Mapaseka Koetle-Nyokong’s versatility
Growing up with her mother and sister in Rocklands, Mangaung, and while still in primary school at Rutanang, Mapaseka fell in love with acting. “When I was in primary school, they introduced the new curriculum called OBE. With it came a new subject, called Arts & Culture. We used to do skits for marks, and I knew then that I wanted to act. I was in Grade 7 at the time.”
After attending Tsoseletso High School she went on to study Acting for Camera at City Varsity where she graduated with a diploma in 2011. Armed with her qualifications, Mapaseka took on the challenge of venturing into the acting industry. She soon learned that this would be no easy task.
While working jobs, which included being a promo girl at malls and a call centre receptionist, she soon realised that she would have to give all her attention to acting if she wanted to succeed. She soon also realised that sporting a natural look could work in her favour. “My agent sent me to an audition for some advert and I told myself: ‘let me try something different, let me cut my hair and go to auditions with my natural hair.’ I did that and I got my first advert.”
Soon after that the adverts kept coming. Mapaseka went to audition at Sasani Studios for the role of a young girl called Gonste. “I went to go audition for the role of Gontse, but I did not get it. A week later I received a call from them telling me that I had a call-back. When I got there I realised I was auditioning for the role of Dintle. I’ve been with the show for five years now and it’s always exciting. I enjoy working with the rest of the cast and crew.”
Her role as Dintle has grown over the years and viewers love how she is always scheming or stirring the pot, and, of course, her cheeky responses. While Mapaseka loves the role of Dintle, her biggest role so far has been that of a mother, and she loves every moment of it. She and her husband, Nelson Nyokong, welcomed their daughter, Nema, in September 2016.
She is currently starting a new project called Mommy Diaries where she will be offering young mothers such as herself the chance to share their motherhood stories with her and an expert.
But while that is in the works, she has turned her attention to the restaurant business. Mapaseka and her husband have recently opened a new restaurant situated outside the Sandton Gautrain Station in Johannesburg called ‘Gorge Grab n Go’; a coffee shop that sells fresh sandwiches, smoothies, juice and coffee.
“We’ve always wanted a restaurant; we have worked hard and prayed about it because we knew that it would happen one day. There was a Gorge next to my house and I used to buy and enjoy their sandwiches. I loved the look and feel of the place, so my husband and I spoke with the owner and soon thereafter opened one in Sandton,” she says.
Following the star-studded launch, the restaurant has fast become a popular spot, with celebrities regularly posting their visits on social media.
Although she is based in Johannesburg, Mapaseka has not forgotten about her hometown, Bloemfontein. “I have so many memories about Bloemfontein; this is where I was born. The memories I cherish most are of my high school days. I had so much fun as a child; I loved my friends, teachers and school.”
And she loves bumping into fellow Bloemfonteiners. “Bloemfontein language is unique – e monate! Every time I see a person here in Johannesburg from Bloem I get excited to hear them speak because that’s my language and it’s beautiful.” She shares this unique experience with her fans every Friday on social media, where she does shorts skits called Moqoqo Friday, translating to conversational Fridays where she she shares a humourous life tip or opinion with her followers.
Mapaseka adds that this is just the beginning. “I want it all. I’ve learnt that in life you attract what you want. I have big dreams. I want to be a successful business woman, and actress. I want to show my daughter that it is possible.
“You will continue to see me on Scandal, I’m still enjoying playing Dintle. I don’t often share my plans, especially if I’m still praying about it; all I can say about the future is that I’m just a girl from Rocklands who is full of dreams.”