‘From prison to small screens’: The inspiring story of Israel Matseke-Zulu

Gomora star Israel Matseke-Zulu is making headlines after a clip from his interview on Podcast and Chill with MacG resurfaced online.

With an illustrious career spanning years, Masteke-Zulu has fast become one of the most sought-after actors.


He has managed to cap his career with several accolades. However, despite his fame, he has opened up about his upbringing and troubles with law enforcement as a teenager.

Many found it surprising that he is among several celebrities who have been nabbed for bad behaviour. In the now-viral clip that has gained thousands of comments and reactions since it dropped on X, formerly Twitter, Matseke-Zulu made it known he stole a car at 12.

His interview is one of the most-watched podcast interviews. During the interview, Masteke Zulu revealed that he lived in a one-room with an extended family, and this later saw him engaging in criminal activities to survive.

Reports have it he was nabbed at the age of 14 in 1987. He was involved in a string of criminal activities, from unlawful entry to burglary. While serving his sentence, he fell in love with acting and became the next big thing to SA’s small screens.

Masteke-Zulu formed a group with fellow inmates called the Abaqobi Drama Group. The group managed to perform at social gatherings, which exposed Matseke-Zulu and other inmates.


After release, he worked with Victory Sonqoba Theatre Company. However, this layer saw him auditioning for several production companies. Masteke-Zulu has starred in several big-budget drama series.

He had his shot to fame with his on-screen character of GP on the SABC1 drama series Gaz’lam from 2002 to 2005. Matseke-Zulu also starred in Yizo Yizo. He also starred in Isibaya.

However, his on-screen character of Don on the Mzansi Magic drama series Gomora is one of his best on-screen characters. He starred alongside award-winning actress Sannah Mchunu, who played the on-screen character of Zodwa.

Matseke-Zulu’s dramatic exit left many concerned. He was shot at point blank by Zodwa, and Matseke Zulu’s rumoured death marked his last dance on the show. However, he said he had left the show for health reasons.

The illness made it difficult for him to walk properly and function well on set during the filming. He has since bounced back after recovering well from a surgery.