Covering GLAMOUR Magazine Women’s Month issue, the award-winning media personality, Bonang Matheba talks to GLAMOUR’s Editor-In-Chief, Nontando Mposo about her future and Legacy. She also opens up about the highs and lows of her journey to stardom, and the lessons she’s learned on the way.
As one of the most influential Africans on the planet, media goddess Bonang Matheba is known globally for her impact in the South African entertainment industry.
This cover shoot and story was produced at one of Mpumalanga’s majestic destinations, Kruger Shalati, and GLAMOUR got to experience Bonang’s work ethic and quest for excellence during a 15- hour cover shoot. This is what sets Bonang apart and has made her a force to be reckoned with for the past 20 years and her reign continues.
Having reached the 20 year milestone in the industry, what are some of your key takeaways from it and what would you change about it?
Some of my key takeaways are that just like any other industry, consistency, the urge to grow, challenge yourself and the desire to want to elevate and move up in the world are key to longevity. You must also constantly find yourself in places that are uncomfortable; where you will need to learn and grow – that for me is what defines success. For me, success is also really fulfilling my dreams, owning my time and freedom, and to be able to travel around the world and be part of projects representing what I truly love.
Longevity is very important and very rare in the entertainment industry, especially in TV hosting. It’s about how you commercialise your brand and keep it relevant, and I have been able to do that. Finding ways to keep my fans entertained, and the ability to keep people intrigued and captivated, that is truly where the magic is.
Success is really also about staying true to yourself and keeping with what you really, really love and things that are essentially for you – things that make you genuinely excited! If you look back, it’s always about the same things for me; TV production, fashion, entertainment and luxury...that is what Brand Bonang has always stood for!
20 years in and that is still what I love! I am proud of myself and I think I have another 20 years to go – I have so much more to add to my large tally of accolades and achievements.
You’ve spent some time in New York City last year, how was the experience and what did you take away from the city and their media industry?
Growing up, I’ve always wanted to live in New York. I grew up and lived in South Africa all my life and when the opportunity came to finally spend some time in New York, I took it! I’ve been in and out of the city since 2019 and I absolutely love it there! I was able to make wonderful friends, establish some great working relationships and also grow my international network.
New York has been fantastic. It really has changed my perception of how I approach work and I have been able to meet people who have changed my business, professional and personal life. I also love it because it’s very close to the things that I love such as entertainment, fashion and media. It’s a fast-paced city and I am a high- energy girl! I love being stimulated, so New York is definitely the place for me. My mind has grown so much, as well as my perspective, my ideas and my dreams are ten times bigger, too!
Not a lot of people are aware that you also do a lot of work behind the scenes and have a production company, tell us a little about that and what you are working on?
Bonang Matheba entertainment has been wonderful! I co- produced the documentary Public Figure in 2019 which investigates the psychological effects of everyday social media, how it impacts young people and how they can turn it into a successful business. I co-produced the documentary with a friend of mine, Brian Corso, from Red Button Films. After that we produced the record-breaking A Very Bonang Year, A two-part series about my life. It’s very exciting that I am also producing for other people! I’m still producing my YouTube show B*Dazzled and am currently on the path to launch a talent agency, where we are going to support young and upcoming talent – particularly in the TV space. I am talking, TV hosts and TV producers who don’t necessarily know how to find a way into the industry. There will also be people who are going to act as mentors, and some who will help you book jobs and find the right networks within South Africa and the African entertainment industry as a whole. That agency will be popping up soon and I am very excited!
As my name and my age grows, I want to move towards being behind the camera producing and being the person who spots and supports young talent. What other people were to me growing up, I want to be that person for young and upcoming talent in our country.
You invest a lot in your craft and you work hard and excel in what you do. Where do you get your work ethic from?
I am a workaholic and I get that from my mom Charlotte Mokoena. She is a visual representation of what a hard working woman is. She started career as a nurse at Baragwanath Hospital and has worked at Telkom, Huletts Sugar, and is now the executive vice-president for human resources and corporate affairs at Sasol. My mom is a representation of doing what it takes to become what you want to be. Any successful person will tell you that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the extra that you put in. We all have 24 hours in a day, and we are all talented but those who take their talent more seriously than the other will be more successful.
What are your plans for the next two years of your life?
I have dreams of making the House of BNG a continental and global success. And Brand Bonang is still there. I am going to be hosting massive productions around the world which I am very excited about.
The next two years are going to be wonderful, the growth that I have seen outside of SA has been phenomenal and it’s a matter of finding projects that I want to do – things I am most proud of and that resonate with my heart.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for being a part of positive change in the South African media and business landscape, for creating opportunity and growth for future generations to benefit from. A powerhouse businesswoman who contributed to the elevation of our entertainment industry, both locally and also around the globe. I also want to be remembered by every young African child as the one who showed that it really is possible to be anything you work hard enough to be.
Bonang’s 4 tips for success
Work at your own pace
The only person who should put themselves under pressure is yourself.
Be kind to yourself
Work at your own pace and don’t feel pressured to live according to other people’s expectations.
Find like-minded people
People who love to work hard and have the same level of excellence as you. Whether it’s mentors, friends and family, or role models, it’s very important to surround yourself with people who want the same out of life.
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