Fana Mokoena (born May 13th, 1971; Age: 52 years old) is a South African actor and politician with a net worth of over $1 million (over R17 million). He served as a Member of the Parliament from May 2014 to October 2020 and is also popularly known for starring in international blockbuster movies such as World War Z.
Fana has achieved an illustrious acting career. He rose to prominence for his roles in The Lab, Generations, and Hotel Rwanda. After decades in the film industry, Mokoena turned down what could have been the biggest role of his acting career to embark on a political journey in the year 2014. He first served as a delegate to the National Council of Provinces before becoming a member of the National Assembly of South Africa in 2016.
How Old is Fana Mokoena?
Former EFF Member of Parliament, Fana Mokoena, is 52 years old. In Kroonstad, Free State, the political figure was born on May 13th, 1971. Though professionally known as Fana Mokoena, the actor’s real name is Lehlohonolo Goodwill Mokoena.
A few years after his birth in the third largest city in Free State – Kroonstad, his family relocated to Johannesburg. There, he spent his childhood years and completed his basic education. He was raised alongside his three siblings by his mother and stepfather.
Who are Fana Mokoena’s Family Members?
Fana’s mother is Arcilla Mekodi Mokoena, and Elias Bhuti Mokoena was his stepfather. The identity of Fana Mokoena’s biological father is unknown. He grew up alongside his three siblings – Tlotlisang Dipallo Charity Xulu, Karabelo Isreal Mokoena, and Mamello Blessing Relebohile Mokoena. His eldest brother, Karabelo, is late and the same as his stepfather.
Prior to South Africa gaining democracy, Fana Mokoena’s mother fought many battles as a political activist. Five years after giving birth to the Scandal actor, her political activism got her detained and locked in solitary confinement by the apartheid government. Arcilla Mokoena was imprisoned for inciting a student protest at a school where she was teaching at Kroonstad.
The protest broke out in solidarity with the 1976 Soweto Student uprising that got many students killed by the apartheid government. Amongst other concerns, the students protested against the oppressive use of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction in schools, and it ended on a bloody note, as many were massacred.
While in prison, Mokoena’s mother was physically and emotionally tortured, which left her with serious scars on her body.
After regaining her freedom, Arcilla now resides in QwaQwa. Fana Mokoena was also nurtured by his mum’s eldest sister, Khasiane Alrina Ntloko, whom he referred to as his mother. She took care of him when his biological mother was imprisoned for a long while. Sadly, in October 2019, the politician was reported to have lost his mother, Khasiane, whom he fondly called “Mada.”
Following the announcement of her demise by Fana Mokoena and his political party, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), condolence messages flooded his timeline, including one from legendary South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Khasiane’s cause of death is unknown.
Fana Mokoena’s Academic Achievements
Fana Mokoena schooled briefly in Kroonstad before moving to Johannesburg, where he completed his high school education at Woodmead School—the first multi-racial school in South Africa. It was there that his interest in the arts was aroused. Subsequently, he got admitted to the University of Cape Town in 1988 and bagged a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama three years later.
Later on, the actor obtained a qualification in Media Studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1994. With a background training in drama, theatre and performance, Mokoena had unprecedented success in the early days of his career, which attained him global recognition.
Fana Mokoena Started Acting at the Age of 6
The stalwart politician caught the acting bug when he made a visit to the Kroonstad Correctional Centre at the age of six. The opening session was a play from the prisoners, which Fana described as a pretty amazing display. Soon after, he began performing at family gatherings. He had fun entertaining his family and friends by mimicking eminent TV characters.
Later at the age of 16, while still in high school, the actor landed his first professional acting gig in a double-bill play that ran at the Market Theatre. He portrayed the character of a troublesome black man who harasses a white family living on his ancestral land.
Upon graduation from the University of Cape Town in 1991, the youngster became a full-time member of the Playhouse Theatre Company.
Fana’s Days in Theatres
For two years, Fana Mokoena was associated with the Playhouse Theatre Company. During that time, he took part in several theatre productions, which got him noticed in the industry. He had roles in many Shakespearean works, including Twelfth Night. He was also part of the American play, All God’s Chillun Got Wings. Additionally, he was featured in the original theatre works of Lara Foot – a renowned playwright and director, such as The Big Bang.
More so, Fana Mokoena scored roles in several plays directed by Murray McGibbon. They include Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Roo in Winnie The Pooh, and Lone Wolf in Peter Pan. The seasoned actor further traveled to the United Kingdom as part of the cast for plays such as The Good Woman of Sharkville and Masekela and Truth in Translation.
Highlights of his theatre credits include Raising in the Sun, Dizzy Heights, Julius Caesar, Emandulo, and Love of the Nightingale.
He Began His Walk of Fame With Generations, the TV Series
For several years, Fana Mokoena did theatre works and was gradually getting noticed. With the help of his agent, Monnyeen Lee, he landed his first TV role with The Line. He was cast in a lead role as Tebogo, a young activist who got entangled in the 1991 political violence between Inkatha Freedom Party and the African National Assembly.
The TV movie became a huge success, having gained enthusiastic audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom.
In 1993, the acclaimed actor had a supporting role in another TV series titled 52 Regent East. Three years later, he bagged his first international role, sharing screen space with American actor Ice Cube in the movie Inside. Joining the cast of the famous South African TV series, Generations as Dr. Mandla Sithole in 1999 was the turning point for Mokoena’s career.
He played the role for four years opposite Connie Ferguson and became quite famous with the TV show audience. Later in 2004, he progressed his global career with roles in Hollywood movies. Fana Mokoena starred as General Bizimungu alongside Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda. He also co-starred Samuel L. Jackson in In My Country.
He then became a force to reckon with in the film industry following his portrayal of Jaws Bhengu in the South African TV series, The LAB. From 2006 to 2009, he played the role of a shrewd businessman who uses all kinds of professional and personal tricks to save his company. For his performance in The LAB, Fana Mokoena took home The Best Actor Award at the South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) in 2010.
Fana Mokoena’s Filmography Include Many International Blockbuster Movies
Throughout his decades-long spanning career, Mokoena has been among the few South African actors to clinch international roles in Hollywood. In the mid-2010s, the 52 years old was ranked among the top 50 African actors who were breaking into Hollywood. Not only has he starred in a number of Hollywood films, but some of the movies became box office hits. They include:
1. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Fana Mokoena was cast in the supporting role of General Bizimungu in the critically and commercially successful movie Hotel Rwanda in 2004. Based on the Rwandan genocide, the film explores political corruption and the repercussions of violence. It was produced on a budget of $17.5 million and grossed $33.9 million in domestic ticket sales.
2. Safe House (2012)
Safe House is a 2012 American action thriller film that starred the South African thespian as an officer in charge. The film follows the life of a CIA officer who is on a low-level posting in Cape Town and is in charge of a safe house where a veteran operative that allegedly betrayed the agency is interrogated.
With a production budget of $85 million, Safe House grossed $208.1 million at the global box office.
3. World War Z (2013)
Mokoena got projected to millions of international audiences in 2013, thanks to his acclaimed role in the box office hit World War Z. Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks, the movie tells the story of a former United Nations investigator who, as a result of a sudden zombie pandemic, travels across the world seeking a solution.
In order to excellently portray the character of Thierry Umutoni – U.N Deputy Secretary General in World War Z, Fana Mokoena did thorough research on Thabo Mbeki and Kofi Anan. Thankfully, his efforts weren’t in vain, as the movie became the highest-grossing zombie movie of all time. It grossed $540.5 million in domestic ticket sales against a production budget of $190 million – $269 million.
Fana Mokoena Had Over 12 Acting Roles in the 2010s
After The LAB, Fana Mokoena’s career had an upward trajectory as he was featured in more than twelve TV and film productions in the 2010s. Alongside Gerard Butler, he featured as John Garang, a South Sudanese freedom fighter, in John Vorster’s Machine Gun Preacher in 2010.
In that same year, he concluded his storyline in Wild at Heart and also scored roles in State of Violence, A Small Town Called Descent, and Hopeville. Later in 2011, the Kroonstad-born had a supporting role in Akin Omotoso’s Man on Ground. He was also cast as Goodwill in the 2011 film Inside Story.
The following year, he played Officer in Charge in Safe House, followed by his acclaimed role of Theirry Umutoni in World War Z opposite Brad Pitt in 2013. Additionally, he scored the role of Govan Mbeki in the 2013 movie Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
The movie was based on the 1995 autobiographical book, “Long Walk to Freedom” by former South African President Nelson Mandela and starred Idris Elba, Lindiwe Matshikiza, and Tony Kgoroge. Furthermore, Mokoena played a Specialist in the South African crime thriller film Cold Harbour in 2013.
Two years later, he featured as Sibongiseni in The Call and as Allasane in The Book of Negroes, a TV miniseries based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Canadian author Lawrence Hill. Having been engrossed in his political career, Fana Mokoena took a long break from acting. He then raised many eyebrows when he made a comeback in the year 2021.
After an 8-Year Hiatus, the Politician Made a Comeback to the Small Screen With Scandal
Lehlohonolo Mokoena made news headlines on several media channels when he returned from hiatus with a villain role in one of the most-watched TV series in SA, Scandal. After serving in many political positions for eight years, in September 2021, the 52 years old debuted as Vukile Kubeka in the e.tv drama series.
He played the role of the patriarch of the Kubeka household, which was introduced as a new storyline in the series at that time. Vukile Kubeka, a ruthless KwaZulu-Natal trucking tycoon, causes havoc when he relocated to Johannesburg to start a new life after retrenchment. Along with his wife (Slindile Nondangala) and kids (Sihle Ndaba, Robert Mpisi, and Melusi Mbele), he owns uThuli Waste Company.
Despite shaking things up in the soapie with his impeccable acting skills, the award-winning actor recently disappeared from the series. He relocated with his wife when Mukuna, a human trafficker and drug dealer, came to the scene and exposed their family secrets. With his fans being inquisitive about his whereabouts and why he left Scandal after a brief stint, Mokoena disclosed that he has clinched another international role and is getting himself ready for the production.
It’s still uncertain whether he will make a return on Scandal or his character has been permanently written off.
Fana Mokoena’s Political Career Achievements
In the early days of his political career, Fana Mokoena was a member of the African National Congress (ANC). Later in July 2013, he was unveiled as a new member of the Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) by the party leader, Julius Malema. As a founding member of the party, he was introduced to the public as one of EFF coordinators in Gauteng.
In the next year, he made the National Election List as the 28th candidate of the Economic Freedom Fighters. Later on May 22nd, 2014, Fana emerged as a delegate at the National Council of Provinces in the Parliament. He executed the role for two years, a time during which he assumed diverse positions in the political sector. They include:
- Select Committee Member on Economic and Business Development (NCOP Committees, from June 2014-August 2016)
- Select Committee Member on Education and Recreation (NCOP Committees, from June 2014-August 2016)
- Alternate Member at Select Committee on Trade and International Relations (NCOP Committees, June 2014-August 2016)
- Select Committee Member on Social Services (NCOP Committees, June 2014-August 2016)
- Alternate Member at Select Committee on Social Services (NCOP Committees, June 2014-August 2016)
Then in August 2016, the movie star became a full member of the National Assembly of South Africa, representing his home province, Free State. Despite winning a second term in office as EFF Member of the Parliament in the 2019 general election, the former Generations star decided to step down from his role on October 16th, 2020.
Between August 2016 and October 2020, when he resigned from the National Assembly with effect, Fana Mokoena held the following positions at the lower house of the parliament:
- Portfolio Committee Member on Mineral Resources (September 2016 – October 2017)
- Alternate Member at Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources (October 2017 – November 2017)
- Member of Constitutional Review Committee (Joint Committee, March 2015 – June 2018)
- Portfolio Committee Member on Arts and Culture (November 2016 – May 2019)
- Alternate Member at Ad Hoc Committee on the South African Broadcasting Corporation Board Inquiry (November 2016 – May 2019)
- Portfolio Committee Member on Mineral Resources (November 2017 – May 2019)
- Portfolio Committee Member on Communications and Digital Technologies (June 2019 – May 2020)
- Portfolio Committee Member on Sports, Arts, and Culture (May 2020 – October 2020)
He Has Been a Member of The EFF Central Command Team for Over Five Years
Since 2015, Fana Mokoena, who is a respectable member of the Economic Freedom Fighters party, has been serving on the party’s Central Command Team (CCT). He was elected as a member of the EFF Central Command Team by the 1st National People’s Assembly on January 11th, 2015. The primary task of the team is to be processing the reports, resolutions, and constitution adopted by the Ist National Assembly.
Afterward, the team will disseminate the information to all structures of the party and members of the society as well. For the term of office of the Central Command Team, the CCT members internalize what constitutes the strategic, organizational, political, and ideological program of EFF. In 2015, Fana Mokoena was deployed to the Defence, Intelligence, and Police portfolio of the party to carry out allocated specific roles and responsibilities.
What Is Fana Mokoena’s Net Worth?
Multi-award-winning actor cum politician Fana Mokoena has an estimated net worth of over $1 million (over R17 million). He has primarily accrued his massive wealth from acting gigs, having been active in the industry since 1991. Undoubtedly, the actor must have built his net worth from the paychecks he received for his roles in the mega-hit Hollywood movies he starred in.
Although the EFF member has cited that he didn’t earn substantial salaries during his time in the parliament, he ought to have augmented his total wealth with his political career earnings. Besides politics and acting, Fana Mokoena has made money from his efforts as a producer and from the executive roles he played in multiple organizations over the last few years.
Other Sources of Fana Mokoena’s Net Worth
A Production Company
Let’s Go! pic.twitter.com/XD4DnD1zlY
— Fana Lehlohonolo Mokoena (@fanamokoena) November 7, 2022
Following his resignation from the National Assembly, Mokoena launched a production company by the name, Praise Poet Pictures in October 2020. He serves as the founder and director of the company. With a focus on producing a work that will thrust Africa into a global spotlight, the versatile actor is writing a 9-part thriller for his production company.
His Executive Roles in Multiple Organisations
In January 2007, Fana Mokoena joined Pronnect (Pty) Ltd as a communications director. After working for a year and one month, he moved on to join Businnovate (Pty) Ltd as a business developer. He carried out the role for two years and one month before leaving in January 2010 to work as the chief executive officer of a media company called Three Line Media.
The company specializes in online, audio-visual, and print media. It operates under five brands, namely Wola Publishers, Ondata Networks, Freemind Productions, Mozol Advertising, and Line Shift Media Advisory. Having acquired over ten years of experience in the field of media production and management, the 52 years old decided to establish his own production company.
The Seasoned Actor Has Won Many Accolades
With an acting career of over three decades, Fana Mokoena is no stranger to award nomination lists. Interestingly, his acting prowess has landed an Emmy Award nomination. As he is not showing signs of slowing down, hopefully, he will take one home soon. Thus far in his thriving career, the awards won by the political stalwart for his amazing contribution to the arts include:
- Avante Award for Best Supporting Actor in Yizo Yizo (1999)
- SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in TV Drama – The Lab (2010)
- African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Man on Ground (2012)
- SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Actor in TV Drama – The Lab (2007)
- Monte-Carlo TV Festival Golden Nymph Award Nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – The Lab (2007)
- SAFTA Golden Horn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in TV Drama – Hopeville (2010)
- SAFTA Golden Horn Award nomination for Best Actor in a Feature Film – State of Violence (2012)
- Emmy Award Nomination for his role in Hopeville
Who is Fana Mokoena’s Wife?
Fana Mokoena is a father to a daughter named Khasiane Mahlape Mokoena. However, the mother of his child is unknown. Though the actor is reportedly single at the moment, it’s still unclear whether he has once been married and got divorced or he has never been married at all. He hardly shares his private life with the public despite his height of fame in the country.
Controversies The Politician Has Been Embroiled in
In May 2015, Mokoena and 18 members of the Economic Freedom Fighters were arrested and detained for a night following their attempt to stop King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality law enforcement in Mthatha from contravening a court order that bars them from the demolition of houses in an informal settlement.
The political activist claimed that he was assaulted while detained. As a result, he would press charges against King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality’s law enforcement. It’s unclear whether he eventually laid a civil case against the municipality.