Darren Kelkens is a South African actor, director and voice artist best known for his role as Joe Smith on the M-Net soap opera Egoli: Place of Gold, from 1997-2008.
Born in Cape Town and raised in Cape Town and Pretoria, Darren is the son of Otto Kelfkens and Sandra Glover and has three brothers (Brett, Regan and Kane) and two sisters (Shani and Kirsty).
His first steps on stage were taken at Lyttleton Manor High School - in a production called Die Rooi Duiwel se As. He matriculated from Lyttleton Manor HS in 1982.
After school and a compulsory stint in the army he ended up working for the Cape City Council as a draughtsman, followed by a seven year stint in the insurance industry.
One day, after staring at a pile of files on his desk, he decided that he did not want to get to 75 and realise he had wasted his life. So he resigned and embarked on his professional acting career, which got off to a rocky start.
After a few years of experience in amateur theatre in Cape Town (for the Milnerton Players) he moved on to professional theatre, radio, film and television. He worked as an actor and spent a few years as a stuntman, primarily falling off horses.
In 1991 he notched up his first professional experiences in all three major mediums: television, film and theatre. In television he began appearing in commercials, in theatre he starred in a production of There's a Girl in my Soup (directed by Sheila McCormick) and he also played a cameo in the Dirk de Villiers comedy film Kalahari Harry.
Other theatre productions he has acted in include Deathtrap (1994); The Angel, the Bicycle and the Chinaman's Finger (1996); West Side Story (1996); A Streetcar Named Desire (1998); and My Aand Met Arne for Henry Mylne, which included the English version - My Night with Reg - from 2003-2005.
His favourite roles include 'Halfjack' in the Cape Town stage production of The Angel the Bicycle and the Chinaman's Finger and 'Stanley Kowalski' in A Streetcar Named Desire - the role upon which the character of Joe in Egoli was eventually based.
In 1996 Darren presented the show RCI Escapes and landed a supporting role in The Adventures of Sinbad, which he appeared in for two seasons.
After doing about 100 auditions a year until then - and being rejected almost as many times - he finally landed his breakout role in 1997, the role of Joe Smith in Egoli. He continued to play the role until the show's penultimate season, in 2008.
In 2009 he made guest appearances on the SABC3 series Unsung Heroes and in the e.tv soapie Rhythm City.
Kelfkens has also acted in a number of ilms since his debut in 1991, including Day Trip (1995), The Cape of Storms (1996), From Dusk 'til Dawn 2 (1997) and The Bang Bang Club, in 2009.
In 2004 Darren began training as a director under the Head Director of Egoli, Ken Leach. From 2005-2009 he directed over 120 episodes of Egoli, using both singlecam and multicam setups.
His responsibilities included artistic control over all aspects of production, including cinematography, acting, crew and art department. His post-production work also included editing.
Darren is fully bilingual. Other talents include golfing, horse riding, surfing and skydiving. He also plays guitar.
Darren currently resides in Johannesburg and has a son, Oliver.