Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thoughts On Bonang Matheba's Upcoming Book


You have likely read somewhere that South Africa's biggest star Bonang Matheba will be releasing a book in early 2017. Like many people I am looking forward to reading the book. However, there is caveat on the extent of my interest on the book. 

Right off the bat, let me state categorically that if the book is one of those fluff pieces about how amazing she is and all her successes, I am tapping out. Hear me out. Yes that is her story and she has every right to dwell on it but I have read enough about all of that. 

Bonang is a pioneer. She has revolutionized the way we look and treat black celebrities in this country. I would even go as far as to credit her for making a lot of us in the business get paid better and be afforded the respect we are due.  

When it comes to this book, for me, I want it to be a memoir that opens the lid on the person and life of Miss Matheba. I want to know from her own perspective how she feels and coped with some of the biggest trials and tribulations in her illustrious career thus far. 

If she is to write about her career, I would be interested in reading about the people who played a pivotal role in her getting to where she is. And I do not mean family and friends. I mean people in the industry who gave her a platform and support she needed to break through that glass ceiling. 

Unfortunately in Mzansi we don't have interviewers who have mastered the art of in depth celebrity interviews so thus far all we ever get from the interviews she does are questions about same old random things. I want her to go deep and tell us who are the forces behind the success of Bonang meteoric rise. 

On the personal life front, while I know most people would be keen on the salacious details of her sex life, I take a different view on that. I want her to open up about her relationship with D'Banj. Was that a real relationship? How did it come about? How did she feel when the relationship or friendship went public and soon after he acknowledged another woman publicly when he was still linked to her? 


I think shedding more light on the situation with D'Banj, no matter what that relationship was, would be of interest not only to South Africans but across the continent and would make the book appealing to a wide audience. Sell more copies, if you will.

I know she guards her life incessantly. However one story I would appreciate her opening up about more than any other is the 2013 situation with Drum. A reminder: Drum wrote a story claiming Bonang had had an abortion and she took the magazine to the press ombudsman resulting in the magazine having to offer an apology to her.

That story must have been a huge blow in her life. It would be interesting to read in her own words how she received the news and the details of what transpired that led to her deciding to take on the magazine. What was that week, day or month like for her with that story doing the rounds everywhere?



Career-wise, I am interested in her opening up about the implications that comes with being Queen Of Slaying. Surely that label must come with a lot of pressure and expectations. How does she deal with that? Does it concern her that the expectation on her to be topping herself all the time could lead to a bubble in her career that will inevitably burst because no human-being can win all the time?

On a more inspirational front, I would like for her to share about the financial investment that she has made in building her own brand. I always tell people that what separates the Bonangs from everybody else in this business who is termed a celebrity, is the fact that people like Bonang treat their careers as a business. They put in the investment out of their pockets to create the brands that they are. 

Bonang is a business. There are people who make a living off of the Bonang Matheba brand. I think it would be a great thing for her fans to know about that. People think you can just be on tv and achieve the level of her fame with people just coming to you. Many do not realise that you have to put in the monetary capital as you would in any business to build yourself as a viable business entity that brands can associate themselves with. 

Now let's get the book to sell...

It is unfortunate ... with a 12 year experience behind me I know for a fact that people like Bonang do not sell. While Bonang's star power gets everyone talking and interested, often many of her fans are not prepared to spend money on her and that annoys me. 

It annoys me in the sense that it illuminates this notion I have had that South African fans are fake as hell. They love you when it's beneficial to them. They love you on Twitter because you can validate them with retweets and that makes them feel relevant but, unlike true fans like those of American celebs, they would not queue outside a store to buy a product because it has your name on it. That goes for everyone not just Bonang. 

Take Minnie Dlamini's calendar for example. Yes the project was a little dated given that people don't care about calendars anymore because they can get pics on the phone... But if she had true fans, the calendar was a collector's item, they should have bought it to support her.


Bonang is no exception. Her fans ignored her bag line, Baby Star. Her Distraction line at Woolworths isn't really flying off of the shelves and I do not think she has that much impact on Revlon sales. She gets the brands massive attention and surely that adds some traction of product sales but the magic of celebrity we see in stars like Kim Kardashian who get products sold out in minutes just by having their name attached to them does not exist here. And thats a shame! 

So, for our girl to blaze that trail, she needs to get her fans out in full force. One way I can think of is for her to do a book tour. Bonang needs to do a city to city promotional book tour where she meets her fans and does some book signing. 

Only she can start this trend in Mzansi and make it work. Drapped in all her fashion majesty, she must visit malls across the country to meet her fans. That will surely get her fans to come out and want to support her. Our local celebs need to learn that you can not just rely on social media for support. If you want people to spend money on you, you gotta give them more than just a thank you on Twitter. They need to see you and get that special moment of saying I met so-and-so in my city. 


I hear the book is coming out around March 2017 so I am looking forward to reading it and sharing my thoughts with all of you. 

Hit me up on Twitter and Facebook and let me know what YOU would like the book to entail. 


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