Thapelo Mokoena is a South African actor and television presenter best known for presenting the first season of the South African version of the reality competition Fear Factor, in 2005.
Mokoena was born under a tree 22 kilometres from the nearest hospital in the KwaZulu-Natal town of Ladysmith, in 1982. His father is Sotho and his mother is Zulu.
He completed his schooling in Ladysmith before moving to Johannesburg to pursue a degree in accounting, which he gave up in favour of studying filmmaking.
Upon finishing his course at film school he made an instant impact in acting when he landed the role of Gabriel, the bodyguard of Karabo Moraka (played by Connie Ferguson), on the SABC1 soapie Generations.
In the show he famously (and scandalously) had a torrid love affair with Karabo, which made a lasting impression on fans of the show. Initially contracted for three months, he ended up playing the role for six months.
In 2006 he took over the role of Vusi from Fezile Mpela for the second season of the SABC1 drama series Mzansi.
Also in 2006, he was cast as the presenter of the first season of Fear Factor South Africa, which aired on e.tv. He was replaced for the second season by Lungile Radu, as he was filming a British television series at the time.
He replaced Pepi Khambule as the lead character, Bongani Thwala, for the third season of the SABC1 drama series Mtunzini.com, which aired in 2009.
Khambule was fired from the role after demanding better wages and working conditions in March 2008.
Thapelo was the host of the second season of the SABC1 reality competition Rize Mzansi, in 2010. He replaced Tshepo Ngwane as presenter.
He was one of the celebrities to compete in the sixth season of the SABC3 reality competition Strictly Come Dancing, in 2013.
In 2014 he hosted the e.tv reality makeover series Sinawe72.
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