriers in season 2 as he brings his best foot forward. He is proud that he sees how he has evolved from season 1 to season 2 and is eager to keep evolving with each season as he masters the detective character.
“It’s not always glitz and glam as perceived” Lesley says. In his early years he found himself yearning for an opportunity to dazzle South Africa’s television screens. However not everyone had an opportunity to be groomed to excellence. Khoza is from a family of 5, he has 1 sister and 3 brothers. He pushed boundaries because he wanted the best for his family.
Lesley grew up on the loud streets of Diepkloof in Soweto, in a community that is fast paced and infested with drugs. Luckily he was able to stay out of trouble. “I was an athlete throughout my primary and high school days. I took the sport so serious that I persuaded it even after high school” he says. Even in his early years passion and dedication showed up.
Khoza has always found a way to escape towards his passion of acting. “ I was not like other kids that got an opportunity to attend an institution to help master my acting, instead over the years building up to my big break in Giyani: Land of blood my only method to get ahead was through workshops and networking” he expresses. Lesley almost missed his opportunity to be part of the family of the telenovela when he found out about it just days before the audition held in Polokwane. At that time he was unemployed and had no means to make it to Polokwane from Johannesburg. However when destiny comes around and finds you ready to shine, God will take you to places unimagined; which was the case for Lesley.
“Shortly after I landed my first role in acting in 2019, I lost my mom the same year. I wanted to make my mother proud and wanted to afford her a better and improved life” Lesley says. Khoza struggled with the loss of his mother as expected but what’s amazing about the lad is that from his pain of grieving he was able to push himself to even greater heights. “I remember thinking this was all for my mom but now she is gone” he says in a soft voice. He admits that he became a better actor through his emotional pain.
A road walked alone often becomes lonely but Lesley was fortunate to be surrounded by the likes of Obed Baloyi who has years and vast experience in the industry. His transition of improvement he brings in season 2 is owed to such legends.
“The best advice I ever got was to be natural and never oversell the story line. That advice worked wonders for me” he adds. Seems like all the advise he received was worth taking note of because SA gets to share his talent on SABC 2 from Monday until Wednesday at 21:30.
Giyani: Land of Blood is a South African telenovela drama series produced by Tshedza Pictures. It is the first Xitsonga drama series to take over the screens of many South African families. The first episode was aired on 1 April 2019 and the second season followed on the 1 November 2021. Lesley stars as a detective known as Collen. “The public perceives acting as an easy job but in actual fact it demands a lot emotionally, physically and even spiritually” he says. He further advises that it’s important to master your craft way before hitting the screens.
Khoza also has the skills of carpentry, with a little mentoring but largely self taught through experience and has transformed homes with his creative designs. “I have always loved carpentry and I used to be glued to shows that had anything to do with it. In addition he says: “it’s important to have more than one skill because you’ll never know where life will lead”.
His mission for 2022 is to empower young children who want a breakthrough into the industry. He wants to offer them the same opportunity that was offered to him. This year he also wants to see himself grow and feature in other television programmes.
Lesley Khoza concludes by saying: “more than anything practice will put you ahead of your peers. Don’t ever let people dictate your life because you are less fortunate but network and approach people in the same space you wish to be in”.
By Sandra Lesenyeho