He practically grew up on the series. Viewers watched him evolve from a teenager living in Turfloop with well-off parents to a full adult. He became a teenager father, went to university, got his first job and married his high school sweetheart and in the process had viewers eating out of his hands.
Thabo 'Tbose' Maputla has been a fixture in the SABC1 drama series, Skeem Saam, until recently.
Limpopo born actor Cornet Mamabolo (31) left the series to focus on his insurance business. He tells us about his time in the industry, his work and fatherhood journey.
“I only started taking the arts seriously when I was in grade 10, it was mostly theatre work and arts activities such as dance, acting and poetry. I realised it was my passion when were introduced to stage theatre performance. When I went for my first TV audition, I got the role of Tbose on Skeem Saam. [It was] when I couldn’t continue with my studies at Wits University because of financial exclusion. It came with a lot, I was young and had no idea what television was. I got to act amongst the best in industry.”
Cornet studied for a BA in Dramatic Arts at the University of Witwatersrand but couldn’t complete his qualification. But that didn't stop him from pursuing a career in the arts and he says that he is grateful for the opportunities that came his way since.
He now runs an insurance company called Digni financial services that offers funeral policies, employee benefits and underwriting.
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“I started my business after being exposed to insurance and I developed an interest to sell underwriting. I started as a financial advisor but then I saw a gap in the industry and how policies are structured. I saw that it was not fully catering to how African structures are designed, and I realised that our grannies were being marginalised because of age. We see extended family as immediate family and we cater to polygamous marriages.”
When he's not working, he enjoys being a father to two beautiful girls, Omphile and Lesedi and he says that fatherhood has been a journey and biggest role that he is grateful for.
“Children ground you, they make you a better person. Even the concepts I struggled with as a man began to make more sense when I became a father. My kids have made me a better man and I no longer live for myself. I have learnt to prioritise them, and I take that seriously, I have done so many things because of them like starting a foundation and partaking in initiatives that better the lives of others.”
When he is not on screen or running a successful business, Cornet enjoys cycling on mountains and taking hikes. He believes in keeping fit through the things one enjoys and loves.
“Cycling is beautiful. I owned a bicycle for some time before deciding to take up cycling. Mountain cycling is amazing, you get to explore nature and meet amazing people while you are at it. I get people direct messaging me about where I am cycling, and they would come join me. It’s a beautiful space to be in,” he says.
He enjoys it when people contact him about his work and cycling.
“It’s very important to appreciate the people that celebrate your work. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, it is always amazing when people honour your work. I look at it as people celebrating me and my work. I like heart to heart to other people.”
He has a foundation that focusses on revamping rural education by travelling to rural areas around the country to provide schools with necessities such as books, stationery and even libraries.
“I was going to communities and schools to motivate people. I also went to jails to encourage inmates, every time I went home, I would see my peers and see how some of them succumb to drug abuse and I told myself that I should do my best to make a change in the rural areas. I created the foundation to help schools and communities. Rural students are more underprivileged than those in the townships and so I want to focus on them for now. We are working on building a centre in Limpopo, it takes time because we are funding ourselves.”