CityPress - - Front Page - NTOMBIZODWA MAKHOBA ntombizodwa@city­

‘There I was, my life was per­fect in the eyes of ev­ery­one, but in­side I was dy­ing. How was I go­ing to deal with this; is there a cure for it? There is no cure for it. Do I take treat­ment and sur­vive it or am I go­ing to die within six months?” writes so­cialite Somizi Mh­longo in his mem­oir, Domi­noes: Un­break­able Spirit.

He went on an emo­tional roller coaster af­ter a doc­tor, giv­ing him the re­sults of med­i­cal tests, told him that all was clear, ex­cept for one ter­mi­nal dis­ease.

“To this day I haven’t had the courage or the need to say which one it is be­tween can­cer, HIV and di­a­betes,” Mh­longo (44) says.

Ev­ery­one around him said he only had a month to live, but God had other plans for him, he says.

Even though he has been liv­ing with the ter­mi­nal dis­ease for some time, Mh­longo is still pos­i­tive about life and hasn’t al­lowed it to dampen his spir­its. He says writ­ing the emo­tional book didn’t weigh heav­ily on him, but he won­ders whether some­one not as strong as he is would man­age.

“I can’t be­lieve that to this day I’ve pulled through. Ev­ery­body had given up. Ev­ery­one was say­ing ‘lona [this one] he’s got a month to live’,” Mh­longo told City Press this week ahead of the launch of his mem­oir on Wed­nes­day. His book will also be avail­able at Ex­clu­sive Books stores on Wed­nes­day.

“If I man­aged to sur­vive this, noth­ing is go­ing to be hard for me any­more in this world,” he says.

He first thought about writ­ing a tell-all book about six years ago when ev­ery­thing around him came crash­ing down. That, along with mu­si­cian and ac­tor Brian Temba’s hit sin­gle, Domi­noes, in­spired the book’s ti­tle. Mh­longo says he felt it was the per­fect ti­tle to sum up his life’s jour­ney.

“Since I was born I’ve been break­ing down walls, hur­dles and ob­sta­cles ... they fall like domi­noes. My story is that of walls fall­ing like domi­noes,” he says. Not look­ing to be pitied

Mh­longo re­calls feel­ing very ill a few years ago and de­cid­ing to go for a med­i­cal check-up “just to be aware of what was go­ing on” with his health.

Six months af­ter he was di­ag­nosed, he de­cided to cul­ti­vate a pos­i­tive mind-set and did some re­search on the dis­ease.

He also de­cided to strive to bal­ance his life as an en­ter­tainer and the real­ity of his med­i­cal con­di­tion. “Show­biz life was great but in­side I was dy­ing,” he says.

Mh­longo says he put on a brave face in pub­lic spaces to mask what he was go­ing through in pri­vate. Later, he de­cided to re­veal his sta­tus to fel­low dancer Ma­pule Sesedinyane who en­cour­aged him to get treat­ment. The sec­ond per­son he told was his part­ner at the time, Tom, who be­came a great sup­port sys­tem.

Mh­longo told City Press that he did not write the book to get pity from the pub­lic or for fame.

“I am 150% sure that [many peo­ple] are go­ing through the same [ex­pe­ri­ence] some­where, but I can be the voice that brings in some light into some­body’s life.”

He says in the process of ad­just­ing and un­der­stand­ing the im­pli­ca­tions of the dis­ease, there were good and bad days.

“The were days I did not want the sun to rise. I was only look­ing for­ward to the evening be­cause at night we are all the same. It’s the end of the day for ev­ery­one. But dur­ing the day, peo­ple that are do­ing well are vis­i­ble,” he reck­ons. Sex­ual as­sault ac­cu­sa­tions

As if his life was not com­pli­cated enough, Mh­longo re­veals in the book that his world crum­bled fur­ther when he was ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a man. He main­tains his in­no­cence, ar­gu­ing to this day that he wouldn’t do such a thing.

“I strug­gled so much [to han­dle the mat­ter] that I be­came de­pressed and I de­cided to take an­tide­pres­sants. How­ever, I took them for one day and I didn’t like the af­ter-ef­fects.

“They made me feel like ev­ery­thing was okay when the real­ity was con­trary. I had to face my prob­lems head on. I stopped drink­ing and hav­ing ca­sual sex. It was tough. I needed some spir­i­tual guid­ance and uplift­ment. The only way was prayer,” he writes.

He found peace when he started go­ing to Rhema Bi­ble Church, where he met kwaito group TKZee mem­ber Ka­belo Ma­bal­ane, who was a re­cov­er­ing drug ad­dict.

He says the al­leged sex­ual as­sault ac­cu­sa­tions al­most ru­ined his ca­reer. En­ter­tain­ment jobs dried up and life got in­creas­ingly tough.

“I had a BMW Z4, which was also in ar­rears and the bank had called so many times I couldn’t take it any­more. The next thing, a knock on my door, they’d come to re­pos­sess the car. I took ev­ery­thing out of the car, and they took it and left,” he writes.

“I was driv­ing the big [Land Rover] Dis­cov­ery and I couldn’t af­ford it. I was late with pay­ments, my bond was in ar­rears, the banks were call­ing left, right and cen­tre.

“I didn’t have a cent to my name. I could have eas­ily gone back to my mother’s house, but I was like, ‘no Somizi, sol­dier on, sol­dier on’, so I sol­diered on,” he re­calls. A life with Brenda Fassie

The book also shares de­tails of his ex­pe­ri­ences and friend­ship with the late Brenda Fassie, who he says of­fered him drugs.

“Ev­ery­one knew that Brenda smoked dagga and was into drugs. At some point, she of­fered me drugs.

“I don’t know where I got it from, but I’ve al­ways had a back­bone,” he states.

He is adamant that he has never touched drugs in his life, even though he has al­ways been sur­rounded by users.

He also spoke about how Man­doza and Bricks did co­caine in his presence. “I re­mem­ber them fix­ing a por­tion for me to smoke. I took it and I threw it on the floor of the car with­out them see­ing me. Then sud­denly there were cops behind us.”

Asked how he feels about the book, Mh­longo said he was afraid to read it be­cause he felt it would take him back to the trou­bled episodes of his past life.

He main­tains that he doesn’t have any re­grets about his life’s jour­ney.

“I know who my tar­get market is, if any­one feels oth­er­wise about this, they are en­ti­tled to do so.

“This book is about hope, faith and see­ing the light in the dark­est mo­ments. I be­lieve we are all des­tined to suc­ceed in life and to be happy. It’s how we han­dle the tough times that sep­a­rate us from the rest,” he said.


BREAK­ING DOWN WALLS En­ter­tainer Somizi Mh­longo’s mem­oir, Domi­noes: Un­break­able Spirit, will be launched later this week

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