‘I just want to be about Louis Vuitton, and and Revlon. Amazing hair, contouring, inspiring young girls’
DRESS R32 400 GUCCI; CASADEI SHOES R12 590 PREVIEW SHOES; EARRINGS BONANG’S OWN
Most tweets are retweets, with or without comments and a colourful use of emojis. ‘There is a certain way I want to present myself,’ she says. ‘People love the attention they get from me.’ If she didn’t manage her social media accounts herself, she believes her followers would react to the loss of authenticity.
But being on the front line means she’s not protected from negative comments. ‘Every single word in the world that you can think of, I’ve been called. I have encountered the worst. The very worst.’
Bonang, who is 29, has become all but unmissable. She has a production company, a lingerie line with Woolworths, and a radio show, The Front Row, on Metro FM. Not to mention hosting SABC’s Top Billing and Afternoon Express. She also has her Revlon endorsement and is an ambassador for French vodka brand Cîroc.
Her heart, however, remains in television – ‘that’s how I was introduced into the business’ – but she loves her radio show for its immediacy and intimacy. ‘Actually,’ she says, ‘I love everything I do. I only do work that I love.’
It’s almost eight hours since we started the shoot and we’re having a drink in one of the hotel’s luxury suites. The bed is strewn with remnants of the day’s work – clothes, shoes and bags. It was a long, assistant occasionally pop in and out the room, pack away her stuff, check on her, ask questions about tomorrow’s schedule – her morning radio show and a shoot for a Revlon campaign. Still, there is clearly no rush to get home to anybody or anything. One reason, as she suggests later, is that she’s got no commitments at home: not a dog, a cat, or even
this past six months had happened to me six years ago, I would be a duck’s back.’ She is referring to comments on social media relating to a two-and-a-half-year relationship with DJ Euphonik. When I probe, she curtly says, ‘It happened in 2012, and I left it in 2012. I don’t want to drag this dead dog across the street.’
She is currently dating rapper AKA who, she says, treats her like gold. The day before our cover shoot, the couple had returned from a short holiday in Mauritius. Her downtime is spent travelling, mostly to see family in Durban and her two best friends, who live in Cape Town and Kenya respectively. ‘I take a lot of holidays,’ she confesses.
It’s not all planes and champagne, though – she’s been working on loves. ‘It’s all about fashion and lifestyle: about luxury, beauty, travel and glamour. Brands that come to me don’t only want to tap into my market, they also want to attach to Bonang. I don’t attach to them.’
She’s so committed to her work, she says that when asked if she’ll have children, she tells people to ask her when she’s going to Milan instead. ‘I just want to be about Louis Vuitton, and Top Billing and Revlon. Amazing hair, contouring, inspiring young girls.’
Bonang’s fans are mostly young and female, and she is interested in supporting girls especially while they are transitioning between school and post-school studies, or between studying and the workplace. Girls go into their chosen careers with determination. She gives workshops Bonang has been recognised for her work with many awards, most recently by winning this year’s Oliver Empowerment Award for Top Empowered Media Personality of the Year.
I ask her how she copes on a bad day. ‘In this industry, nobody cares if you’re having a bad day. “The show must go on. You have to be
And yet… ‘I have gone through the worst pain: an ex-boyfriend having a child with someone else during our relationship. Being beaten. Being cheated on. Being embarrassed on social media numerous times.