TV Plus (South Africa) - - 26 FEBRUARY -

As the smirk­ing devil on Bee (Vanessa Nt­lapo) the boxer’s shoul­der, Le­mogang “Lemo” Tsipa brings a sly men­ace to the role of Smi­ley, the un­der­ground fight pro­moter in box­ing ac­tion se­ries Jab (2016-cur­rent). “Smi­ley is a gang­ster but not like a hardcore gang­ster; he’s more busi­ness-minded,” says laid­back Lemo.

Where is Smi­ley from? KZN, but he came to Langa (in Cape Town) where he was seen as an out­sider and he was bul­lied. How does he keep re­spect in the un­der­world? He does all the talk­ing – then they know that if they mess with him, Smi­ley’s got his right-hand man named Samson (Pa­trick Lav­isa) who does all the dirty work for him. How did they meet? In high school. Smi­ley was bul­lied for be­ing the only Zulu at a Xhosa school (in Langa). Then Samson stopped the bul­ly­ing. They com­bined Smi­ley’s brains and Samson’s strength to build this em­pire. And why the nick­name Smi­ley? He smiles in sit­u­a­tions where you or I wouldn’t. He knew that he was smarter than most of the peo­ple around him, so he just smiled when they dom­i­nated him be­cause he knew that he’d get re­venge. Now he has this con­niv­ing, dark en­ergy. What’s key for un­der­stand­ing your char­ac­ter? His in­tel­lect. He thinks like a chess mas­ter, where he’ll sac­ri­fice one of his pieces to lure you in and once he has you, you’ll do what he wants. What did you think the first time that you dressed as Smi­ley? He’s old school but still con­tem­po­rary. His clothes aren’t re­ally in fash­ion but be­cause they’re well-fit­ting and well-cut, he looks good. I liked his shoes. I’ve got size 11 feet and it was dif­fi­cult to find good shoes in my size but they (adidas high tops) were amaz­ing.

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