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I Love Durban Launch

Being an actress and presenter, I’ve always found it important to take time out to support events from my hometown, especially if it’s the launch of the hottest growing community in South Africa, called “I Love Durban” launched, by award winning company Carver Media. I was honored to be invited as the programme director for the launch and even more humbled to be dressed by internationally acclaimed designer Gavin Rajah who teamed up with creative Cape Town food genius Annalize Buchanan to provide the fabulous food and fashion segment on the night, held at the beautiful five star Beverly Hills hotel.

This event had all social media platforms a buzz, as people couldn’t stop talking about the exciting launch and its wonderful food, entertainment and atmosphere. Invited speakers who came to share messages of support and admiration of the brand and its purpose. Speakers such as The Head of Durban Tourism; Phillip Sithole, City councilor; Logie Naidoo and Canadian best selling author of book, Mind Power; John Kehoe. These speakers were amongst other valued partners to the brand which included Durban staples; King Shaka International Airport, Durban ICC, Tyson Properties, Durban Tourism and Transnet.

Avilash Aniruth, Co-Founder of I Love Durban and CEO of Carver Media shared his gratitude with his guests at the end of the night’s formalities. Speaking on his vision for the brands future and the importance of the message behind the I Love Durban brand in the city, he went on to thank his wife, ICT entrepreneur of the year award recipient, Praneetha Aniruth who is also the Co-Founder of the I Love Brand and played an important role in the growth of this online brand which has reached 8 million people to date, on its Twitter (@ILuvDBN) and Facebook (I Love Durban) platforms.

I am very excited about the future as “I Love Durban” has many projects in the pipeline that will showcase the true beauty and dynamic nature of this city. One of them being the launch of Durban’s first “I love Durban City Guide” in 2014 with Gavin Rajah as the first guest editor.

A special thanks to Neil Ramataur for doing my hair and make-up, you really know how to make a girl look and feel beautiful.

From Bonang M to Queen B

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With a name that means “to look at”, it seems Bonang Matheba was destined for greatness. Her passion and determination has made her one of South Africa’s top media personalities and a force to be reckoned with.

Bonang always aspired to be a television presenter, so paved a way to achieve just that and so much more! She not only believes that hard work pays off, but is a fine example of it.

A word or two with Queen B.

From Bonang Matheba to Queen B, Tell us about your incredible journey.

“Phew! Where do I even begin?! As a young girl, I had always had a fascination with the entertainment industry, from watching my idols Basetsana Khumalo and Oprah Winfrey on television. So, I thought instead of just having this dream, how about I do something about it?! I started attending presenting classes after school, which led to a number of auditions. After numerous attempts, I eventually got my first gig as the host of SABC’s tween show – Manhattan’s Fantasy Challenge, which was followed by my big break on Live and as they say, the rest is history. 

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What drives you?
Honestly, my supporters drive me! They are a constant reminder that what I do is not just for and about me. To have someone walk up to me and say “B* you are my inspiration” has to be the most humbling experience ever. That encourages me to keep going and getting better at what I do.

Your career started off in presenting, but you are now a media force to be reckoned with – has your plan unfolded as you envisaged?
I think it has! I have always had this idea of how I would like my career to pan out. I used to dream about being on the most watched music show in the country, I fantasized about being a Top Billing presenter, having my own radio show and so on. I still have a long way to go as far as my vision takes me, there are still a lot of ideas I have for my production company. I still dream about seeing my face on a can of Coca Cola *smiles*

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What do you feel has been your greatest challenge thus far?
My greatest challenge thus far? I would have to say my decision to leave Live, which was doing very well at the time – averaging 7 million viewers. It was difficult due to the fact that I had obviously been with the show for a couple of years and viewers had grown accustomed to the “Live Bonang”. This is one of the main reasons I decided to take on my role at Top Billing, I didn’t want to be typecast and known as just the “Live Bonang”, but rather, as a talented and versatile entertainer. The transition wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked, but within weeks, I was b*dazzling and in my comfort zone.

Tv presenter, Radio presenter, Brand Ambassador, Producer, Actor – you wear all these hats with such ease and determination. Do you secretly love one more than the other?
I enjoy them all, but TV presenting will always be my first love as it has enabled me to dabble in all these.

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SA’s first Revlon brand ambassador! How does it feel? 
It still feels surreal! I still pinch myself each time I see the TV commercial or a campaign I’m headlining in a billboard or high profile magazines. It truly has been a dream come true for me.

You effortlessly settled into Top Billing, what has this experience been like for you thus far?
Having dreamt of being a Top Billing presenter over the years, the experience has been more than what I could have imagined. Being on Top Billing has granted me access to the most beautiful places in the world, meeting and interviewing the biggest stars in showbiz. It has also opened so many doors for me, introducing me to a whole new audience. It’s the best.

What would your advice be to young South Africans who want to enter the media industry?
 My advice to them is to follow their dreams, I know it sounds cliché but that is the reason I am doing what I do today. I would also advise them to work hard, I’m a firm believer in this.

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What’s the most valuable lesson you have learnt by being in this industry?
In order to be sustainable in this industry, one has to align themselves with the best team of people, who have your best interest at heart. Not everyone has good intentions.

You are always on point when it comes to fashion, how would you describe your style?
I always try to describe my style as a cross between Victoria Beckham and Olivia Palermo – “Classic Elegance” meets “Chic with a hint of Edge”.

Your top 5 summer must-haves?

• Sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
• Sunglasses
• Swimming Costume
• A camera to make sure you capture all your special summer moments.
• The perfect cooler this summer: Brutal Fruit’s Mango-Goji Fusion.

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If you could save only 1 fashion item you own, what would it be?
Does it have to be 1? Lol. Mhhm it would have to be my recently bought Tom Ford thigh high boots.

What does Queen B do, when she wants to relax?
I love spending time at home, catching up on my favourite tv shows and checking out my favourite fashion blogs.

What’s next for Queen B?
I can’t say much at this stage, but I can promise you that 2014 has a lot in store. I have a huge project launching in February, which I’m very excited about. Also, as part of my work as Revlon SA’s official Brand Ambassador, we will be teaming up on a number of projects next, which you can look forward to.

Mandela, Long Walk To Freedom – Premiere

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Last night I attended the Durban Premiere of Mandela, Long walk to freedom. Highly anticipated, this film did not disappoint. In fact it moved me in many ways. It has the potential to make one feel a range of emotions. There are many films with international actors portraying South Africans that aren’t very convincing – it’s quite the opposite here! The performances by all actors is outstanding! My personal favourite is Naomie Harris as Mama Winnie Mandela. It’s taken 25 years to realise Anant Singh’s dream, but it was certainly worth the wait.

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Following the success of the premiere, Anant Singh announced that US president Barack Obama will host a special screening of the film at the White House on Thursday, 7 November. This may be an early prediction- but I am certain we will see this movie at the Oscars.

The Story Line:

The movie “Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom”, largely based on his autobiography of the same title, traces the life of the anti-apartheid icon from his childhood in the rural Eastern Cape to his election as the country’s first black president in 1994.

The 95-year-old Mandela was too frail to attend the premiere as he is under medical care at home, having spent three months in hospital in a critical condition with a lung infection earlier this year.

His ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said in remarks before the screening that she had “no words” to describe the film’s “translation of that painful past”.

“We should remember where we come from and that this freedom was hard earned and that it was won at a very, very heavy price,” said Madikizela Mandela, wearing traditional Xhosa dress with headwrap.

The official trailer:

Interview With “Strictly Come Dancing” Winner – Zakeeya Patel

She’s petite, bubbly and has a zest for life that’s undoubtedly infectious! But is that all? Most certainly not. Actress Zakeeya Patel set the dance floor on fire and went on to win the title of Strictly Come Dancing season 6.

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Congrats Zak! How does it feel to be this season’s Strictly Come Dancing winner?

It doesn’t feel real. I can’t believe it’s already over. I remember getting the call from the SABC asking if I wanted to do it and now it’s finished. I am crazy happy! It’s overwhelming! I worked so so hard and to have South Africa acknowledge that fact couldn’t make me happier.

What went through your mind when you heard you were selected to partake in the show?

I was super excited! I love dancing! In retrospect, nothing could have prepared me for this journey- I think you have to be a certain kind of crazy to do a show like this.

How did you feel when your competitors were revealed to you?

I was super honoured and worried. Honoured that I was chosen amongst some of the biggest names in the industry and worried because 50% of the show is about popularity and I am relatively new in the industry.

You and Ryan share amazing chemistry, do you feel blessed to have had him as your partner?

I feel like I have found a soul mate in Ryan- not in a cheesy way but in a very sincere way. I am blessed beyond words to have had him as my guide, teacher and friend on this wonderful journey. He never once took me for granted and always nurtured the potential he saw in me. He pushed me harder every day and taught me a lot about what I am capable of. I am truly blessed to have had him as a partner. I don’t think this sort of chemistry or connection comes about a lot in this life.

Your most memorable moment:

Getting a full house (10.10.10) from the judges during the finale. TWICE! I was at the top of the leader board for week 8, 9 and final show- so whether I had won the voting or not, I felt like I had won already.

Your lowest point in the show: Half way through the show Ryan and I lost a bit of focus. We started getting consumed by the competition and forgot to have fun. We got short and irritable with each other and I knew that was not how I wanted to continue. We chatted candidly and got right back on track. Our goal was always to be better than ourselves and to never stop having fun- which I think we achieved!

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Did you think you would get this far AND take the title?

I wanted to win! So I decided to do everything in my power to reach my goal. I visualised that trophy every week and I pushed myself harder and harder everyday.

What kept you and Ryan motivated?

Each other. We were especially good at this. When my focus faded, Ryan would know exactly how to bring me back and when Ryan wasn’t as energetic, he would feed off my never ending reservoir of energy. We really made a formidable team!

Your favourite costume:

My favourite costume- my sexy, black tango dress.

Your favourite dance style you performed: The Tango. The tango is all passion and drama. A dancer once told me the tango is about ‘monumental stillness’. I am all bouncy, outward energy. I loved it so much because it is so different to me. I even created an alter ego, ‘Francesca’ around the dance to help me get into character.

Will you continue with Latin and Ballroom dancing?

If I had time and a partner like Ryan, yes. But realistically I wouldn’t be able to pursue it on the same level as during Strictly. I will however start dancing other styles- I’m very interested in Bollywood and Flamenco dancing.

What did you take from this experience?

The simple truth that the harder you work the luckier you get.

Tell us something we would never have known about Zakeeya?

When I was a little girl I had absolutely no rhythm. I remember vividly my mom and sister laughing in amazement at how little rhythm I had. I also don’t own a tv.

Who is your biggest fan?

My dad! Hands down! I have never come across a prouder dad. He has been the most amazing cheerleader and source of support and council on this journey. I am actually the luckiest girl in the world!

What’s next for Zak?

Everything! Up up and away! But first things first is a new series on SABC1 called “End Game”. It’s a political drama starring the talents of Hlomla Dandala and Bubu Mazibuko and directed by Akin Omotoso. I am super excited to work with and learn from so many new people that I respect and admire so much!