Lawrence Maleka (born on April 11th, 1990; Age: 32 years old) is a multi-award-winning South African actor and TV presenter famously known for portraying Zolani in the 1Magic telenovela, The River and for hosting Big Brother Mzansi Season 3. He is a happily married man.
The Soweto-born began his career in the late 2000s and rose to fame as the host of Clash of Choirs South Africa in 2016. Throughout his illustrious TV career, he has hosted several shows. He has risen through the ranks in TV Presenting to emerge as Mzansi’s Favourite Presenter at the 2022 DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards.
Lawrence Maleka has equally made his presence felt in the acting scene. In January 2018, he debuted as Zolani Dlamini in season one of The River. He appeared from season one to season four of the show and wooed the viewers with his extraordinary acting talent, becoming a fan favorite.
How Old is Lawrence Maleka?
Lawrence Maleka’s age is 32 years old. He was born on April 11th, 1990, in South Western Townships. Growing up in the streets of Soweto gave the TV presenter well-cherished memories as he attributes all the guts he presently has to the life-shaping upbringing he had in the township.
He had grown to love with all his heart the hard-knocks life of the South Western Townships. Maleka was raised by his parents alongside his older brother and sister. He grew up in a loving family. His father is his role model as he hugely influenced him to become the decent man he is today.
He learned from his dad how to be independent and take good care of the woman in his life. His taste in music—jazz was also influenced by his father, whose identity is yet to be revealed.
His Passion For TV Presenting Made Him Drop Out of The University
While completing his basic education at Northview High School, Lawrence Maleka learned how to improve his recollection skills by memorizing while studying. This was due to his being diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 16. At the time, he struggled to concentrate and make sense of words and numbers.
He worked twice as hard to perform well in his studies. Eventually, he gained admission to study Law at Wits University in 2009. Having been passionate about TV presenting, the Isibaya actor accompanied his friend to an audition at the community television station, Soweto TV. While there, Lawrence was sighted by Lerato Kganyago, who persuaded him to audition for the role.
He heeded her advice and performed well. Nonetheless, he was never handed the role. After four months of waiting, Lawrence Maleka returned to Soweto TV, intending to talk with the station manager. With a determination to work at the TV station, he kept on going back to Soweto TV every two weeks.
Eventually, he was asked by the manager to audition for a tech programme called The Gadget Show and was hired that same day. By the end of the year, he had already landed three presenting gigs at the station. This made Lawrence Maleka skip classes. Despite his great performance at school, he decided to quit school and focus solely on his career.
Star Gist Catapulted The TV Presenter to Stardom
After kicking off his career at Soweto TV as the host of The Gadget Show in 2009, Lawrence Maleka moved on to serve as the host of other shows such as Street Radio and Ziyamporomo. He stayed at the station for two years before deciding to grow his career by quitting his roles at Sowetan TV to enter the Selimathunzi Presenter Search in 2011.
Though Lawrence made it to the top two, the role was given to Lunga Shabalala, which sparked controversy nationwide as Lawrence Maleka was the people’s choice. Not allowing himself to be deterred by the outcome of the Selimathunzi nationwide search, the dexterous TV presenter kept auditioning.
— Lawrence (@Lawrence_Maleka) November 21, 2012
In that same 2011, he landed the gig to present the Coca-Cola Happiness Machine Game Show that aired on e.tv. From 2012 to 2014, Maleka was shot to fame as the host of Star Gist, AfricaMagic entertainment celebrity gossip show. He co-hosted the show alongside Zimbabwean Big Brother Amplified star Vimbai Mutinhiri.
Following his unique way of delivering his artistic vision on small screens, Lawrence Maleka became a household name in Nigeria, where the show had intensifying popularity. Star Gist’s production was later moved to Nigeria in 2014 after it became a flop in South Africa.
The award-winning presenter stayed behind in his home country, where he chose to grow his career. He stayed for months without work and was quite hopeful of building a successful career in entertainment.
Lawrence Maleka’s Famous TV Presenting Gigs
Despite not having formal training in arts and performance, Lawrence Maleka’s wit and banter always keep viewers glued to the screen. As a result, he has landed prestigious presenting roles in the country that has made his popularity grow by leaps and bounds. Here are the most popular gigs that have made The River star a force to reckon with in the TV presenting domain.
Clash of The Choirs
In late 2015, Maleka landed one of the biggest roles of his career. He was announced as the replacement for Bonang Matheba as the host of the Mzansi Magic reality competition series, Clash of the Choirs South Africa. At the time, he had big shoes to fill, but he never disappointed his fans as he proved himself to be the best fit for the job.
He made his mark with Clash of the Choirs despite being in the entertainment industry for only a few years. He had a wonderful experience as the show host, learning from everyone involved, including the production crew and the participants. Before landing the Clash of the Choirs role, Maleka was one of the celebrity contestants of the e.tv game show I Love South Africa in 2014.
He participated alongside poet Busisiwe Gquala and singer Bucie Nqwiliso. The following year, he bagged a hosting role on the lottery game show, Lotto Powerball, replacing Fezile Makhanya. He further served as the co-host of Club 808, e.tv youth and lifestyle music show alongside Boity Thulo in 2016. He also hosted the SABC3 reality competition series, The Final Cut, in 2017.
Too Hot to Be Single
At the early stage of his career, Lawrence Maleka wanted, by all means, to work for SABC1. Hence, he participated in the SABC1 nationwide search for a new presenter for the variety show, Selimathunzi in 2011. He was the dream candidate wanted by Mzansi. However, his dreams of working for the station shattered when Lunga Shabalala was selected above him, though he made the top two.
The talent search was subsequently marred by controversy as it was alleged that Lunga was chosen to be the show’s presenter even before the audition took place. Lunga Shabalala was reportedly auditioned with a selected number of people even before the search for a new presenter was announced by the channel.
Nonetheless, Lawrence Maleka moved on to make a mark in the entertainment industry afterward. He landed his dream presenting gig with SABC1 in March 2021 when he was announced as the presenter for the channel’s brand new show, Too Hot to Be Single. Maleka had to quit his role in The River to return to his first love, which was working as a TV presenter.
The dating game show was created to find a match for singles who consider themselves too hot by using recognizable methods. The versatile actor worked wonders on the show and was a perfect fit for the fun and light-hearted dating show. Too Hot to Be Singles upgraded his profile and made him Mzanis’s TV heartthrob.
Big Brother Mzansi Season 3
— Lawrence (@Lawrence_Maleka) February 3, 2022
Moving from Too Hot to Be Single, Lawrence Maleka had another career milestone when he was announced as the presenter of Big Brother Mzansi Season 3 in December 2021. The talented media personality thus added another prestigious gig to his alluring profile.
The show premiered on January 23rd, 2022, and Lawrence handled it like a seasoned presenter for 71 days. He made it a very exciting show for the viewers. While on the show, he proved to be one of the top young talents on the small screen.
His unique way of delivering shows enchanted the viewers and the housemates, who recognized and appreciated his talent at the end of the show. Following his performance on Big Brother Mzansi Season 3, the 32-year-old took home two Dstv Viewers Choice Awards in June 2022.
Zolani From The River Debuted as an Actor With Isibaya
In 2015, Lawrence Maleka made his acting debut with a recurring role of Don Webster in the Mzansi Magic soapie, Isibaya. He debuted in the show’s third season and portrayed the character of Thandeka’s (Nomzamo Mbatha) colleague, who seemed to have a thing for her. After that, he solidified his status as one of the eminent entertainers in SA when he joined the cast of 1Magic telenovela, The River, in the first season premiered in January 2018.
He played the role of Zolani Dlamini from season one to season four of the award-winning TV series, and his performance not only won him the hearts of several viewers but clinched him some accolades as well. In 2019, Lawrence Maleka bagged SAFTA Golden Horn Award for Best Supporting Actor – Telenovela for his role in The River. He was also nominated for the same award in 2020 and 2021.
His Exit From The River Led to The Fans Boycotting The Show
Having featured in The River from seasons 1-4, Maleka’s exit from the telenovela was met with heavy backlash, and many fans lost interest in watching it. The River was described as being dull and less interesting after his exit.
This is not surprising as the multi-talented actor plays the role of The River‘s bad boy, Zolani Dlamini. He grew up devoid of parental love, which bred a violent and ruthless character in him. Zolani, who is Lindiwe Dlamini’s (Sindi Dlathu) adopted son and right-hand man, would go to any length to fight Lindiwe’s battles against her enemies.
Thus, Lawrence Maleka became one of the fan favorites. He made his exit from The River in October 2021 when his character was imprisoned for murdering Zithuele Duze (Makhola Ndebele), who raped his wife, Emma, after a business meeting. Zolani’s absence in The River is widely felt, and the fans hope he will resurface in the fifth season, which premiered on February 7th, 2022.
Highlights of Lawrence Maleka’s TV shows and Acting Roles
- The Gadget Show
- Street Radio
- Star Gist
- Coca-Cola Happiness Game Show
- Lotto Powerball Show
- Clash of the Choirs South Africa
- Club 808
- The Final Cut
- SABC Crown Gospel Music Awards
- The South African Music Awards
- All Access Mzansi
- Too Hot to be Single
- Big Brother Mzansi Season 3
- DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards
- Isibaya as Don Webster
- The River as Zolani Dlamini
Lawrence Maleka Emerged as Mzansi’s Favourite TV Presenter at The 2022 DMVCA
Since showcasing his stellar hosting skills with popular shows in the country, Lawrence Maleka has been in demand in the showbiz arena. He has attributed his success in his journey as a TV presenter and actor to his ability to understand the industry by working behind the scenes, trying to understand the production process and all the elements of production.
His success didn’t happen overnight. However, his hard work has paid off with a handful of accolades. On June 25th, 2022, the DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards (DMVCA) was held at the Sun Arena in Pretoria, and Maleka, who served as the award show, emerged as Mzansi’s favorite TV presenter.
He also took home the DMVCA Award for Ultimate Viewers’ Choice. Many congratulated the seasoned TV presenter, who was among the biggest winners for the night.
Who Is Lawrence Maleka’s Wife?
Despite being in the limelight for over a decade, Lawrence Maleka has been successful at keeping secret the identity of his wife. It is a well-known fact the hunk actor is married, but he is yet to reveal to the public who his wife is. He tied the knot in a private wedding, and the date the wedding took place is unknown.
Even though some media outlets speculate that Maleka’s co-star in The River, Zenokhule Maseko is his significant other, the two haven’t confirmed the speculation. The rumor about The River stars being married was sparked when Lawrence posted a picture of himself and Zenokhule on social media and captioned it “Forever.”
Zenokhule’s reply read, “I love you so much, my Lawry.” Obviously, Maleka and Khule have a very close relationship. Nevertheless, the actress is said to have a boyfriend and sees Lawrence Maleka as his big brother.