‘I got ev­ery­thing too fast – the hus­bands, the baby, the car, the money, the fame’

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - LIFE STORY -

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.

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