Nomsa Buthelezi is in love and show­ing it off

Ac­tress and pre­sen­ter Nomsa Buthelezi is on cloud nine af­ter meet­ing the love of her life

DRUM - - Contents - BY THOLAKELE MNGANGA PIC­TURES: DINO CODEVILLA

SHE takes view­ers on a jour­ney to the al­tar ev­ery week, en­thralling them with the hic­cups the bride and groom must over­come to have their dream day. Now the pop­u­lar host of Our Per­fect Wed­ding has found her per­fect partner – and just like a scene from a ro­man­tic movie, Nomsa Buthelezi re­veals she met her bae on the set of the hit re­al­ity TV show.

Nomsa re­cently went pub­lic with her new re­la­tion­ship, and can’t be more open to dis­cussing finding love with the woman who’s stolen her heart.

The 34-year-old is like a school­girl in love as she holds hands with her partner, Zandile Shezi (30). Dur­ing our pho­to­shoot the cou­ple whis­per sweet noth­ings, gig­gle and smile con­stantly.

In Au­gust the TV dar­ling came out when she posted a pic­ture of her and Zandile, cap­tion­ing the happy snap “My king is a woman”. But while most fans were shocked by the rev­e­la­tion, the Lock­down ac­tress tells us it’s not her first les­bian re­la­tion­ship. “Peo­ple close to me knew that uNomsa uyi les­bian be­cause I had been dat­ing a girl for a long time.”

She was in a three-year re­la­tion­ship with a woman which ended at the start of the year, and de­scribes it as a time of finding her feet. This time, Nomsa says, she’s in love. She steals a glance at Zandile and says she didn’t ex­pect to fall head over heels. “I never thought about it as I never look at peo­ple, I only look at money,” she jokes.

The ac­tress and pre­sen­ter had been shoot­ing scenes for OPW in Mpumalanga in March. Af­ter film­ing wrapped, she joined the guests as they con­tin­ued to revel in the day’s fes­tiv­i­ties, and laid eyes on Zandile.

Nomsa was in­stantly at­tracted to Zandile’s warm smile but kept her cool as they sat in a large group of peo­ple. The pair even­tu­ally struck up a con­ver­sa­tion and ended up talk­ing for two hours straight.

“We just sat and spoke, and it felt amaz­ing,” re­calls Zandile. The pair ex­changed num­bers and 10 months later they’re on cloud nine.

“I’m liv­ing in my truth,” Nomsa says. “I’m in a good space, I’m very happy.”

IT’S taken her years to be com­fort­able in her own space but it’s some­thing Nomsa needed to do. “It’s very hot in the closet and it was dif­fi­cult for me to come out but I came out be­cause so many les­bians are be­ing killed and raped,” she says. “I felt if I stepped up and said I’m les­bian, other peo­ple would have the strength and courage to do the same.”

Most of her fans are happy she’s found love, but not ev­ery­one has re­acted pos­i­tively. So­cial me­dia users have ac­cused the ac­tress of com­ing out for pub­lic­ity, but the neg­a­tiv­ity isn’t lim­ited to face­less trolls, Nomsa re­veals. “There was one ac­tor who said to me, ‘ Wel­come to the il­lu­mi­nati, money will come to you now be­cause you do the devil’s things’.”

Nomsa won’t ex­pose the ac­tor but says she wasn’t de­terred by his com­ment as her sex­u­al­ity “doesn’t make my tal­ent”.

“This is who I am. I didn’t do this for fame. My re­la­tion­ship with Zandile isn’t a brand, we’re build­ing a fam­ily.”

She isn’t the only one be­ing shaded over her sex­u­al­ity. Nomsa is pained her son Ol­wethu (14) and daugh­ter Linda (12) are both be­ing bul­lied.

“Some­times I feel like I could go to school with them to pro­tect them, but I

have to leave them to ex­pe­ri­ence this and learn to pro­tect them­selves,” she says.

She’s al­ways be­lieved in hav­ing an open, hon­est re­la­tion­ship with her chil­dren and the kids have known about her sex­u­al­ity long be­fore she was ready to tell the world. While Ol­wethu dis­ap­proved of her first re­la­tion­ship, Nomsa says both her chil­dren have taken to Zandile. “There was a day they went to Gold Reef City to­gether. When my son came back he said, ‘I think she’s per­fect for you.’”

Nomsa agrees. “Zandile gets me. I can’t hide any­thing from her and I don’t have to ex­plain my­self to her.”

THE cou­ple are so in love they’ve in­tro­duced each other to their par­ents. Zandile’s par­ents, Non­them­beni (56) and Al­bert (50), had al­ways sus­pected she was les­bian and are very “un­der­stand­ing”. Nomsa’s par­ents, Vezi (61) and Mag­da­lene (60), also had their sus­pi­cions about their daugh­ter’s sex­u­al­ity and have wel­comed Zandile into their fam­ily.

“It was very easy for me to come out be­cause my par­ents were wait­ing,” says Nomsa, who calls her­self a late bloomer. “All they cared about was me be­ing in the right re­la­tion­ship with the right per­son.”

Zandile is the per­fect fit but we won’t be hear­ing any wed­ding bells soon. They’re leav­ing mar­riage in God’s hands, Nomsa says. “For now, we’re still learn­ing about each other.”

She’s also hav­ing to mas­ter a longdis­tance re­la­tion­ship as Zandile works as a phys­io­ther­a­pist in Lady­smith while Nomsa plies her trade in Joburg.

Be­ing so far apart drives the ac­tress crazy but it’s eas­ier for Zandile to han­dle. “I’ve been in a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship be­fore and she hasn’t. Trust, hon­esty and com­mu­ni­ca­tion make it work,” she says.

Dat­ing a high-pro­file celebrity has put the spot­light on her. Zandile is forth­com­ing when pa­tients and col­leagues point out they saw her on TV or read about her. “I don’t hide our re­la­tion­ship. If you ask me about it, I will an­swer.”

She doesn’t find it dif­fi­cult to date a celebrity be­cause “Nomsa doesn’t see her­self as one, nor does she act like she is. She’s down to earth, she’s a straight talker and I love that she’s so hum­ble. I’ve al­ways wanted some­one who can tell it to me like it is and she’s that for me.”

The out­spo­ken ac­tress is end­ing the year on a pro­fes­sional high af­ter the re­lease of her new film, Su­per Mama, in which she’s the lead­ing lady. Nomsa stars as an un­con­ven­tional su­per­hero who keeps the town­ship streets safe – and has the au­di­ence in stitches – with her martial arts skills.

The ac­tress has a lot more in store for fans. “Next year peo­ple must see uGomora Diva.”

She rubs the tat­too of her nick­name on her chest that’s an ode to Alexan­dra, where she grew up, then says, “I’m go­ing to do the things that make the pots hap­pen [mean­ing she’ll put in the work to en­sure suc­cess] and I’m not go­ing to stop.”

"This is who I am We're build­ing a fam­ily"

OPW pre­sen­ter Nomsa Buthelezi has found love with partner Zandile Shezi. The physio says it’s not dif­fi­cult dat­ing a celebrity as Nomsa is down to earth and a straight talker. Nomsa stars op­po­site Dawn Than­deka King in Lock­down, Mzansi Magic’s pop­u­lar prison drama.

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