Zakes Mokae

Active - 1962 - 1998  |   Born - Aug 5, 1934   |   Died - Sep 11, 2009   |   Genres - Drama, Horror, Comedy Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Zakes Mokae was for nearly twenty years one of the top stage actors in South Africa. Despite the many racial barriers inflicting his part of the world, Mokae, who is black, was applauded with equal fervor by audiences of all races. His first film role was a Haitian in 1967's The Comedians. Though retaining his South African citizenship, Mokae made most of his screen appearances in international productions. He was also a frequent visitor to U.S. television, usually cast as a doctor or scientist; conversely, in 1978 he played the convict friend of imprisoned baseball whiz Levar Burton in the made-for-TV biopic One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story and in 1991 he was seen as a gunslinger in Parker Kane. After essaying the politically volatile role of Father Kani in Cry Freedom (1987), Zakes Mokae found it necessary to move to America permanently.

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