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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.

Maria McCloy’s Vintage & African Fashion Label

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As a little girl she lived in England, Mozambique, Sudan, Nigeria, Lesotho and South Africa strapped to her mother’s back in cloth and eventually having a collection of her own till this day, Maria Mccloy’s heritage and travels have inspired her to create accessories like no other. Accessories that reflect who we are as Africans. She finds it slightly strange when she is referred to as a designer, but she’s getting used to it because her passion has surely turned her into exactly that! She has been featured on CNN’s African Voices and in prominent South African publications like Marie Claire, True Love, Elle , Destiny, Cosmopolitan, Elle Décor to name a few. Let’s find out more about this talented eclectic woman, Maria McCloy.

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Maria, you’re a journalist, publicist and owner of a fashion business, we can’t really say the vintage fashion and accessory business is on the side is it? Tell us about Maria McCloy accessories.

It’s definitely not on the side! Officially during the day I work at Viacom home to mTV Base, MTV, VH1, BET, Nickelodeon and Comedy central, I’m a publicist and I love it, but I also love my accessories line. Once during a holiday trip, home to Maseru, Lesotho I came across David Maokae selling earrings on the street. I said please do these gorgeous styles just much bigger, he said "oh! Your ear will fall off" I said never mind! I came back to Jozi with my earrings and everyone wanted them, they were given to staff and colleagues and then Mokgadi Itsweng (True Love Food editor) said she’d like 5 pairs and will show them to Nkhensani Nkosi at Stoned Cherrie. That’s how I started selling. Soon they featured in Stoned Cherrie, Sun Godess and on the catwalk at Marianne Fassler and Palesa Mokubung.

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I started selling at craft and vintage markets and since 2011 I’ve been at Market on Main every Sunday. I’ve been doing this for about 7 years. It was a turning point when I started creating clutches made of the kind of cloth I’ve always loved, cloth associated with the entire continent warn in outfits and round the waists of Nigerian, Congolese, Zambian, Ivory Coastan Mozambican and Kenyan women, these cloths have always been part of my life, as a little girl. In 2012 I started the African print shoe range and in 2013 came many more clutch shapes like the ‘Lutch” (laptop clutch) as well as briefcases and suitcases. I have a feeling clothes are next…

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Why accessories?
I’ve always loved them, I remember my dad taking me to buy my first watch at 10, I had to remove a whole bunch of bangles. At home I have three tables of accessories! You can imagine how crazy I go when I visit my favourite place India. I’d love to travel India, North, South, West & East Africa as well as parts of Asia and Latin America sourcing cloth & jewellery. How amazing would that be!

You transform pretty much anything from dull and dreary to bright, African and on trend. What are your most popular print and/or item?
People love all of it, and the cloth changes every week, which assures not too many people, have what you have when you buy! My customers also inspire new ranges with their requests, which is great I love the vintage denim embellished with African print. My items resonate with so many people!

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Celebs like Lira, Andele Mdoda, 5FM’s Poppy Ntshongwana, Simphiwe Dana, Zaki Ibrahim, Thandiswa, Nomsa and Ntsiki mazwai as well as MTV presenter Nomuzi Mabena rock my stuff and so do so many awesome women. The media love has been incredible, I get surprised when people describe me as a designer, but I guess I am!

What can one wear your accessories with?
Oh everything, whoever you are! I’m all about wearing our heritage all the time not just at special occasions like weddings and traditional rituals, so you can wear my items in the club, at work, at lunch, at fashion week.

What was your inspiration behind it all and what are some of your favourite pieces?
I’m so proud of the suitcases right now, but I love the shoes and clutches. If you want to know what’s cooking next – shoes made of vendor bags! (The woven plastic checkered bags with red blue or black and white stripes) I also want to work with woven cloth like Ghanean Kente, Nigeria Aso Oke, West African Kuba and Mud cloth – those will make up a luxury range.

Some people never know how to wear certain accessories, what’s your advice in that regard?
Well it depends, I would never wear anything dainty but others do so prettily, for me, the bigger the better and the more the merrier but always, do YOU. Don’t pretend to be something your not, mix and match and be creative, have fun!

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Your summer must haves?
Anything by me in these Pan African prints! I recommend denim shirts and jackets, white T’s, black or blue jeans and a biker jacket and vintage, always! Accessories are the way to differentiate yourself and what better way to do so with gorgeous accessories inspired by your heritage and or your surroundings.

More from her collection:

If you want to own one of Maria’s exclusive pieces, (which I believe is a need, not a want ) get to Arts on Main (Johannesburg) on a Sunday or contact her via her blog www.mariamccloy.tumblr.com

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:

Exclusive Interview – Masterchef SA 2013 Winner Kamini Pather

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Durban born Kamini Pather developed an interest in cooking thanks to her granny with whom she still shares many culinary moments. A commerce graduate who moved to Cape Town, is now a photographer, writer, radio host, food blogger and most recently, SA’s Masterchef 2013.

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Kamini and I were acquaintances at university. After reconnecting on twitter, (having developed a love for food myself) I followed her with a keen eye and knew she would excel in her chosen fields. When you’re passionate about what you do – you are bound to succeed!

You had to keep your Masterchef win a secret for a while – what has the journey been like since it was officially announced?
It has been a roller coaster, of note! Winning MCSA ushered in a whole new way of life. Many more commitments and opportunities within the (food) world that I had always wanted.

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How has your life changed?
I get invited to better events 😉 Besides that, I feel as though this show gave me a voice that I can now use to articulate my views.

How do plan to change the face of food digitally, online and on television?
I plan to merge the worlds in a South African context, meaning seasonal and locally produced produce and recipes with video and clickable content. I’m passionate about the digital space.

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Give us a day in the life of SA’s Masterchef?
Every day is different. I still don’t have a set routine but it always includes some gym or yoga and perhaps a run. Those seem to be my only constants, these days.

How do you feel about Masterchef SA being nominated for an Emmy award?
I’m ecstatic and feel so grateful to have been part of this show. I always knew that was a beautifully produced piece of word but this validates it. Will be keeping my fingers and toes crossed for Emmy’s night.

Give us your top 5 places to eat out in SA?
The Test Kitchen (CPT), La Mouette (CPT), El Burro (CPT), Oak Valley Wine Estate (CPT) Corner Cafe (Dbn), Daleah’s (JHB), Salvation (JHB) – I could go on…

What is your favourite ingredient to cook with?
Cardamom is my favourite spice. It’s wonderful in both sweet and savoury dishes. There’s also a kamikaze element to it (anyone who has bitten into a pod will know what I mean)

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What are you listening to in your car at the moment?
MiCasa’s new album, SuCasa.

3 gadgets you can’t do without?
iPhone, MacBook, iPad – once you go Mac….you know?

Follow Kamini on twitter: @KaminiPather or visit her blog www.kamini.co.za

Praslin, Seychelles it was!

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This was our first trip to the Seychelles and I am so thrilled we finally chose Raffles. I did a lot of research before and read countless reviews. Eventually it was between staying on Praslin or the main island – Mahe and we chose Raffles – so Praslin it was.

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We were promptly collected at the airport and whisked away to this beautiful property. As we arrived (which was early morning) we were warmly welcomed by their team and recreation manager Olly as well as the GM Simon. The view took our breath away! We immediately felt like special guests and it never ended until we left.

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We were given a choice of 2 villas and we eventually chose Villa 296, it was very spacious (around 135sqm) and had the most magnificent, uninterrupted view of the ocean, a plunge pool, an outdoor area with sun beds and a large lounge area.

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The bathroom was very spacious with a spectacular view, and the closet just perfect. We chose this villa because of the view and the fact that it was at the highest point.

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A buggy service is on offer which was always prompt. The butler service was fantastic but not overbearing which we appreciated.

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We liked the fact that everyone knew our names and were always ready to assist us with a smile – nothing ever seemed an inconvenience to them.

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We often spent time at the pool and on the beach and were well taken care of. Bottled water is available at no charge while in your villa, by the pool, beach or making a trip.

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There is a very well appointed gym, which we made use of and many free activities to take advantage of. The spa is beautiful, with a Balinese theme but the treatments were very average, so it can be skipped.

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The food was consistently well presented and seafood was particularly enjoyable. Overall our lunch by the pool, in-villa dining and the Grilled Seafood evening at Losean was delicious. Although we loved the ambience of Curieuse, we preferred the food at Losean.

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I expected coconut water to be available, but we could only buy it outside the resort which we did on our cycling explorations at some very interesting “shack-shops”

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Raffles is very close to Anse Lazio which is one of the best beaches in the world.(according to Trip Advisor) We decided to cycle there which was hard work over a few hills but worth every minute. It was wonderful just exploring the island as we headed to the beach.

We also visited Curieuse Island and La Digue – both are not too far and definitely worth the trip. At Curiese you get the opportunity to view some of the largest and oldest gentle giants in the world – The tortoise. The island is a sanctuary for them and was once an island that leprosy sufferers were sent to.

La digue was my favourite – we cycled round the island and visited some of the most beautiful beaches I have seen. It felt like we were in another time zone altogether, cycling through a rain forest with the main form of transport on the island being bicycles and ox carts. No cars!

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Being fans of snorkeling, we hired a boat and were taken to a few snorkeling spots around the island. Unfortunately we didn’t see as much as we had hoped to. We were told that when the tsunami disaster took place, much of the coral around that area was exposed. After some reading, I discovered there are beautiful reefs that are still in tact around the main island of Mahe, so we shall remember that on our next visit to Seychelles.

On our last evening there, we got to watch a glorious sunset on the highest point of the island, called Zimbabwe. A perfect way to end our stay.

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Overall, Raffles is an excellent resort and we enjoyed every minute of our stay.

Seychelles is a place you can return to, and have a different experience each time you visit. If you prefer a private island, there are many to explore. I don’t doubt that once you visit, the sheer beauty of this untouched paradise will keep you coming back for more!