THE BLACK CHILD
Somizi Mhlongo’s memoir gets the A-listers out on a chilly Wednesday night in June. Ntombizodwa Makhoba went along for the Moët & Chandon and to get the lowdown
Somizi Mhlongo’s family and friends came out in numbers to show him love and support at the launch of his memoir, Dominoes: Unbreakable Spirit, held at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park on Wednesday. Front and centre in the crowd were his mother, Mary Mhlongo, and daughter Bahumi Madisakwane.
Mam’ Mary was excited about her son’s achievements. She described him as someone who is very respectful and who loves people.
“I see my husband [Ndaba Mhlongo] in him. That’s why I love him. He does everything for me. I don’t know how to thank him,” said an emotional Mam’ Mary.
Meanwhile, Somizi emphasised that his family were his cheerleaders and a pillar of strength for him, especially as they have been with him through some very dark times.
“When people say something nasty on Twitter, I go to the ATM and check my bank balance,” he joked.
On a more serious note, the entertainer said: “My biggest fear is losing myself to the world and to attach my spirit to the world.”
It has been a challenging six months for Sowetan entertainment editor and author Lesley Mofokeng, who co-wrote the book with Somizi, because they are both busy men.
“I had to write the memoir through voice notes. I also had to hold back and change some words because in the end people should hear him speaking through the book,” Mofokeng explained.
However, having overcome their scheduling difficulties, Somizi is happy with the final product, which he says has retained his voice.
Fittingly, while Mhlongo spoke about why he wrote the book, he sipped on his favourite Moët & Chandon Champagne, which flowed throughout the evening for all the guests too. And what a guest list it was. Spotted in the crowd were Jessica Nkosi, Vusi Nova, Cassper Nyovest, Criselda Dudumashe and Brian Temba.
Businesswoman Basetsana Kumalo, who wrote the foreword to the memoir, said the book was raw, honest and engaging.
“What I want young people to take away from this book is that a black child must dare to dream and to have an incredible work ethos. A black child must believe in the power of their dreams,” Kumalo said. Somizi’s BFF, TT Mbha, was in the crowd, but it seemed he was keeping a low profile and not mingling as he usually does. This party regular had to wonder: Did they fight again? After all, when I read Somizi’s manuscript, I didn’t see TT’s name.
However, Somizi says a “de luxe” version of the book will be out soon, and it will feature all the men that have had an impact on his life.
“I’ve known TT Mbha for 20 years of my life. Tom Mkhwanazi is my ex and he is the epitome of what true love is. He stopped working for a month and brought me back to life when I was very ill – the same ex whose heart I broke.
“Criselda played a huge role in uplifting my spirit and Lorcia Cooper was there for me. My mother is the reason I got up from that bed,” he added.
Of his anticipated memoir, Mhlongo said: “My book is not meant to embarrass anyone but to inspire. “Who I slept with is none of your business... ” So, there you have it, Dominoes: Unbreakable Spirit, isn’t a tell-all, but an inspire-all from a man who is permanently interwoven into South African popular culture.
INSPIRED Basetsana Kumalo and Somizi's daughter Bahumi Madisakwane during the book launch at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park DISCUSSION TIME Unathi Msengana, Somizi Mhlongo and co-author Lesley Mofokeng during the book launch at Exclusive Books in Hyde Park, Johannesburg
APPLE OF HER EYE Mary and Somizi Mhlongo during his book launch CROONERS Brian Temba and Vusi Nova were among guests at the launch
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