#LLAInterview – “I want to be remembered for my craft, the girl that stayed in her lane and changed the media space.” Bonang Matheba
We are excited to bring you our interview with Bonang Matheba, OAP and media personality who is also a budding entrepreneur. She’s passionate, hardworking and she is determined to make a difference. Did we mention that she is an indisputable fashion icon? Every outfit is a hit back to back. How does she manage to do it all? Find out in our interview with her.
Hello Bonang. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Well Hello! Let me take it way back. I was born in the North West, Mafikeng but I later moved to Johannesburg and that is where all the magic started. I started my career in JHB and I am still there. Cutting the long story short, I am a business woman, entertainer, presenter, fashion lover and also a radio DJ.
Has it always been your dream to be an OAP/ media personality?
Yes, definitely. It has always been my dream to be a media personality. Obviously, when I started I was more focused on being a TV presenter but while in gist of things, the dream got bigger and bigger. I am grateful for how things turned out and excited about the future.
It appears that everything you touch becomes gold. How have you been able to achieve all round success in your endeavors and build a strong brand?
Surrounding myself with as much love and positivity motivates me to want to do better all the time, not doing it for myself but also for those that look up to me as a beacon. Also hard work, passion and commitment to my craft and ensuring that I perfect it have contributed to all the achievements. So that mashed up with family support and a strong management team has brought wonders to my life. I appreciate all them truly.
What values/ principles do you live by?
Love – it’s the love that drives the passion of what I do, being true to myself means I will always be authentic in what I do and the brands I align myself with, happiness brings positivity into your life and the more of it the more life seems great.
You launched your first clothing line in 2008 and you now have your lingerie line. Why did you diversify into fashion?
If you know me, you will understand that I love and live fashion. It was just a matter of time really. My Lingerie line, Distraction, with Woolworths SA, gives me the opportunity to be able to encourage women to embrace their bodies and feel great, which makes me feel great about empowering women to love themselves as is.
You are one of the most stylish African women alive today. How did you become a fashion and style icon?
I grew up in a family where women respected and loved dressing up. My mother and aunt were always at the forefront of fashion and I knew I wanted just like them. I loved fashion since and the love has been growing. Following trends, predicting the trends and knowing what goes with Bonang got the world interested, hence the title haha.
Why is it important for women to pay attention to their image and appearance?
It is said that dressing well is some form of good manners and that applies all round. The world can be quite harsh on women, don’t give it an extra reason to. Also looking good is so much fun and can do wonders to your mood.
Do you think it is true that when it comes to career, family and personal life, women cannot have it all?
It really depends on the individual, but I personally say yes. A woman can have it all, with proper planning and time management of course.
You have a very strong social media presence. How were you able to achieve this and how do you consistently keep your fans glued to your page.
The public has to be in love with what you do outside social media for them to search and follow you on their socials. One other thing is I am true to myself; I do and engage what I love only. I guess the world fell in love too. And not forgetting the most important part, most follow me because I serve as an inspiration and motivation to them.
What will you say is your greatest accomplishment so far?
Being honored with the role of Africa’s first African Revlon Ambassador has been a continued accomplishment in my life. A great opportunity that continues to open wonderful doors for me. I was recently crowned the global ambassador for Brazil brand, Ipenama. That is major in my career and I will forever be grateful.
In every success story, there are hurdles that have been surpassed. Can you tell us some of the challenges you faced and how you were able to overcome them?
Like any other person, I have had my own hurdles. Before my breakthrough, I went through a lot of disappointments, auditions and rejections but I remained persistent. I continued going back to the same place I got burned and finally I made it through. And it didn’t end there, I went on to perfect this dream to prevent falling off the ship or just becoming stale within the industry. My advice, NEVER GIVE UP.
Given all that you have accomplished, what’s next for Bonang?
I have always wanted to venture into the international sphere, and I am slowly and surely making my mark. Unfortunately I cannot reveal much right now, but stay tuned.
We all know that you work really hard. What do you do to relax?
It’s either I am out with my partner, friends or just relaxing at my house, catching up with TV. The ultimate relaxation destination for me is home. I just do nothing when I am there.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for my craft, the girl that stayed in her lane and changed the media space. Thanks to media’s positive embrace of the African child, I forsee our continent being a key player in shaping global popular culture and future leaders.
Do you have any advice for women who want to live a successful life but are finding things challenging at the moment?
Never let anyone tell you that you cannot do it or it is impossible. As all things are possible, with the right determination and focus and best of all love for what you do, you will go far and trend while you at it.
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.