Masoja Msiza (born October 5th, 1964) is a 59-year-old South African actor, musician, and poet who is primarily known for playing the role of Nkunzi Mhlongo in Uzalo, the popular telenovela.
South African actor Masoja Msiza reached a new height in his acting career when he joined the cast of the multi-award-winning soapie, Uzalo in the third season in 2017. Since then, his popularity has had no bounds as he is well-known across Mzansi for portraying the villain – Nkunzi Mhlongo, in Uzalo, which is currently the most-watched South African TV series. The adept actor is known for his appearances in the series and for scoring roles in many other series such as Scandal! and Sokhulu & Partners.
Msiza has further had roles in feature films and theatre productions in the past years. A multi-faceted entertainer, the Uzalo star has gone ahead to make impressive marks with his works as a poet and music artist. He serves as the founder of the Lentswe Poetry Project and has released two poetry collections entitled “Avalon” and “The Voice of Hope.” He is also a social activist and a mentor to many young people.
Masoja Msiza is Currently 59 Years Old
In a township called Kwa-Thema in Gauteng province, South Africa, the Isidingo actor was born on October 5th, 1964. He was raised by his grandmother and other relatives in his birthplace located in the southwest of Springs in the district of Ekurhuleni. Having been raised in a multi-racial town where most of the eleven official languages in South Africa are spoken, Masoja Msiza is multi-lingual. He can fluently speak different languages, including Zulu, which he taught himself.
Being multi-lingual has helped his career soar to new heights. The 59-years-old started enjoying and participating in drama classes at the tender age of 9 and has now spent most of his life doing what he loves best–acting.
Is Masoja Msiza Ndebele?
Having been fluent in different South African languages, including being a self-taught Zulu speaker, many have often wondered if Msiza is a Ndebele. However, the actor is not a native of Northern Ndebele, an offshoot of the Zulu of South Africa. Though Masoja Msiza’s hometown is unknown, News24 has it that he was raised in Ndebeles. Thus, he is not a native of the Bantu ethnic group in Southern Africa.
He Grew Up with Three Half-Siblings
Msiza reportedly has three half-siblings with whom he grew up. The trio are of the same mother but different fathers. When his mother fell ill during his childhood, he went under the custody of his grandmother and other relatives. During his interview with Sowetanlive, Msiza revealed that some of his family members reside in KwaZulu-Natal. He, however, stated that he recently reconnected with them as sometimes, they would see each other every five years, but he never revealed their identities.
He reportedly met his father for the first time when he was 14 years old and only got reconnected with his father’s family during holidays on some occasions. He grew up without a father figure to mentor him as his parents got separated when he was still a kid. This affected him, leading him to uphold some ill beliefs as a child, including the idea that men ought to use their strength on women to showcase their power and strength in society. Having realized his mistakes, he has been working as an advocate against gender-based violence ever since.
The Actor’s Dismissal From a Mining Job Turned into a Huge Blessing
Having harbored an ardor for acting since childhood, Msiza took the first step to realizing his dream by joining art and drama classes in school when he was just nine years of age. After full knowledge of his potential, the young lad decided to participate in a drama competition organized by his school when he was fourteen years old. Amazingly, he emerged as the winner, but upon graduation from high school, Masoja Msiza had to search for greener pasture through other means of livelihood and decided to let go of his childhood dream.
Soon after, he began working as a miner. As an eloquent speaker who is good with words, he led a strike at his workplace. This got him sacked along with some of his colleagues who took part in the strike. At this point, his passion for acting got reignited, and he decided to pursue acting full-time. Since then, the actor’s career has had exponential growth as his talent has garnered him immense fame and substantial fortune.
How Playing Nkunzi in Uzalo Shot Masoja Msiza to Superstardom
In 2017, Masoja Msiza debuted in the third season of Uzalo, playing a leading role. It didn’t take him time to win the viewers’ hearts with his outstanding performances, even though his bad side sometimes leaves the audience with mixed feelings. Nonetheless, the actor is still among the top fan’s favorite. On the SABC1 soap opera, he portrays the character of Nkunzebomvu “Nkunzi” Mhlongo, a villain and ruthless crime lord who serves as the leader of the Bhebhe clan in the KwaMashu community. He is also a prominent businessman with a chain of businesses on-screen and would go to any extreme to eliminate any obstacle preventing him from attaining power and wealth.
He never fails to showcase his creative skills in the soapie and does not spare any chance to give his best in any episode. As a result, his character always gets fans intrigued and has garnered admiration from viewers across the country. He is one of the reasons people love to watch Uzalo, which has emerged as the most-watched South African TV show. The show’s record-breaking episode aired on September 25th, 2018, and attracted an average viewership of 10.25 million. Premiered in 2015, the SABC1 telenovela is currently a multi-award-winning show, thanks to its compelling narrative storyline and the stellar performances of the cast.
Having been one of the show’s main cast members and among viewers’ favorite stars, Msiza is said to be earning a monthly salary of R125,000 based on his contract with the show’s producers, Stained Glass Productions. He is also among the few cast members signed as a brand ambassador for Uzalo’s partnership with beverage spirit producer Smirnoff. No wonder his net worth is estimated at R11.6 million, though he still has some other income sources.
Besides Acting, Masoja Msiza is a Successful Poet and Musician
Masoja Msiza has a special talent for writing poems. Before switching to acting full-time, he first worked as a poet and has continued penning poems to date. Over the years, he has gained some poetry gigs that have helped project his multi-talented personality to the world. He wrote promo poems for Ukhozi FM, SA’s largest radio station, and performed them as he is endowed with a unique voice. During the AFCON tournament in Tunisia in 2004, the Kwa-Thema-born penned poems for the Bafana Bafana team. His poetry collection includes “The Voice of Hope” and “Avalon.”
As a musician, Msiza has dropped several singles, and they include ‘Hallelujah,’ ‘I Am a Father’, and ‘My Love.’ His music style is a mix of dramatic poetry and the afro-pop music genre. He recently released an album titled ‘Time to Rhyme’ and has been using his songs to advocate for the end of gender-based violence. Alongside former Uzalo cast member, Xolani Ncobeni, he dropped a single, ‘I Am a Father,’ which appeals to men to stand up to their roles of being protectors and providers in society.
The Veteran Actor is Yet to Clinch an Award
Masoja Msiza is no stranger to the South African TV show audience. For close to three decades now, he has been playing main roles and supporting roles in popularly known soap operas. He is quite famous for playing the role of Mandla, a boxing manager in the e.tv telenovela, Ring of Lies, and Nkunzi in Uzalo. Despite his rise to fame in the film industry and his notable contributions, the actor is yet to roll up his sleeve an award. Nevertheless, he has been nominated for Mzansi Magic Viewers Choice Awards for Best Actor.
Throughout his decades-long career, he has featured in films such as The Saints and Kalushi, A Million Colours, and Zama Zama. He also has in his portfolio some theatre credits, and they include Once Were Free and Voice from Kilimanjaro. Additionally, he has scored roles in numerous TV series such as Umlilo, Shreds and Dreams, Scandal!, Rhythm City, and A Place Called Home. All these acting credits have helped showcase Masoja Msiza’s amazing skills to the audience, and hopefully, awards would start rolling his way in no distant time.
His Social Activism Work
Unlike his on-screen character in Uzalo, Masoja Msiza has been a mentor and a father figure to many young people. He visits prisons, schools, and homes, sharing stories of his past life and giving hope to the youth by revealing how turning a new leaf has made him a better person. The actor used to be a heavy drinker; as such, he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to make great choices during those years as he couldn’t differentiate between right and wrong. Having been raised in an environment where it is believed that men showcase their strength and position in society by abusing women, Masoja Msiza has taken it upon himself to lend a voice towards the annihilation of gender-based violence.
For many years now, gender-based violence has been rocking Mzansi as many women have been murdered by their partners. As a result, Msiza has joined many celebrities speaking against the vile act and seeking to end it through advocacy. The Isidingo actor, on his part, advocates for the end of violence against women and children through his poetry works and songs. He appeals to men to stop neglecting their roles in the lives of their children and society and should realize that a man must protect and not bully women.
He stated that there had been a growing number of cases of violence against women and children due to fathers being absent in actions in the lives of their sons. He aims to release more songs in the future that would help to end GBV.
Has Masoja Msiza’s On-Screen Character Rubbed Off on His Real-Life Persona?
Despite playing the shady character of a ruthless crime lord in Uzalo for over three years now, Masoja Msiza has been known for the calm demeanor and cool-headed image he projects in public. However, in December 2019, it was alleged that the Uzalo star refused to pay back a deposit made by promoters who go by the name Zukisa Robiyane and Esona Masele. The event organizers accused Masoja of extorting them after he was booked for a performance at an event for which a fee of R20,000 was agreed upon.
He was given part payment of R18,000, and the remaining R2,000 was agreed to be paid after his performance. Due to the actor’s busy schedule and shooting commitment to Uzalo, he failed to attend the event held in Es’larheni, Mdantsane but communicated with the promoters that he wouldn’t be available for the event and would send Khathaza as his replacement. Having canceled the booking a week before the event, Msiza was asked by the promoters to refund the part payment so that the money would be used to book other actors.
According to one of the event promoters, Zukisa Robiyane, the TV star refused to refund the money and told him that it was his responsibility to get those actors to come to the event. Meanwhile, Msiza refuted the allegations and refused to talk to journalists about it.
Is Masoja Msiza Married?
There has been a misconception about Masoja Msiza’s marital life. Many people believe that he has been married thrice and divorced and was previously married to a woman known as Innocentia. However, it was his character in Uzalo, Nkunzebomvu “Nkunzi” Mhlongo, that had married three women in the soapie and divorced, and the name of one of his former wives in the series is Innocentia (played by Standwa Nzuza). In reality, the actor has only revealed that he has gone through a series of divorces and had a tumultuous relationship with the mother of his children whom he didn’t disclose her identity.
He stated that he misses his children and only sees them whenever he visits Johannesburg, especially during the December holidays. He is a father of three – two daughters and a son. He rarely uploads pictures of his kids on social media; as such, there is little to no information regarding what his children are up to at the moment. Despite his efforts not to experience divorce like his parents and equally, to prevent his children from having the same experience of not growing up in the presence of a father figure as he did, life didn’t pan out exactly the way he planned, which has left him heartbroken.