I remember the first time I ever saw Bonang Matheba on Television; I was on the floor, as children at my house were not allowed to sit on the sofas. I was sitting next to my grandfather’s legs. I was around 13 years old and was waiting to watch my favourite show at the time, a music show that aired on SABC 1 every Friday night at 9 pm called Live.
I was captured by her deep and layered voice, her sense of fashion, and the way she commanded attention with just her skills. Her name was Bonang. Since then Bonang has risen to unimaginable fame in South Africa and internationally. But what do we know about her?
Who is Bonang?
Mo’ghel was born on June 25, 1987, in Mahikeng, North West to mother Charlotte Mokoena and father Gampi Matheba. Her parents are no longer together and while Bonang isn’t one to share about her private life, it is known that she has two siblings.
According to a special interview she did with E! in 2002, she made her debut on the SABC 2 kids’ show Manhattan Fantasy Challenge when she was 15. In the interview, Bonang says that in 2007 she auditioned for the SABC 1 music show Live (now Live Amp) after leaving varsity.
She was later crowned the winner of the show to co-host alongside Tbo Touch. Her presenting skills were a huge success and she was given the beloved nickname, Queen B. She later announced that she was leaving Live, with her final episode airing on 31 August 2012.
After she left the show, she hosted several other shows including Clash of the Choirs SA, Afternoon Express, Top Billing, and KFC Taste Kitchen
Bonang’s fame comes with some scandals
Unfortunately, Bonang’s personal life, like her career, started to become entertainment, especially when she started dating South African DJ Euphonik. In the beginning, the relationship was fairly undercover and very private, other than a few pictures here and there, the public didn’t really know much about the couple. That is until 2012 when according to Sowetan Live Bonang filed assault charges against the DJ. The charges were later dropped and according to the Sowetan, Euphonik denied and has continued to deny, any type of abuse against Bonang. He has instead accused Bonang of being violent.
That was not the only scandal that has followed Bonang. According to ENCA in an unexpected turn of events in 2015, DJ Zinhle announced on her website that the father of her child, rapper AKA, had been cheating on her with Bonang. It was news that shook the whole country, as AKA and Bonang ended up announcing they were dating. The relationship didn’t last long and came with its own drama. But we won’t get into that.
Despite it all Bonang has continued to shine
The negativity hasn’t stopped Bonang from fighting for her goals and her achievements are so admirable. According to her website in 2019 Bonang won the coveted Award for Best Inspiration, Influence at the prestigious Global Social Awards held in Prague, Czech Republic. She also won Africa Influencer of the Year at the first-ever E! Entertainment People’s Choice Awards, held in Los Angeles, California.
In 2020 Bonang was chosen as one of Forbes’ 50 Most Powerful Women in Africa, also gracing the cover of the Forbes Women Africa’s March issue.
She has made sure that she uses her stardom to give back. Bonang is an inspiration to young girls all over the country. She has created The Bonang Matheba Bursary Fund, which aims to provide 300 young ladies an opportunity to tertiary education by the year 2025. The inspiration behind The Bonang Matheba Bursary Fund was the student uprisings in 2016, known as #FeesMustFall. She wanted to contribute to a solution; she collaborated with the ONE Campaign to fight poverty, and also successfully leads the #GirlsCount campaign.
She is just getting started
In March 2019, she launched her own luxury beverage brand, the HOUSE OF BNG, with the introduction of a range of MCCs (Brut and Brut Rose), recently expanding the range with a Prestige Reserve release.
She also had her own reality show called Being Bonang, which was a hit with South African audiences but she decided to stop doing reality TV. She has also been involved in the award-winning documentary “Public Figure” which she both starred in and co-produced. Bonang is also an ambassador for Global Citizen.
Here are some interesting facts about Bonang you may not have known:
• Her middle name is Dorothy.
• She has two brothers.
• Her family nicknamed her Mafanda, which means superstar.
• She wanted to be a teacher
• She has had a few of her own fashion ranges like Baby Star, her bag range, Distraction, an underwear line for Woolworths, and Bonang By Bonang, a T-shirt range.
• Bonang also has a best-selling autobiography called From A to B.
• She wears a size five shoe.
Do you know why Bonang continues to be an inspiration? She represents what every black girl child strives to be. Seeing someone who looks like them taking up space in areas where it wasn’t easy to do before. Find your own Bonang and let no one stand in your greatness.
If you liked this, why not read about Africa’s coolest kid here?
Tell us: What about Bonang’s journey do you find inspiring?