Israel Makoe

From Incwajana
Jump to: navigation, search
Israel Matseke Zulu
Israel Makoe
Born Israel Sipho Matseke
Alexandra, Johannesburg
Gauteng, South Africa
Other names Israel Makoe
Ghetto Professor
  • Criminal
  • Prisoner (1988 - 1999)

  • Actor
  • Poet
  • Singer
  • Dancer
Years active 1999 - to date
Criminal charge Car Hijacking
Criminal penalty 8 Years
Criminal status Released in 1999
(after serving 3 years)

Israel Makoe (born Israel Sipho Matseke in 1974, also known as Israel Matseke Zulu) is a South African film, television and stage actor, poet, singer and dancer. He is often typecast as a gangster. Israel Makoe has had roles in landmark South African films including the critically acclaimed, Academy Award winning, Gavin Hood directed South African film, Tsotsi.

Israel Makoe starred in the second season of Yizo Yizo as a prison gang leader, Boyza. In 2002 he came to public attention for his portrayal GP in the critically acclaimed SABC 1 television series, Gaz'lam alongside Siyabonga Shibe, Menzi Ngubane, Gcina Mkhize and Mbali Ntuli. In 2015 he starred in the drama series, Z'bondiwe, as Jakes Masilo alongside Zola Nombona, Mpho Sebeng and Mbulelo Grootboom. He reprised the role of Jakes Masilo in second and third season.

Early Life

Israel Makoe was born in 1974 in the township of Alexandra in the city Johannesburg in the Gauteng province of South Africa. He was raised by a single mother, he has never known his father and his grandfather played the paternal role.

Formative Years

Israel Makoe spent his formative years engaging inn criminal activities. At the age of 14 he was arrested for the first time for house burglary and theft. In 1996 aged 22 Israel Makoe was arrested for car hijacking, tried and sentenced to eight years in prison. In 1999 he was released form prison for good behavior.

In an interview with the Sowetan in December 2016 Israel Makoe asserted that although he was involved in criminal activities, he was not a gangster and has never been, "I am not a gangster‚ I have never been a gangster and even in prison‚ I was never a gangster. I don’t even have tattoos‚ but I was affected by that situation and managed to overcome those nightmares."


Israel Makoe was in prison serving time for car hijacking from 1996 to 1999; during that period he abandoned the life of crime. He formed a theatre group called Abaqobi Drama Group and went on to write and direct his first play titled "Hayi Kabi Magenge". When the first season of the acclaimed The Bomb Shelter/ SABC 1 drama series, Yizo Yizo, went on air on 3 February 1999 Israel Makoe was still serving time and saw the show from prison. "I remember watching the show in prison, and thinking to myself, I’m the next Yizo Yizo star. I could feel it", he told South Africa Soapies in an interview. He was released later that year for good behavior having served three years only of his eight year sentence.

Acting Career

In 1999, upon release from prison, Israel Makoe worked with the Victory Sonqoba Theatre Company which would lead to a role on the second season of Yizo Yizo, that season would also see the introduction of Zola Dlamini. The second season of Yizo Yizo went on air on 20 February 2001, two year since the premier of the first.

In 2002 he starred in the SABC 1 drama series, Gaz'lam, as GP alongside Menzi Ngubane, Gcina Mkhize, Thembi Seete, Bubu Mazibuko, Mbali Ntuli, Manaka Ranaka and then newcomer Siyabonga Shibe. Israel Makoe went to star in the all four seasons and became one of South Africa's most sought after actors particularly in the portrayal of gangsters.

In 2007 he joined the cast of the SABC 1 sports drama series Zone 14 where he played the role of Israel. In 2013 Israel Makoe starred as Bra Ali on the Mzansi Magic/ Ferguson Films drama series Rockville alongside Connie Ferguson, Boity, Minnie Dlamini, Enhle Mlotshwa, Shona Ferguson and Lehasa Moloi.

In 2015 Israel Makoe starred in the original drama series, Z'bondiwe, as Jakes Masilo alongside Zola Nombona, Mbulelo Grootboom, Eve Rasimeni, Bongani Maseko and Mpho Sebeng. In 2016 he had a recurring role on the Mzansi Magic drama series, Is'thunzi, as Zakes opposite Thuso Mbedu, Zikhona Bali, Yolanda Kgaka, Makgotso M and Nandi Nyembe.

Film Career

Israel Makoe appeared in his first feature film in 2004 on Drum as Vy. In 2005 he portrayed the character of Mandla (Tsotsi's father) in the Gavin Hood directed Academy Award winning film, Tsotsi starring Presley Chweneyagae, Jerry Mofokeng, Nambitha Mpumlwana and Rapulana Seiphemo. In 2008 he appeared in the Madoda Ncayiyana directed Izulu Lami.

In 2013 Israel Makoe starred in the Donovan Marsh critically acclaimed film, iNumber Number (also released as Avenged in other regions) alongside Sdumo Mtshali, Presley Chweneyagae, Warren Masemola and Hlubi Mboya. He also starred in Four Corners and Hard to Get.


Year Title Role Notes
2001 Yizo Yizo 2 Boyza Supporting Role, Drama Series
2002 - 2005 Gaz'lam GP Lead Role, Drama Series
2004 Drum Vy Minor Role, Feature Film
2004 Zero Tolerance Zuka Guest Appearance, Drama Series
2005 Tsotsi Mandla (Tsotsi's father) Minor Role, Feature Film
2006 Zola 7 Himself Guest Host, Reality Show
2006 Izoso Connexion Waiting Man Guest Appearance, Sitcom
2008 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Rra Pekwane Guest Appearance, Drama Series
2009 - 2012 Zone 14 Israel Supporting Role, Drama Series
2009 The Philanthropist Clelia's Father Guest Appearance, Drama Series
2010 State of Violence Marumo Minor Role, Feature Film
2010 The First Grader David Chege Minor Role, Feature Film
2010 The Bang Bang Club Cameo (Man In White Shirt) Cameo, Feature Film
2010 Umkhungo Mthunzi Lead Role, Short Film
2010 Africa First: Volume Two Mthunzi Segment "Umkhungo"
2011 - 2012 Erfsondes Dube Recurring Role, Drama Series
2013 iNumber Number Skroef (Mandla Senzangakhona) Lead Role, Feature Film
2013 Four Corners Joburg Supporting Role, Feature Film
2013 - 2016 Rockville Rudolf Masondo Supporting Role, Drama Series
2014 Hard to Get Mugza Supporting Role, Feature Film
2014 The Good Lie Bracelet Soldier Minor Role, Feature Film
2015 - 2016 The Mayor Rudolf Masondo Recurring Role, Sitcom
2015 - 2016 The Bantu Hour Various Roles Recurring Role, Sketch Comedy
2015 - 2017 Z'bondiwe Jakes Masilo Lead Role, Drama Series
2016 Dora's Peace Shakes Supporting Role, Feature Film
2016 - 2017 Is'thunzi Zakes Recurring Role, Drama Series
2016 - 2018 IsiBaya Cyprian Gumbi Recurring Role, Soap Opera
2017 iNumber Number Skroef (Mandla Senzangakhona) Lead Role, Drama Series
2017 Beyond the River Oupa Supporting Role, Feature Film
2018 - 2019 Hope Jericho Supporting Role, Telenovela

Alleged Robbery 2010

In 2010 the City Press reported that Israel Makoe had been arrested robbing three people of their cellphones and R500 in ­Orange Grove, Johannesburg. The newspaper reported that Captain Phillip Maganedisa said Israel Makoe and his two accomplices, one of whom was also in the entertainment industry as a backup dancer, were arrested after a high speed chase.

Captain Phillip Maganedisa told the City Press the trio were driving in a blue VW minibus at about 9pm when they pulled up next to two men and a woman on Friday and robbed them. A ­police patrol vehicle came past and the three fled. That was when the ­police gave chase. "They were stopped a couple of streets away. The stolen cellphones and the money were found in their possession," Captain Phillip Maganedisa was quoted by the City Press.

Israel Makoe was reportedly charged with common assault and robbery.

Personal Life

Israel Makoe has a son named Bennedict who was born in 2002. His was first born son, Tebogo (1997 - 2011), was killed as a result of an accidental shooting in 2011. He has spoken out on several occasions about his death.

Death of his First Born Son, 2011

Israel Makoe told Khanyi Mbau on Katch it with Khanyi in 2015, "It is something that's very difficult. It is not something you can heal yourself from. Counseling doesn't help. It is something that will always hurt."

"Life is something else. I realised my boy wanted to walk in my path before I became Israel the actor. Before my son died I warned him about the person who shot him. I didn't know anything about him but I didn't like him. I told my son not to hang out with him. I did not like him.

"One day I was sleeping, there was a knock on my door. I was told my son had died, he was shot. They were playing around with a gun. We were not there, it was all hearsay. When they came to us they had already cleaned the blood. They had taken him to the clinic and he had died. I wondered why they didn't call us earlier," Israel Makoe told Khanyi Mbau.

In a Move! magazine interview Israel Makoe revealed that his son's death left him empty and without strength. "He was my first born and losing him left a huge void in my heart. Tebogo died as a result of an accidental shooting when his friend was playing with his father's gun and his friend accidentally shot him.

"It was really hard for me to deal with Tebogo's death. I understand that it was an accident, but I felt like I needed to do something even though it was a terrible mistake. I felt empty without strength and I sometimes blamed myself."


  1. News24/ Move!, Israel Makoe's from convict to stardom, 01 December 2018
  2. TVSA, Israel Matseke Zulu, 01 December 2018
  3. ZAlebs, The side of Israel Matseke-Zulu you never knew , 01 December 2018
  4. ZAlebs, Why we can't get enough of Israel Matseke Zulu , 01 December 2018
  5. IMDb, Israel Makoe Biography, 01 December 2018
  6. South Africa Soapies, Here is what you need to know about actor ISRAEL ‘GP’ MAKOE real life gangster, 05 December 2018
  7. News24/ City Press, Makoe back to his familiar ‘hood’, jail, 01 December 2018
  8. IMDb, Israel Makoe Biography, 01 December 2018
  9. Dispatch LIVE, Actor Israel Makoe recounts his life of crime: 'Being arrested was a blessing in disguise', 01 December 2018
  10. Channel24, Z'bondiwe's Israel Makoe opens up about losing his son, 15 December 2018
  11. Press Reader/ Move!, The Pain of LOSING A SON, 15 December 2018
  12. Mail & Guardian, Movie star Israel Makoe can't shake off the bad boy image, 15 December 2018


Bonginkosi Dlamini.jpeg
Gcina Mkhize.JPG
Bubu Mazibuko.png