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television: 1980s

Mokae´s television work is generally character acting, a role in an episode or a made-for-tv film. Good professional acting but nothing amazing, with some exceptions.  Mokae says "Time is important in television, it's hit the mark, say the line and let's get out of here. You don't get to go into the motives of the characters." (from Las Vegas Review Journal, 18 Feb 2001, interview by Ken White).

The 1980s also saw his role in Fugard's play Master Harold ...and the boys filmed with Matthew Broderick and John Kani.



Zakes Mokae Roar  


Starring Tippi Hedron (from The Birds) and her daughter, a young Melanie Griffith with puppy fat. Noel Marshall, husband of Tippi, directs in 1981- it is his first film as director and it shows.

Tippi Hedron   Melanie Griffith

He does however walk among the lions, including trying to stop a lion fight.  His relationship with the lions is amazing.

Zakes Mokae Roar

This is a sentimental film, made to raise funds for Hedron´s Roar Foundation for animals at the Sambala Preserve. It comprises a weak and silly plot mixed with footage of lions and (imported) tigers playing with humans. The acting (of the humans) is at times incredibly bad. The only memorable scenes are of the lions after some have been slaughtered by hunters, powerful imagery...

Zakes Mokae Roar

... and the opening, a motorbike being driven through the plains racing a giraffe which course easily wins.  If you like lions it is worth buying, and the money goes to charity.

Zakes Mokae in Roar   Roar, Zakes Mokae centre

Zakes Mokae has a minor role as a committee member. Sensibly he avoids the lions and his scenes are with zebras.



Zakes Mokae Knight Rider

Knight Rider

The episode Goliath (2.1), a double length start to the second series. 1982.  A complicated episode with a dual role for Michael Knight...

Knight Rider

...and three or four improbable sub-plots wound together.  Knight and his car KITT face Goliath, a bionic and evil truck. The truck has the same molecular bonded shell as KITT and it is to be sold, along with missiles, to Tsombe Kuna, head of the Pan African Liberation Movement, played by Mokae.  Mokae looks like he is having fun, but if you are involved in a gun battle then hiding behind the missiles doesn't seem a good idea to me.

Zakes Mokae in Knightrider   Zakes Mokae in Knightrider

Zakes Mokae in Knightrider




Zakes Mokae A Caribbean Mystery  

A Caribbean Mystery

Directed by Robert Michael Lewis. 1983.  An Agatha Christie mystery with Helen Hayes as Miss Marples. Mokae plays Capt. Daventry, investigating murders at a holiday resort. But given that Miss Marples solves the case, his role is minimal.  A predictable story, all too obvious clues and all too obvious cliché characters.



Zakes Mokae Master Harold .. and the Boys  

Master Harold ...and The Boys

Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg with Matthew Broderick, John Kani.  Athol Fugard´s famous play made for TV. 1986.

Zakes Mokae and Matthew Broderick in Master Harold   Zakes Mokae and John Kani in Master Harold

Zakes stars alongside other Fugard veteran John Kani and the young Broderick.  The youth and the black servants soon come to reflect the rise of apartheid in South Africa.  Mokae, Kani and Broderick are superb, a great version of a great play.



Zakes Mokae A Different World

A Different World

The episode Dr Cupid (1.15) 1988.  Directed by Regge Life and written by Deanne Stillman.  The series is a spin-off from The Cosby Show and is set in a black college. "A long-lost flame [Mokae playing Marcus] surprises Lettie with a visit. The couple worked together to publish incendiary material about the South African government, but she rejected his marriage proposal because she could not sacrifice her dreams. Marcus leaves after an argument, but Denise gets him to come back by making a radio dedication in Lettie's name. Marcus explains to Lettie that he is not trying to win her back; he is happily married, and simply wanted to give her a photo of his daughter- whom he named after Lettie."

The description comes from epguides (thanks for permission to quote).

Zakes Mokae A Different World   Zakes Mokae A Different World

 Zakes Mokae A Different World



Zakes Mokae The Hogan Family

The Hogan Family

The episode Strangers on a Train (4.10), directed by Richard Correll, 1989.  Stories of Martin Luther King and apartheid in South Africa stir Mark and Willie into action.  Mokae plays Thomas Mambukwe.  Info from

Zakes Mokae in The Hogan Family



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