Israel Matseke Zulu (born in 1973) is a 49 years old South African actor, poet, singer, and dancer who rose to prominence for playing Don on Gomora, the South African TV series. He has a net worth estimated at $1 million.
Israel began his acting career after his return from prison in the year 1999. The actor is currently on a break after so many years on TV. During his active days, he starred in numerous local action-packed projects such as Gaz’lam, Izulu Lami, iNumber Number, Tsotsi, Four Corners, and Hard To Get.
How Old is Israel Matseke Zulu and Where was He Born?
The sensational actor, Israel Matseke Zulu, is 49 years old and was born in the year 1973 in a town in Johannesburg, Gauteng province, called Alexandra. The full names of his biological parents and other interesting details about his family background are not publicly known.
However, his mother lived with his biological father (Mr. Zulu) and later got married traditionally to his step-father, Mr. Makoe. There is no further information about his mother’s marriage to his step-father, and the actor’s relationship with him is not publicly known.
Matseke was raised in a poor home. He is the second child of his parents. He has an older sibling and three younger siblings. Growing up was tough for Zulu, so at 14, he was arrested for theft – housebreaking and car hijacking.
He spent the bulk of his life with his family in his hometown. He attended Gordon Combined School. However, it is unknown if he went to college or any of the Performance schools in the country.
Until His 9th Grade, The Actor’s Full Name was Isreal Matseke
As a boy, Isreal’s surname was Matseke, which happens to be his mother’s surname. He took up his mother’s surname because his father was not married to his mother at that time. In African culture, you cannot use your father’s surname if he’s not married to your mother.
The actor picked up the name Makoe after his mother got married traditionally to his step-father, Mr. Makoe, in his 9th grade. As a grown man, Israel eventually decided to take up his father’s surname – Zulu.
The actor mentioned that he decided to take both his parents’ names because he loves them so much and that, after all, they are his parents. The actor’s full name is Israel Sipho Makoe Matseke-Zulu.
What was Israel Zulu Convicted Of?
In 1996, Israel Sipho Makoe Matseke-Zulu was sent to prison for theft. He was incarcerated for three years for car hijacking and housebreaking from 1996 to 1999 at Johannesburg Prison.
According to him, he resorted to cries as a young boy as an “escape from poverty.” He, however, turned a new leaf in prison and also developed a passion for acting there. In fact, it was in prison that the actor formed his Abaqobi Drama Group.
A Look At His Acting Career and How It Began
Israel’s love for acting started in prison, and he made sure it didn’t end there. He shared that he first saw the TV show Yizo Yizo in prison and fell in love with the project. He also saw himself starring in the TV show while in prison and hoped it would come to fruition.
After he was released from prison, he joined other people who auditioned for several roles in Yizo Yizo, and luckily for him, he won the role of Don in the show. Given that he had been to prison, the producers found him more suitable for the gangster role.
Yizo Yizo became his first gig after he left the prison. Due to his stellar performance in Yizo Yizo, the actor began earning more roles in the industry. He became the go-to actor for producers searching for villain actors.
Every single project Zulu took part in was nothing short of incredible. Though he has starred in projects like iNumber Number (2013) and its series sequel, Four Corners (2013), Tsotsi (2005), and Hard to Get (2014), he is easily remembered for his role in Yizo Yizo and Gomora.
His character, Don, was introduced to viewers as Teddy’s (played by Sicelo Buthelezi) biological father. He was a ruthless leader of a gang group in Alexandra Township who got involved in some bad things.
Israel’s role in Gomora was one of the best any villain actor has displayed on the show. He particularly brought in his wealth of experience in thug roles to distinguish himself as the king of bad boys in films.
Unfortunately, he left the show in 2021 after announcing that he was suffering from a disease that makes it difficult for him to walk and perform brilliantly on the set. He took a break from acting to focus on his health after he was diagnosed with Gangrene, a condition that affects the legs, feet, arms, and other parts of the body when tissues in one’s body start dying due to loss of blood or insufficient supply of blood owing to injuries or bacterial infections.
Israel Matseke Zulu’s Movies and TV Shows
- Beyond the River
- iNumber Number
- Hard to Get
- Four Corners
- Via Alex
Israel Matseke Zulu Has an Impressive Net Worth
South African actor Israel Matseke’s net worth is currently under review. However, many sources claimed the value of assets is estimated at $1 million. Others put his net worth at $10 million.
Nevertheless, there is no gain saying the fact that the actor has made a name for himself through his acting talent and other endeavors. Apart from acting, he is a poet, dancer, brand promoter, and singer.
Charity begins at home.
Today we donated food parcels an #COVID19 essentials like masks, sanitisers, and gloves to the victims of fire in Alex.
I was joined by my friend @Presley_tsotsi and #SAYN Youth.
Let's do out part. Let's level the curve.
We going to 5 provinces.#Gomora pic.twitter.com/BCwfgGpqUg
— Ice & Orange Entertainment (@GP_MaOrange) April 20, 2020
He boasts a single hit titled Sorry Sarge. He made the music alongside South African artist Mandoza. He also makes money through his agency called the Israel Makoe Acting Agency. He is the founder of the Abaqobi Drama Group, which focuses on training young people from Alexandra in arts and performance.
Some of the actor’s former students are currently doing great in the entertainment industry. The sensational Thabo Maharige, who happens to be his former student, is the director of the Arts Alive musical Via Alex.
Israel runs a tavern business and is also involved in motivational talks for the youth. He makes his money through these endeavors and others he probably has not disclosed.