What’s cooking with Chef Sphola?


It has come to be known that when Sphola gets involved in a situation, things are bound to get spicy. As the saying goes “if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen”, Sphola, played by Thabang Lefoa, is turning the heat up at Turfloop’s Culinary School.

Born and raised in Tembisa, Thabang attributes his success to the hustle mentality which he got from staying in a township as fast paced as Tembisa. Having always had dreams of being an actor, Thabang states that he had to work extra hard to make his parents sit up and believe in his talent. We recently had a sit down with the charismatic, smooth operator 27 year old, and here’s what’s cooking.

How was it growing up in Tembisa?

1632 will forever be my home. I loved growing up in that township as it has taught me all about the hustle life. That is where I started developing my love for acting and just being a creative person. That is also where I got to develop my township and lingo and just being a smooth guy, true Kasi style.

What motivates Thabang?

My everyday situation. The fact that I grew up in the township and want to make myself proud by working hard and moving out of the township one day. I hustled, trying to get into the entertainment industry for 10 years, sometimes walking far distances around Joburg just to catch an audition.

Sometimes I would get smalls roles that wouldn’t last, I was hungry for my big break. I had a lot to lose if I didn’t make it because I sacrificed so much in my life, so there was no other option but to win.

How easy for you was it to play the “straight talker” character of Sphola?

I didn’t find it difficult at all, like Sphola, I am a straight talker and will express how I feel. People don’t always like what I have to say, but I feel honesty is always the best policy. The issue of racism is also one close to my heart, so playing that storyline out was something I had in me

What are some of the things you would like to see Sphola achieve? And are those hopes in line with what Thabang wants to achieve?

I would definitely like to see Sphola achieving his dream of opening his own internationally recognised Chesa Nyama outlet – by him making that a success, it will show that anyone can achieve their dream no matter the situation they are from.

Sphola was previously on the wrong side of the law, and to see him achieve his

goals would be an inspirational story to the community.

Like Sphola, I also want to be an entrepreneur, it might not be in the form of opening up a restaurant, but I want to inspire black youth with my business mind and skills.

What’s the one word you can’t go a day without saying?

(Laughs) It has to be “Mmata” which means “friend”. Im a friendly guy, so everybody I come into contact with is “mmata” to me.

Lastly, we know Sphola has his story straight in the kitchen, but what about

Thabang? How does he rate in the kitchen? (Laughs) I keep it safe by sticking to the basics, so I’d give myself a 4. I never go hungry when I’m alone because I can put together a wors and pap dish.

Thabang goes on to say, “If you’re not willing to risk, you’re never going to be successful”. We can clearly see that he is willing to risk and take on the Culinary Schools systems, but will he be successful? Let’s wait and see!