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Parklands High alumnus gains popularity as thriving actor

Parklands High School’s former Grade 12 learner, Khayalethu Xaba will be appearing more often on our screens as he continues to rise in fame as a locally celebrated storyteller.

Parklands High School alumnus Khayalethu Xaba, fondly known as Khaya, is a shining example of excellence and life is good for the multi-disciplined young artist who is no stranger to our screens.

After completing his matric in the previous year, life after matric is different from what he envisioned it to be.

Khaya assumed he was going to complete high school and then go straight to a university or college to pursue a film degree, but life took a different turn.

“Things have changed since I made my acting debut on screen. To be honest, at some point, it also surprised me when I had two of my shows playing on neighbouring channels, Ko Strateng on Moja Love and Lavish on Mzansi Magic. That came with a lot of recognition, especially when I’m out in public. Strangely enough, I still haven’t gotten used to it,” he explained.

He said this new success and recognition has gained him so much popularity, yet he continues to be humble.

“Seeing how shocked some people get when they see me is a bit funny and weird. Luckily, none of the people I’m close to change. They still treat me as the Khaya I am and have always been,” he said.

Takes the industry by storm

In January, while in Cape Town filming, he received a call from his agent with the most incredible news ever that ‘overturned’ everything.

“She told me that I got cast for a brand new telenovela (soap opera) which I’ve been praying for since last year. It also meant that I had to put my varsity aspirations on hold, as this new project would demand my full time and attention,” he said.

The new telenovela, Smoke and Mirrors, will soon be playing on e.tv on weekdays at 21:00.

“I play one of the lead characters ‘Mpendulo Mseleku’, the son of the main character, ‘Thandiswa’. Mpendulo is a street-smart teenage boy who grew up on the streets of Yeoville. Growing up, he never really got that much attention at home that a normal child would get, which led him to seek it on the streets,” explained Khaya.

He said his character got himself into some shady businesses with a local drug dealer.

“But despite his side dealings, Mpendulo does well at school to keep his mother happy, off his back and oblivious to his illegal side hustles. He respects his mother and is very protective of her.

“Playing this character is a real journey. Having to adapt to his personality traits and lifestyle was a bit tricky at first, but now I’ve got the hang of it,” said Khaya.

He said he is excited about the project and cannot wait for people to see it.

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