Fezile Makhanya has audiences on tenterhooks
Fezile Makhanya's tour de force performance on The Queen has earned him a place in the high table of leading men.
Makhanya, 34, portrays the super- wealthy and Maserati-driving Tebogo Ncube - charming and cool on the outside but manipulative and devious on the inside.
He has a vicious temper he unleashes on the sweet Kea, played by Dineo Moeketsi, and has viewers equally on tenterhooks and up in arms, just as he hurts Kea.
"I took my time, did my research, spent time watching people... there's so much you can learn there. My biggest concern was that Tebogo had to be believable.
"So I sat down and spoke to Moeketsi on set, on how we could better the relationship between Tebogo and Kea so that it is convincing," he says.
This investment paid off, as they struck up a great rapport and chemistry that the audiences are buying into.
"Tebogo doesn't shout when he's angry. It's in his eyes. It took a lot from me to play this guy. I came home emotionally tired. I would take a shower and sleep.
"The reception has been amazing. If they hate you as a character and a person you know that you've done a good job."
As time turns the page, Makhanya continues to prove his worth in the industry.
Not only is he splendid in The Queen, he also stars in Unmarried, also on Mzansi Magic.
It has been a cleverly calculated career move and a manoeuvre towards greatness. "I took a decision last year to play challenging roles and get rid of the Sandile character from Rockville. I wanted to be the opposite and see how far I could take it," he says.
He has done a bit of everything from continuity, sport and music presenting plus acting roles in Gaz'lam in 2003, where he had two scenes. He has also featured in productions such as Jozi Streets, Backstage, and Zone 14.
"I was 19 when I came to Joburg from home in Esikhawini [northern KwaZulu-Natal] and was the youngest Channel O presenter at the time.
"I came to play rugby but I had to put those dreams aside because I wanted to do some commercials on the side so that I could pay for my schooling."
While still finding his feet, his brother-in-law showed him some banking reading and that triggered the idea of wanting to be a stockbroker.
He says while working on SABC1 as a continuity presenter he still studied for his exams in between links. He graduated with a BCom financial risk degree from University of South Africa (Unisa).
When he couldn't land a corporate job, he focused on entrepreneurship and now has interests in construction and property development. Makhanya has been married for three years and his journey to fitness has made him #bodygoals on Instagram as he flashes his chiselled torso.
"I wanted to look good as a married man and for my partner.
"When I started, the intention was to inspire. I train five to six days a week for two hours. Gym helped me through tough times, I go there for therapy."
Makhanya says he wishes his next role is that of a man that is well-respected in
society but very different at home, loved by the public but not at home.