To those who may not have known who Bonko Khoza is, he is a South African character actor popularly known for his role as Mqhele Zulu on the Showmax original series The Wife. For almost a decade Bonko has been steadily cementing his reputation as a strong emerging force on South African and international screens. Since his breakout role as Jabz in Necktie Youth in 2015, which earned him a Best Actor Nomination at the Tribeca Film Festival, Bonko Khoza has appeared in a number of films and series alongside celebrated local and international talents.
“I am a son, brother and husband to Lesego Khoza. As a Leo, I would describe myself as energetic and eclectic. Bonko is short for Bonginkosi, which means Thank God in Zulu.”
“My school teachers were never able to pronounce my full name, so whenever someone asked what it means, I’d say, ‘Thank God’. Apart from it being the direct translation of my name, I also think it’s just the perfect phrase; the two most significant words in my eyes, Thank–God. It reminds me to be grateful and not forget where all my blessings come from.” In a candid, “Ask Me Anything,” with Men’s Health the actor opens up about his work, health, fitness routine and taking care of his mental well-being in the industry.
MH: What inspired you to be an actor?
BK: I think just growing up watching movies and seeing all the big A-list stars do their thing made me want to pursue the craft. To be honest, I learnt to speak English by watching movies and mimicking the accents and sounds on the TV. I was so deeply immersed in movies when I was a kid, that I believed I’d end up here, one way or another.
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MH: Take us through your role as Mqhele Zulu on Showmax and what that did for you and your career.
BK: The Role of Mqhele gave me the platform to play on a big national platform. One would call it the ‘Big League’. The role allowed my work to be seen by the entire country and the response has been humbling. I think the country is ready to see more of what I have to offer and that excites me because I have so much to share.
MH: I have noticed you take care of your health on your Instagram. What is your current fitness regimen and nutrition plan to stay in shape?
BK: My workout routines really depend on what I’m working on. I usually create routines specific to the role I’m playing. My baseline routine is a good diet, no carbs, no sugar. I try to work out at least three times a week with a mixture of cardio and strength training. I’m not really a treadmill kind of guy, I prefer a good lap around the block, and my weight training includes full-body circuits or multiple muscle group supersets.
MH: Time is a factor when working out, and it can sometimes be a deterrent for many, how are you able to manage the demands of your acting career and at the same time be able to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle?
BK: Acting is an athletic activity. Any actor knows that you have to be fit to perform well – which means training should already be part of your day-to-day schedule. I try my best to make time for working out at the actual gym, but I always have to stay ready to improvise and make do with what I have – worst case scenario, I always have my resistance bands and dumbbells with me on set or on location.
MH: What is the one thing you do and never skip in your workout routine?
BK: I never skip warm-ups. A warm body is a loose body. I do not want to put my body at risk of injury, so be it jogging, spinning, skipping or star jumps, I need to do something to get my heart rate up before intense workouts.
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MH: Why is it important for you to stay fit and healthy?
BK: I believe in longevity, for me to be able to achieve that, I have to take care of myself. A performing artist like myself works with only two tools and that’s the mind and body – staying fit and healthy ensures that both of those things are well taken care of.
MH: Wellness goes hand in hand with mental well-being. How do you take care of your mental well-being?
BK: You know, once you’ve found a good workout routine and paired it with a healthy diet, you find that the mind automatically follows suit. Meditation is a great way of keeping the mind clear and sharp. The final and most important thing is rest. Rest is just as productive as being active.
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MH: In all the roles you’ve played so far in your career. What was your take away and how have you incorporated that into your life?
BK: My biggest takeaway thus far is that there is power in faith and determination. Hard work really does pay off, I’m excited to push myself to continue pursuing my dreams.
MH: What’s next for Bonko Khoza?
BK: I have a really exciting Netflix feature coming out in 2023. Watch this space.
- The greatest actor of all time? Daniel Day-Lewis.
- The workout you dread? Lunges.
- Favourite place you’ve visited? Mpumalanga
- Go to workout song? Blaq Diamond – Summer Yomuthi
- Best way to unwind? Steam room/Sauna
- What would you do if you weren’t an actor? I’d probably be a magician