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INSPIRED AND THRIVING

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Women and youth from all walks of life flocked the Phakalane Golf Estate recently to meet, get inspired and to be motivated by the ever gorgeous and successful Bonang Matheba, who is famously known as “Your Gal B”.

Bonang a South African radio and television personality who was in the country courtesy of   Belle Mere, a local talent agency  had come to interact with the youth and women in Gaborone so they can learn one or two things from the successful and well established 24-year- old celebrity.

After getting her dose of inspiration The Voice columnist, Tshepo Sepora sat down with Matheba to learn more about her and the road she has travelled to be where she is.

RIDING ON THE WAVE OF SUCCESS

Q. Who do you look up to and would say they are your role models?
A. I know this is now a cliché but really, my mother is my role model. She yanked us out of poverty and did all she could to make sure that I get to where I want to be. I’ve experienced life with my mother, both the good and the terribly bad. She’s a powerful person, gosh I’m where I am because of her.

Q. How do you use the influence that you have on the youth and the entertainment industry to instill positivity and guide those who look up to you?
A. I use my confidence to influence the young people who look up to me and carry myself in a way that I would want my daughter to behave.  Working hard is what I will not stop to do and I make sure that the youth see that in me. I was approached by Playboy to pose in their magazine but I declined the offer because I understand my culture and value it. And because I knew of the influence I have on young people I knew that my decision to decline was the best.

Q. And how do you deal with the pressure of being a public figure and making sure that you do not lose yourself within fame and success?
A. I’m surrounded by people who keep me grounded at all times and remind me of who I am and where I’m heading. My family and friends that I grew up with are there to pull me back and alert me if I’m losing myself.  Most people don’t know this but I spend 80% of my time alone to recuperate, relax, think and ground myself.

Q. The entertainment industry seems to be harsh because sometimes for you to get a job you need to pay a price and sometimes the price is sexual. How do you deal with such issues?
A. I’ve never had to deal with such things because I have people who speak on my behalf, my manager, my agencies etc. Actually I’m surprised that you are raising this issue because it means it is happening in Botswana, we don’t have to deal with such in South Africa. You know it took me 4/5 years  for me to get where I am right now, It was not easy but people need to understand that not everyone is meant to be in TV or radio, do not push it if it’s not meant to be.

Q. Did you ever think that you would be a TV, radio and fashion icon 10 years ago?
A.One thing I know and most certain about is that I’ve always wanted to be on TV, the other things that I do, I never really thought of them. I remember I used to love watching Vinolia on Jam Alley and I would say, ‘’I want to be on TV”. Being on people’s screens has always been my love but I never thought I would be where I am right now with all of these achievements 10 years ago though.

Q. If your daughter was to tell you that she wants to follow in your footsteps, would you give her your blessings?
A. I wouldn’t stop her from pursuing her dream, the best I could do as a mother is to make sure that she is aware of the challenges and the pressures of the entertainment industry. I would advise her since I’ve got the experience and know what goes on.  I mean if my mother would have stopped me from doing what I love, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.

Q. A lot of young people enter the entertainment industry with the mentality of passing time and with the goal of being famous. What advice would you give to them?
A. I think that is the biggest problem that people have about this industry, young people treat the entertainment field as a hobby but I assure that those who enter with this mentality get disappointed big time. The entertainment industry is like any other professional career that there is, you need a manager, a promoter etc. Only those who take what they do seriously are successful in this industry. I treat what I do as a business, like right now, my tweeter account is worth $150 000!

Q. When did you realize your love for fashion?
A . My love for fashion came after T.V and all the other things that I do. I was inspired by T.V, music and other things. The thing with fashion is that you need to understand your body size and shape, anyone can become a

DOING WELL: Bonang Matheba

fashion icon if they understand how to dress their body and what looks good on them. I believe that one needs to look their best all the time, if not at least presentable. I take myself seriously, even when going to the tuck shop to buy bread I need to look good. One lady once said to me, “You don’t know who you’ll meet at the store, either your husband or your enemy”. You need to take time and look at yourself in the mirror, appearance says a lot about a person.

Q. Are there any charities that you are involved in?
A. Oh wow, of course, I have a lot of charities that I’m involved in. There’s a whole project which is all about empowering young girls to carry themselves with confidence. Really you can’t get anywhere in life without confidence. There’s another one which is “Help a sister out” and another one where we source sanitary towels for girls. We discovered that around 4/5million girls can’t afford to get sanitary towels which is really devastating. I mean sanitary towels are a basic need so you can just imagine.

Q What are the major challenges that you face as a public person, are you free to do whatever and with whomever you want?
A. Oh gosh, privacy is the biggest challenge that I face. If you are a public figure you can’t just be yourself, you don’t know who your true friends are. People might be your friends just because you are well known or to use you somehow. And again I understand that I have to carry myself in a certain way and behave in a certain manner because there are people watching my every move.

Q How do you deal with negative energy?
A. I read a book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and my life has never been the same after reading the book. It’s crazy because I now preach about the book, that’s just how much I’ve learnt from the reading. The book is all about the Universe and how energy works and I’ve since learnt that “What you give out into the Universe is what you get in return. If you give out negativity then you’ll get negativity in return, if you give out positivity, then you’ll get the same. I also have a motto that I live by and that is, “Rise up above, return hate with kindness, kill them with love and bury them with success’’. One has to keep a clean mindset, have goals and negativity will not bother you.

Q Some people here feel that youth in Botswana lack motivation what advise would you give to them?
A. You know when I found out that education here in Botswana is almost free, I was stunned. I actually had to drop out of University because my mother didn’t have money to pay for my tuition so really when you have this and play with the opportunity its quite sad. Do you know how many people in SA are hungry for education but they can’t progress because they don’t have money to pay? Youth here need to appreciate and realize that they are 10 steps ahead of most nations. They need to realize that “success is your own responsibility”.

Q. How do you define success?
A. Success is achieving greatness without hurting anyone and stepping on anyone’s toes. Success is getting to where you want to be without meddling with anyone’s peace, energy and heart. That is my definition of success.

Q. What do you want to be remembered for?
A. It’s simple, I want to be remembered for my hard work, for my integrity, I want to be remembered for the respect I have for people and for living my life to the fullest and having fun.

Fact file

Full names: Bonang Matheba
Age: 24
Favourite Food: Bogobe ba mabele
Form of relaxation: Spending time alone at home
Favourite hangout: Sandton, Joburg
Holiday destination: Walt Disney, Florida, USA, Dubai and Hong Kong

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