Having earned a reputation as one of the biggest television and radio personalities in South Africa, the ambitious Bonang Matheba, like every other human, is insatiable and wants more.
Bonang, who can’t be talked-about without mentioning D’banj in the same breath, aspires to expand her frontiers into the continental stage as she continues to take advantage of social media to push her brand beyond South Africa.
The co-host of The Future Awards Africa 2015 sat with the YNaija team at the Zazaii store in Victoria Island, for a chat that bordered on her career surge, relationship status, and definitely D’banj.
You are well known in South Africa for your radio and television shows, but in Nigeria you are relatively known. Who is Bonang Matheba?
I am a South African TV host and a radio DJ. I have a show on Metro FM and I do Mondays to Fridays 10am to 12 mid-day. It’s a fabulous show and one of the biggest shows in the country. I also do Afternoon Express which is my everyday talk show on SABC 3 and I also host a show called Top Billing which is the premium luxury lifestyle magazine show in South Africa.
I’m also quite a fashionista as I am big on the blogs and social media platforms, but in Nigeria, I am known mostly for my fashion. A lot of the incredible bloggers have picked me up in Nigeria because of my Instagram page as I am social media driven and a lot of my things happen on social media. I have been getting quite a lot of support from YNaija, BellaNaija, and Linda Ikeji. I am falling in love with this country.
What’s striking about Nigeria for you?
I have been here about a couple of times but this is my first official visit in a working capacity. I feel it’s the people. Everywhere I go, the weather is fantastic, the food is good but it’s the people. I find Nigerians especially the ones in Lagos a little more loving and little more supportive.
I’m Cancer which means my life rotates around my family and that’s what I found out about Nigerians. They are very spiritual as I can connect easily. They love family, they love food and religion. They are very spirited and strong in their beliefs. The fun, the night life and everything about them is incredible.
Another thing I like about Nigerians is they are very fashion savvy and I think that’s how I caught their attention and the bloggers are quite obsessed with my fashion sense and how I put things together.
Having conquered radio and TV presenting, ever thought of going into acting?
I did a documentary in South Africa called Intersections. It’s the biggest documentary in South Africa. I’m not very strong when it comes to acting and I’d rather stick to things that I know I can do and enjoy. TV hosting and Radio DJíng are my strong points. I am a very big celebrity with that back home.
So you won’t delve into music at any point?
Music? No. I think I wouldn’t do a good job.
You have excelled in using social media to push, build and establish your brand. How and why did you embrace this approach?
I saw it with other people. The bloggers that are very popular. American bloggers, Australian bloggers that have penetrated the global entertainment fashion sphere and I thought this is something I can do especially in Africa.
It’s been really successful especially Instagram. I have leveraged on the consciousness of how successful a brand can be built from just Tweeting and Instagraming, Facebooking, Snapchats and all of that stuff.
In one word describe Nigerian men
They are tall glasses of dark chocolate and I am obsessed with them. They are so tall, very strong, dark and very gentleman like. That’s how I can describe Nigerian men.
Can we delve into that a little?
I’d rather we focus on The Future Awards and me being in this incredible space and being here for work. Yes I know of my connection with D’banj but for now I’d rather we speak about The Future Awards.
What’s the next step for you personally and career-wise?
Personally I’m at a point in my career where I want to give other women the opportunity to walk the path I’ve been in, to be in the spaces I’ve been in, give them opportunities to be on radio and TV or be in the entertainment industry.
I’m also at a point in my career where I want to do a continental take over. I’ve done the Southern hemisphere and I really want to move up to the North, East and West of Africa and really see how my brand can grow.
The reception has really been incredible. I didn’t know I was this known in Nigeria until I stepped onto the red carpet of The Future Awards Africa 2015. So this opportunity was just absolutely perfect.
With all these aspirations and your busy schedule, how do you make time for your personal life?
I don’t. I don’t even have a relationship at the moment. I am married to my work and my career and I think when that changes, then I’ll be able to have a successful relationship.
So you are in the work-phase at this point in time?
Yes! I am 28. And when you are in your twenties, you are to establish your brand and make sure you have the foundation laid and after that, you can focus on your relationship but my relationship is definitely my work as it takes all of my time. In the morning I do radio, in the afternoon I do TV then I travel frequently. So until I am settled, happy and content and get to a certain level of success, then I’ll find time.
How do you respond to backlash and nasty comments from social media?
I don’t. When I see them, I just ignore them. I hardly respond to anyone that is mean unless they catch me at a very bad time. I realised that when you ignore them, everybody else ignores them. For instance, I get 90% love and 10% hate , so I’d rather take that energy and focus on the 90% of the people who really love and appreciate me rather than focusing on that 1 person out of 10.
So that means you hardly respond to hate comments?
I hardly ever respond on Twitter and I have had quite a number of them and I hardly ever respond. I think silence is what wins you the war.