Exuding both charm and courage, Eastern Cape-born Loyiso McDonald (30) encompasses all adjectives used to describe the term gentleman.
From his calm and articulate persona to the dashing dimple which appears only when and if needed (or so I’d like to think) McDonald stands to be the next best thing in telenovela spaces.
A man of few words, McDonald explains his Scottish surname to be from his mother’s side. “McDonald is actually my mother’s maiden name, it belonged to my great, great grandfather who found himself a beautiful chocolate wife and well, as fate would have it, it then became my mother’s father’s and stuck with me.”
Proud of his Scottish lineage, McDonald was born in the Eastern Cape but later moved to Pinetown in KwaZulu-Natal where he and his family of four lived to date.
“At primary school I was very naughty, which kind of calmed down in high school. I didn’t go to parties but wasn’t the A student also. However I loved and excelled in extra mural actives,” says the Mzansi Magic telenovela The Queen lead character actor.
For this young man, being aligned with one’s destiny is key as something you learn through experience – and he is testament to that. Though he has never taken any formal acting training, he thanks his mother who introduced him to the art as a child.
“I just developed an affinity for acting when I was young, I was five, six years old and attending acting lessons that my mother had taken me to. I remember really enjoying it.”
His journey to stardom is one that resonates with most of South African youths who strive to find the balance between financial contentment and passion, having first worked at a call centre then later a bank, young McDonald admits to not having lasted long in the corporate environment.
In 2006 he decided to take the leap and left his job without an idea of what life had in store for him.
“I left my job in the April and spent about two weeks in the library reading books with hope that one of them would spark a fire in me and I would then know what it is I need to do.”
Needless to say it was actually a pamphlet from a newly developed acting and speech school in Durban which caught his fancy as he was walking out of the library.
Having signed up to the school for a period of six months, enthusiastic McDonald invested not only his last savings into his next career path but his winning spirit allowed him to excel in his efforts which later resulted in him landing a role in a theatre production in 2007.
“I had been doing theatre for four years and I needed a new challenge, so I ventured into film as I was keen to learn new skills and even that came with the decision of choosing between Cape Town and Joburg, we both know the answer to that,” he says.
It was only in 2012 that Loyiso McDonald made his debut on our TV screens as a character on SABC 3’s daily soapie Isidingo. But it is with his latest character portrayal of Kagiso Khoza in The Queen that McDonald has fast become a household name.
“When I first heard about the show and character I was excited, you don’t get to witness as much character growth and development in a show as people have with Kagiso and The Queen, which excites me,” adds McDonald.
Being part of the Khoza family, McDonald plays a character who is still in his early to mid-20s, still on the quest to self-discovery but however conflicted by his high self-righteous morals and his drug lord family business.
Young Kagiso has taken over the reins from his elder half-brother and uncle and is challenged to salvage what’s left of the business.
Catch Loyiso McDonald as Kagiso Khoza in The Queen – Monday to Thursday on Mzansi Magic (channel 161) at 8.30pm.