Making a comeback, former SABC 1 continuity presenter turned actor Fezile Makhanya, 33, celebrated his 11th year in the entertainment industry with a bang.
Having made his debut back in 2006, the KwaZulu-Natal-born rugby hunk moved to Johannesburg with the hopes of taking his provincial rugby skills national. This was also encouraged by him being awarded a scholarship which he later turned down for a life-changing opportunity to join SABC 1 as a Simunye brand ambassador.
Makhanya then catapulted to national stardom when he appeared on numerous shows across different channels, one of them in a supporting role on Mzansi Magic’s Rockville drama.
Blessed with good looks and a charming yet quirky personality, it was no surprise that he would be South Africa’s golden boy, despite not having chiselled abs.
Having walked down the aisle in 2015, the now-married hunk soon came to realise that his looks were no longer enough to get him leading roles. It was a reality that dawned on him while watching one of his acting buddies get the role he wanted, simply based on the definition of his body.
“I got married in 2015 and I happened to go to a couple of auditions where the brief was to play a hunk, this sexy guy who could pull off topless scenes. Sadly, I didn’t fit the mould.”
Refusing to wallow in regret, Makhanya saw this as an opportunity to better himself and hit the gym where his trainer, Tumi Seeco, predicted that last year would yield a new, muscular version of Makhanya.
Keeping a very low key during that time, the TV personality managed to channel his bitter-sweet casting experience into proactive motivation to better himself.
Makhanya admits that cutting down on red meat and alcohol was particularly hard as it took a toll on his social life. “I thought to myself, what would happen if I had to take this fitness thing seriously. Soon after that, I started a 90-day challenge which helped me to stay on track.
“The first thing I had to do was work on the diet; I had to cut out the rice, starchy foods and red meat.” Desperate to not only sound like a leading man but to look the part, Makhanya spent most of his days at his local gym or on hiking trails where he could be accompanied by his wife.
It was during his birthday week, vacationing in Mauritius, that the new Makhanya made his debut on social media, wearing shorts and a fedora. The picture went viral on Twitter and Instagram.
“It took me about a month to start seeing results. This happened while I was changing at gym and I could see improvements and that pushed me even more to continue until I got the body I have now.”
Now dubbed “South Africa’s man crush every day” by many of his fans, the need to maintain his newly found body is a priority, along with being a good husband to his wife.