Everybody knows Bonang Matheba, she is “South Africa’s favourite media personality. A radio host, tv presenter and style icon- she is known for her electric personality, husky voice and magnetic smile. A global brand ambassador for Revlon Cosmetics, this award winning entertainer is also SA’s number 1 social media Queen!”
Bonang was in Lagos this weekend to host the 10th anniversary of the Future Awards and at an exclusive media dinner organized by PR maven, Latasha Ngwube; I was able to have a quick sit-down with her to discuss life, career and all that good stuff. Bonang was such a delight to interview; quick, knowledgeable and engaging and clearly in control of her career and future.
Hi Bonang, its lovely to meet you. Thank you so much for taking out this time to speak to us.
Hi Adaku, its no problem at all. Us fabulous people have to stick together!
*preens a bit at being called fabulous by Queen B herself*
Can you give us a brief rundown of your career trajectory; from your first start in entertainment to the IT girl of Africa that you are now.
I started at the age of 16 doing kids shows, but my first big break in South Afria was a live music show, which aired every Friday night in South Africa called ‘Live’. My career grew from strength to strength by that point and my next opportunity was to do a show called ‘Top Billing’, which is the premium lifestyle and magazine show in South Africa. From there I got into radio on Metro FM, then I got the Revlon brand ambassadorship. I also have a lingerie line at Woolworths. It definitely didn’t happen overnight, it was a progression. I’ve been working sine the age of 16 and I’m just starting to see the fruits of my hard work over the past two, three years.
Why and how did you transition from tv to radio, because its usually the other way round?
I was on tv for a long time and I remember a friend saying to me “Bonang your voice is so powerful, its so strong and unique, you should try getting into radio”. I started on a youth radio station called Y FM and two years ago I joined the biggest commercial urban radio station in the Southern hemisphere; Metro FM and its been fantastic. I’m more comfortable on tv because I’ve done it for so much longer but the reception has been awesome and my show is one of the biggest on Metro FM. I’m always just so grateful.
You are also a global Brand Ambassador for Revlon Cosmetics and the first and only woman outside the United States to receive that particular honor. How did it feel to join the ranks of Halle Berry, Olivia Wilde and Emma Stone?
That was in 2013 and when I was first approached it was a bit of a “huh, are you serious, are you okay?” The funny thing is my brand ambassadorship didn’t launch for 12 months after the deal was confirmed, so I had to keep the secret for a year. It was the biggest and longest secret I’ve ever had to keep. It has definitely been my biggest career highlight. Its one of those things you don’t imagine can ever happen so you don’t even pray for it or plan for it because its so beyond your wildest dreams.
You’re also a very stylish woman, you’ve been featured on numerous magazine covers; won Most Stylish Celebrity in South Africa, Most Stylish Female Celebrity and the 2011 SA Style Award for The Most Stylish Media Personality amongst others; as well as owing a very successful fashion range. How would you describe your personal style and what are your fashion do’s and dont’s?
My personal style is very glamorous and simplistic with a touch of OTT. I like to say I’m always overdressed, always a little bit over the top. I always say I’d rather be overdressed than underdressed. I hardly ever follow trends and my style is always directed by mood and how I’m feeling at that particular moment. My fashion do will be to be comfortable, fashion is about expressing yourself, don’t go with what everybody else is doing. Have fun, play around, don’t spend too much money on it, just make sure its an extension of who you are, how you’re feeling and your personality.
You are also the official muse of Gert-Johan Coetzee’s, a South African designer well known for dressing both South African and international celebrities at red carpet events. What’s that like?
I’ve been with GJC as I like to call him for about 4 years now, he’s the man behind all my red carpet looks and I’m also the face of his couture line. I helped him launch and he’s always been very very loyal to me. Its amazing to find somebody like him, almost like finding a fantastic hairstylist. Someone that understands me, I don’t have to say too much, he understands my body, my style, the woman that I am. Its really an honour and its very rare to find somebody that loyal, that amazing, that creative, and that’s a relationship I cherish very much.
You recently launched an online reality show called, B*Dazzled- which sees you inviting the public into your glamorous and incredibly stylish life. What has it been like starring in your own reality show?
My reality show is a little snippet I decided to put online just to test the waters a bit, see how it goes and the reception has been phenomenal, beyond anything I could ever have imagined. The response to it has been so warm that (fingers crossed), we might see a transition to television very soon. There’s something very big, an international deal that’s cooking and it’ll all come to light very soon, just stay tuned.
The people really want to know, what’s your skin care regimen?
I drink a lot of water, I’m lactose intolerant so I don’t take any dairy. I never sleep with makeup and I exfoliate my face twice a week, I wash my face twice a day and I wear lots of sunscreen. Lots of Revlon as well, good quality make up goes a long way.
What’s your fitness regime?
I go to a fitness class called ‘Switch’; a female only boutique studio using carefully designed fitness and nutritional programs to enhance women’s bodies;on Mondays and Tuesdays and work out for about an hour on those days. For the rest of the week, I don’t have a lot of time so I rely on Mondys and Tuesdays to keep everything in check. I watch what I eat, drink a lot of water. I’m not a fitness guru but I dedicate two days a week to myself, my mind, my body and my soul.
Before this interview, I revealed on Twitter that I was going to be interviewing you and basically put out an open call for anyone who had questions for you, a lot of which have contributed to this interview today. The very first question I got was to ask you the meaning of your moniker, ‘Nomvula’?
Nomvula is a name I was given by my listeners on my radio show; The Front Row on Metro FM. Nomvula is the name of a song by a South African artist called Nathi and I was the person responsible for making it such a hit, the song went platinum, was sold out everywhere. I became so associated with the song, my fans started calling me Nomvula. It also means ‘the woman who’s responsible for rain’ , which can easily translate to ‘the rainmaker’ (which I like to think of myself as) It’s also a play on the word ‘reign’ as well because I reign supreme.
I know this isn’t your first time in Lagos, you’ve been here before and now you’re back again. What do you like most about Lagos?
I love the people, that’s what makes Lagos, the people are absolutely incredible. They’re kind, hospitable, loving, receptive. I get a lot of love here and its always a bit perplexing.
Last but not least, the question everybody wants to know. Is there anyone special in your life?
Of course, my work! I’m in love with my work, I’m obsessed with my work, I’m married to my work so everything else comes second. That’s the most important thing in my life now. That’s the best kind of relationship because my job will never let me down, unlike everybody else, so that’s what I focus on.
Thank you so much Bonang, for this lovely interview.
photocredits: bonangmatheba.com, yomzansi.com, mediaguide.ng, onobello.com, justcurious.co.za, observer.org.sz, channel24.co.za