Sex, lies, hu­mil­i­a­tion in ‘must-tell’ mem­oir

The Star Early Edition - - TONIGHT -

ND, well, may the best man win,” Toke Mak­inwa said as she tilted her head and smiled mis­chie­vously. The Nige­rian TV pre­sen­ter, ra­dio host, vlog­ger and now au­thor was speak­ing at the Joburg launch of her mem­oir, On Be­com­ing.

A ques­tion had come from the au­di­ence – mostly com­pris­ing jour­nal­ists and die-hard stans (some of whom had changed flights home from Jozi to be at the launch and meet their idol in per­son). It was about the le­gal im­pli­ca­tions of On Be­com­ing. But let’s back­track. Mak­inwa, aka Nige­ria’s sweet­heart, got her big break in ra­dio in 2010 and has be­come a reg­u­lar on red car­pets and in the tabloids. Mak­inwa was in­volved off and on with fit­ness guru Maje Ayida for over a decade.

They were mar­ried for just over a year un­til, even­tu­ally, his in­fi­delity and ba­bies out of wed­lock be­came too much for the star­let and she called it quits. On Be­com­ing is about all of that. As the ti­tle sug­gests and as she writes in the book: “I would work on my­self and fo­cus on be­com­ing.”

The book is es­sen­tially meant to be a beacon of hope for those who find them­selves in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions and need to know that they can get out and start to fig­ure out ex­actly who they are. Which is all well and good, ex­cept it doesn’t take a straight path to that dis­cov­ery of self. Mak­inwa takes no pris­on­ers.

She writes about ev­ery­thing from sex tapes to ro­mance to public hu­mil­i­a­tion to in­fec­tions and be­yond. And she doesn’t omit names. Nige­rian press has re­ported that, as a re­sult, Ayida has al­legedly filed a 100 mil­lion Naira (R4.1m) law­suit against Mak­inwa for defama­tion.

So at the launch in Jozi’s swanky Hyde Park Cor­ner, Mak­inwa chose an odd string of words as an an­swer to the ques­tion about On Be­com­ing and the law. Per­haps, by say­ing “may the best man win,” she means she is more of a man than Ayida is.

Mak­inwa has a huge fol­low­ing world­wide. I was par­tic­u­larly moved by how she lost her par­ents – I won’t spoil the story for you. And yes, her sex, lies and video­tape take on her re­la­tion­ship is juicy and jaw-drop­ping, but af­ter a while it starts to feel like the re­la­tion­ship con­sumed her.

To be hon­est, for some­one who is po­si­tioned to be such a pow­er­house, I ex­pected this mem­oir to be about her ca­reer as much as it is about her per­sonal life. I wanted to know the pro­fes­sional peaks and val­leys that made her who she is.

Mak­inwa has ex­plained in mul­ti­ple in­ter­views that maybe she will have a se­quel to this book where she chron­i­cles her jour­ney to me­dia mogul­hood. So, On Be­com­ing was meant to be – as writ­ten on the cover and in the pro­logue – a “must-tell” and not a “tel­lall”. I’ll be wait­ing to read about her other side.

by Toke Mak­inwa is avail­able at ma­jor book stores and dig­i­tally.

Nige­rian per­son­al­ity Toke Mak­inwa has launched her first book, On Be­com­ing.

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