Somizi’s story inspires others to dream big
A rewarding life recounted in his own special style
WHEN a doctor told Somizi Mhlongo he had only a few days to live from an illness he has not named, a former partner dropped everything to help save his life.
“He is the epitome of what true unconditional love is – before, during and after.”
Mhlongo was talking about a man by the name of Tom Mkhwanazi, who he will elaborate on in an additional chapter of his book Dominoes: Unbreakable Spirit.
The choreographer announced at his intimate book launch in Hyde Park that the edition would be coming out in a month’s time.
“We decided this about two days ago. It’s an additional chapter called My Best Men and it speaks about the men who had an impact in my life.”
He said the chapter would also speak about his best friend TT Mbha, and all he has done for him.
About Mkhwanazi he said: “If you want the best ex, go to Tom. This is the man when I got the news from the doctor saying you have two days to live. He came to my house while I was already in a relationship and asked my then partner if he could take me for a month and stop working, and he brings me back to life, literally back to life.”
The Idols judge said that, more than anything else, he wanted the book to be honest.
“When I read the book I could see myself speaking. It was a beautiful collaboration.”
He worked with journalist Lesley Mofokeng, who said that when Mhlongo initially called him for the project, he suggested it be called Whoo Shem, after the Sarafina! actor’s popular phrase.
“He dismissed it immediately because it was not going to deliver the message. Dominoes was much more serious and sincere. We stayed away from what he called ‘big’ English and let his voice come through, so I had to hold back and change some words and be very careful through the editing process,” said Mofokeng.
He said they used voice notes and other forms of technology to communicate and get information to transcribe for the book.
Mhlongo’s friend and fellow Idols judge Unathi Msengana played host for the evening, and said that through the book, Mhlongo reminded everyone he had always been different.
“Your goal has always been in you, even when there were 12 of you sleeping in the same room.”
Mhlongo said he managed that because his childhood was so happy, he didn’t realise they were poor. He said even though the family had everything going wrong for them, no one could take away the love they shared.
Mhlongo said he didn’t want to just share his story, saying he believed there was a reason why he was where he is today as a celebrity.
He shared how there were times when he could have been suicidal, a drug addict and even a fraudster, but he chose not to go in those directions.
“My spirit was so strong, it knew I was gonna be here today.” That’s what he wants everyone who reads the book to see. “I don’t want them to make the same mistakes… it is greener on the other side. There is gold and everyone deserves gold.”
Mhlongo’s close friends, family and industry celebrities attended the event.
Basetsana Kumalo, who wrote the foreword for the book, said the memoir dared the black child to dream big.
Dominoes is available for R180 at Exclusive Books.
SNAP: Brian Themba, who inspired Somizi Mhlongo’s book title, Dominoes: Unbreakable Spirit, takes a selfie during the book launch at the Hyde Park Exclusive Books.