‘I got everything too fast – the husbands, the baby, the car, the money, the fame’
power of money’ or learning the art of manipulation by playing both sides of the di erent worlds she grew up in.
‘You learn to play with hearts, to win respect, to lose respect and to gain it back again. I don’t think people should be scared of me, but the reality is that if you play in the public space you need to know the art of manipulation,’ she says. Khanyi states these things candidly. It’s not a gloat exactly, because she also knows about being burnt when you play with re. hat re took the form of two highly public, essentially toxic relationships. First there was celebrity businessman Mandla Mthembu, nearly 30 years her senior when she dated him at 1 . She had his child one year later, only to have him leave her when their daughter was just three months old.
‘I didn’t love Mandla, but I worshipped him because he gave me my childhood dream of living like the rich and famous,’ she says. She knew hooking up with Mandla meant taking him from his family, that included an epileptic child. ‘It hurt for about ve minutes, but then I got too busy buying my next car or looking for a bigger house,’ she says. fter Mandla she became the sugar baby girlfriend of businessman heunis Crous. It was another relationship that played out in tabloid glare and was particularly painful when he posted lewd photos of her on social media when their relationship crashed. he year things ended with heunis, 010, would be a major turning point. ‘ hose pictures he posted were really painful because I knew how they made my mother and my grandmother feel. Everyone saw those pictures the car guards and the lady at the checkout knew me. I decided that, as I was as naked as the day I was born in those pictures, it was either my rebirth or my day to die. I chose life.’ ‘Choosing life’ meant stripping herself of the false support of good-time friends and staying away from the social scenes that ended up as tabloid fodder. ‘It was made easy for me because no one wanted to work with me. I had the persona of a porn star,’ she says.
While she got roles in Muvhango and Scandal in 004, she was red from the former for making headlines for all the wrong reasons. By 010, money ran out. Before, she could command appearance fees of 35 000 a night now she wasn’t even on invite lists. She had to move out of her Sandton home and move in with a friend in Pretoria for nine months.
‘I went from super-rich to ero,’ she says. ‘I got everything too fast – the husbands, the baby, the car, the money, the fame. I had everything but I wasn’t there. I fell into depression and I rebelled.