Cover Story – Zothile And Dineo Langa Open Up About Their Love
Caution: Prepare to have your heart turned into a marshmallow! For the first time ever, Zothile and Dineo Langa, open up about their writtenin-the-stars love story and undergoing ukuthwasa together... This is the first, and only, time people will get to
I meet up with award-winning rap muso Zothile (stage name Solo) and The Queen actress Dineo Langa (nèe Moeketsi) in the thick of their Western wedding preparations, and the production of their three-part wedding documentary, titled Kwakuhle Kwethu. They are executive producing it through their joint company, Langa Enterprise Hub, and it’s set to air on Mzansi Magic this month.
The pair seem to have it together despite admitting to being overwhelmed. Their biggest concern, they say, is executing the documentary in a way that won’t paint them inauthentically.
“This is the first, and only, time people will get to engage with us as a couple. And the first, but not the last, time they will encounter us as executive producers,” explains a palpably tired, but still pleasant Dineo.
In the midst of all the planning, couch-cuddling sessions and sleeping in are two activities currently keeping them afloat, Dineo says, “There are some days when it feels like I’m not allowed to rest for as long as I want — and that’s a very jarring realisation. My attention span sabotages me because I sometimes want to nap during the day and Zothile always reminds me that I can’t afford to with all our deadlines. With there being so many tasks that need to be fulfilled, things became so bad that he got me into making to-do lists! I honestly had a really great memory until things got overwhelming! But, that’s the beauty of being in a partnership — what I forget, he remembers.”
Zothile jumps in to explain that it’s not often that their schedules allow them to have moments on their couch. Zothile is working on his third solo album and, on most days, only arrives home from his studio sessions as Dineo leaves to make The Queen’s early morning call time. “Dineo doesn’t like driving, so I usually have to first drop her off on set before coming back to rest. We try not to talk shop when we’re on the couch, but it becomes an opportune time to review if everything’s in order and to also reflect on the planning being overwhelming,” he says. *Announcement: Someone please tell Zothile to urgently organise that much-needed Men’s Conference. In fact, can he deliver the keynote address on ‘How Black Men Should Behave in Relationships!’* “It’s in our relationship contract okay, I don’t like driving,” Dineo says, in-between giggles. “I become such a skepsel when he’s performing out of town and have to drive myself or sleep alone. Most times, I either sleep on the couch or in the bedroom with the TV and one light on,” she reveals, pulling an innocent face.
Besides the occasional mushy social media post from this award-winning stylish pair, they have previously turned down countless interview opportunities in an effort to protect the innermost details of their seven-and-ahalf-year relationship. They are, for the first time, opening up about their love story, hoping this exercise will quell any myths about them. Lastly, they also hope that people will get into the pattern of understanding that if they don’t hear a story straight from their mouths, then it perhaps isn’t true. “Deciding to be secluded doesn’t mean that we don’t want to celebrate our love, but we want to do so on our own terms. The key thing about telling our story through this interview and wedding documentary is having control over our narrative,” Zothile shares.
There is an unwritten expectation that celebs owe the public an explanation on every life decision they make. In this era of grave misinformation, the risk in turning a deaf ear to hearsay is that it can quickly be misconstrued for reality. “The people closest
Deciding to be secluded doesn’t mean that we don’t want to celebrate our love, but we want to do so on our own terms.
to us know our outspoken and outgoing sides. We’re not certain how important it is for us to then show it to the next person who isn’t in our circle,” Zothile questions.
Seeing that this is the only time we’ll ever have an in on the Langa’s affairs, I went in hard with the personal questions — and they willingly obliged. So where did these romantic souls meet? A mutual friend, Leroy Ntanzi, invited them to a blind date masquerading as a lunch outing at Piza e Vino in Rosebank in December 2011, along with a few other people. More than a year prior to the date, Zothile had casually asked Leroy about Dineo, but wasn’t persistent in communicating his crush. “That question clearly stuck with him for a while,” Zothile says, marvelling at his friend’s tactic.
The conversation at this lunch revealed that both Dineo and Zothile were single, but that she wasn’t ready to mingle. But then there was sudden awkwardness at the table — the type brought on by one’s crush suddenly having to leave mid-conversation and just as you are getting to enjoy their company! Dineo had a nail appointment in Fourways and asked to be dropped off. Zothile happened to be going in the same direction and offered to take her. “When we arrived in Fourways, I walked her to the nail bar. After saying our goodbyes, she hit me with a, ‘You didn’t ask for my number!’,” Zothile recalls, in-between chuckles. “This was during the days of BBM, so she suggested I take her pin instead.” By 10 pm, he had sent a text asking if she was good. She responded with a casual, “Yeah! Just a bit hungry.” They met at Andiccios that same night and hung out until 4 am, chatting away. On 7 January 2012, their love story was officially registered in Cupid’s books. “While driving to Fourways on that first day we met, I needed to make a quick loo stop. Zothile moved his car closer to where the bathroom was so I could be in his line of view. That was the first time I felt that there was something different about him. Since then, he’s protected me over and over again,” Dineo enthuses.
Zothile proposed to Dineo during their annual anniversary baecation in Santorini, Mozambique, in January this year. Their snazzy holiday pics caused a Twitter frenzy, with a few users saying Dineo should be embarrassed for having been in a seven-year relationship with no ring to show for it! “I lost my mind. That’s what we meant about people concocting their own narratives and running with them,” she says. What people didn’t know was that Zothile had sent a lobola letter and delegation to Dineo’s family in September 2017.
UBUNGOMA BETHU — Becoming Healers
Another area of their relationship that has attracted much speculation is their journey into ubungoma. They, once again, reiterate that their intention was never to keep it a secret but to, instead, handle the subject with kid gloves. “There’s a difference between something being private and it being a secret. There are so many stages one has to pass before claiming to be a healer. Ubungoma is the full girth of our honesty. It’s a part of our truth, and it’s something we embrace fully. The one thing I love about our journey into ubungoma is that it’s not something that belongs to a Dineo or Zothile — it belongs to our ancestors and happens through us,” Dineo explains, with the passion of someone who’s been dying to speak on this subject.
“We started ukuthwasa in July 2017, and speaking two years later is not as jarring of a conversation. I can understand how it’s such a big deal for other people,” Zothile says, adding that he had earlier anticipated ubungoma to be an intimidating responsibility, yet it hasn’t been. They’re both not looking to be poster children of traditional healing, but hope their honesty on this intimate aspect of their lives will keep this practice from being perceived as “the big bad wolf” in the average black person’s eyes. “My objective isn’t to change anyone’s views on ubungoma, nor am I trying to convert them from their current belief system,” Zothile clarifies, whose ancestral calling manifested in his teen years. Dineo, on the other hand, learnt of her gift at age 24, adding that it was accompanied by a lot of aggression. “I would talk him through my dreams, all the other symptoms and even had to seek counsel from other, more experienced, healers – at no point did I walk the journey alone! When I, in my fearful and teary state, told him I’d be going ahead with the process of ukuthwasa, he simply said: ‘I will acknowledge my calling so I’m there to protect you in the best way possible. We both don’t know what lies ahead, but I’d feel better if we went in together,’” Dineo muses. She quips about how she’s never met a man, like Zothile, who doesn’t get easily grossed out. “There were times when I’d think to myself, ‘If Zothile saw me like this, he would run away.’ But he continued to shock me. I’ve
seen so many examples of his unconditional love.” Zothile chips in: “Ours is an example of a multi-faceted relationship. It speaks to spirituality and aligning on all levels. Ubungoma is an aspect of our lives. It’s not grander than anything else.”
The pair agree that this is a part of their lives that doesn’t come with an opt-out button, and that they’d like to have their own practice once they’ve done their homegoing — a ceremony during which a sangoma leaves their gobela’s (person chosen by the ancestors to guide one on their journey to becoming a sangoma) nest to establish a unique means of operation with their ancestors.
In a 2018 wedding ceremony that left many tongues wagging and gave their relationship the ancestral nod of approval, Zothile and Dineo first had to marry their ancestors before organising any celebrations in the physical world. “A message was conveyed to me through a dream, saying we first had to get our ancestors acquainted with each other. This would, in turn, help them co-exit peacefully going forward. To avoid any friction between the two sides, amadlozi have to pay lobola for each other — although it’s not always a given if two spiritually gifted people are in a relationship. One must get direction from their ancestors. I also had to pay lobola to his ancestor,” Dineo explains.
A relationship whose foundation runs deep is the envy of many. I ask the Langas if they believe their story to be a special one. “Oh, this is the dopest love story, but it’s also not uncommon!” Zothile enthuses, adding that “spirit attracts spirit”. He continues: “This is such unknown territory to black people but for us, this was a great realisation to stumble upon. We decided to have a priest officiate our May 2019 ceremony, and also signed there, because we wanted to prioritise the African way of doing things. Home Affairs recognises us as married. As Black people, there’s a lot of unlearning we need to do, and a lot of places where we need to re-embed our pride.”
Dineo understands that some people might view them as weird after hearing their story, but says they’ll continue standing in their truth. “We know what it was like when times were tough ephehlweni (initiation). But our struggles have bred patience and a deeper understanding of how each of us operate. I’ve learnt the importance of understanding who you’re with, their values and finding the ingredients that will get you through a lifetime — that will take your relationship to the next level,” Dineo says.
Unlike their May 2019 traditional wedding — held at The Forum White Light venue in Lanseria — which boasted 230 guests, their white wedding will be an intimate affair. They’ll be using the same priest, as they loved his outlook on love. For the traditional wedding, her dress was designed by Orapeleng Modutle, who has shown interest in being involved again. “But it won’t just be him, there will be many others,” she enthuses. Zothile, will be going with Otiz Seflo, the same designer who designed his traditional wedding outfit.
In closing, allow us to paraphrase Our Perfect Wedding’s payoff line: This is indeed the dopest, dopest, dopest #BlackLove story!