It started as a childhood pastime; the love for television sets and their remote controls. Tweaking and tuning became a daily affair for the six year old. Tebogo Malope grew up with this strong love for fixing and tuning television sets, it became obvious that this love would not be short lived but a lifelong undertaking for the lad.
Malope was born in Soweto, South Africa, the last of four boys. As a teenager, he discovered a new passion, making and telling stories based on his community and church. Well this is no surprise with a preacher’s son as most of what he knew or did as a young boy revolved around his church and so must be seen in his stories. This passion stayed with him and as he grew older, it became clearer and more definite; you know like the saying about old wine. Few years later, he started gaining work experience in the dramatic arts: directing community theatre plays and earning money by tuning and tweaking his neighbour’s television sets.
Soon Malope was frequently seen on movie sets, matching faith with action. It was one of these days that proved to be extraordinary for the 29 year old preacher’s son. Apparently there is a day for everyone and this one happened to be Malope’s. While on set in Johannesburg, he got introduced to Spike Lee, a filmmaker in Johannesburg; it was that moment that sealed his passion for filmmaking and opened up several opportunities for him, one of which was to enroll in a film school. He immediately took the opportunity which was soon muffled by the lack of funds, but Malope was very determined, a virtue that has always remained part of him. He importuned Harriet Gayson (MD Quizzical Pictures) for months to fix him on set. That was how he got a position as a non-paying camera trainee, a job he did for months and which of course became his launch pad to destiny.
Malope has worked in several capacities; he has worked as a camera assistant on set for TV series, camera operator, director of productions, film writer; before serving as second unit director on the award-winning A Country Imagined, starring Johnny Clegg. He has directed more than 14 plays, several documentaries and reality shows, 3 feature films and more than 10 commercials. He has also done some title sequences, sitcoms, magazine shows, music videos and has published an anthology of photographs with Pako Magabane, called Black Ambition: Life in Two Lenses.
This ever focused film maker now has more than 130 productions under his belt within a 9- year film making career, an average of 14 productions a year and has worked in more than 20 countries around the world. He is also a freelance writer for www.mahala.co.za and has published a photographic book called “black ambition”.
His recent work was as a director in “Tempy pushas” and “Skeem Saam”; drama series showed on SABC 1.
It is clear that this is just the beginning for this determined African genius, as he continues to make his mark through story telling.