Actress trades fame for books

Mahlatse Letoka is enjoying life as a student again.
Mahlatse Letoka is enjoying life as a student again.
Image: Instagram

Ever wondered what happened to the beloved actress Mahlatse Letoka?

Well, nowadays you may just bump into her carrying books on campus at Wits University.

Back in 2017, Generations spokesperson Gaaratwe Mokhethi confirmed to TshisaLIVE that the bubbly character of Xolelwa had come to an end because the character had hit a ceiling and they just did not know what to do with her role anymore.

But, speaking to Sunday World, the actress who played the troublesome character on the popular Mzansi soapie told us that the truth is that she chose education over fame.

Letoka joined Generations in 2015 and her character quickly became one people loved to hate.

But, she says, while the perks of being famous were great, she sacrificed her education to be on the show, a decision that ate away at her conscience.

"When I was on the show I had registered at Wits to study a Bachelor of Accounting Science [degree] and it was so hectic and demanded lectures to be attended every single day, which worked well when I was still a call actor on the show. But when Generations producers and writers decided to promote my character to one of the leads, shoots started taking place every single day. Shoot dates clashed with school all the time, which saw me missing lots of classes."

This led to Letoka making a decision to drop out, even omitting to tell her parents about her choice to leave school for Generations. But it was a decision she would live to regret.

"I'm 21 now, but I was on the show at the age of 18; the youngest person on the main cast at the time. I was very charmed by the glitz and glamour that came with the fame and was very excited.

"I had money and a car and could go anywhere. But then I started feeling depressed, feeling like I'm falling apart. I made wrong friends in the industry who also betrayed me at some point. Everything just became depressing, and all the while the fact that I had dropped out without telling my parents and only told them at the end of the year when it was time for results, was eating me up. So I felt like a mess."

Letoka says that when the 12-month contract with Generations came to an end, she had a decision to make, and this time she ensured that she chose wisely.

"I had a meeting with the head writer and he asked me if I want this [being on the show] or school, and I told him I want to focus on school," she said.

Letoka is currently studying a BCom in corporate finance and investment at Wits and says that she couldn't be happier.

"I've always believed that my purpose was to inspire the youth positively, and one of my biggest passions has always been encouraging youngsters to go to and stay in school.

"So I had to lead by example. How could I tell anyone of the power of education while I myself chose to focus on fame and neglect my studies?"

Letoka says she still wants to pursue acting in future and believes that being a chartered accountant will enable her to have a better grasp of the business side of her craft.

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