Celebrating Bonang Matheba’s Rise to Fame
Words by Naledi Sibisi
I was still in high school when I started to pay close attention to an increasing source of inspiration for myself and a lot of women alike, Bonang ‘Queen B’ Matheba. Back then, South Africa’s ‘original it-girl’ had just joined LIVE on SABC 1. The multi-award-winning media personality has since dominated our screens, graced our radios and held it down on red carpets both locally and internationally for years. Today, Bonang Matheba is not only a recognizable brand and icon – but one of the most prominent entertainers on the African continent.
Beginning her career as a television presenter, Matheba has since evolved; topping Forbes lists, releasing a top selling biography, becoming Revlon's first South African ambassador, launching her own reality series, her own range of Brut and Brut Rosé Méthode Cap Classiques (MCCs) and co producing The Public Figure documentary that premiered at the Manchester Film Festival in early 2019. To honor her, we take a look at a timeline of the brand that is Bonang Matheba as she celebrates another year.
Early Career: 2007 - 2014
While Matheba actually made her television debut in 2002 on several children’s shows that aired on SABC 2; the year 2007 is what marked the beginning of the Bonang Matheba brand. This was the year Matheba began presenting on the music show LIVE. She successfully co-hosted the show and cemented herself in the entertainment industry. Her final episode aired in August 2012. In 2013, Bonang Matheba was named the first South African ambassador of cosmetics brand Revlon. The endorsement positioned her as the first international ambassador for the brand outside the United States. During the same period, she also had a thriving career in radio. Her weekend afternoon show called The B* Hive aired on YFM up until 2014. Following this, Matheba went on to host a number of other shows including Afternoon Express, Clash of the Choirs SA, KFC Taste Kitchen and Top Billing.
Rise and Endorsements
As Matheba’s presenting career progressed, she began to host many high-end events and award shows including the pre-shows for the MTV Europe Music Awards and BET Awards, the MTV Africa Music Awards. In 2016, premium vodka brand Cîroc announced Matheba as one of its ambassadors on the African continent alongside David Tlale, Da L.E.S and DJ Dimplez. The following year she was named the African brand ambassador for Ipanema sandals;taking over from Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Bonang Matheba Entertainment was founded in the same year. The production house was responsible for her reality show Being Bonang which airs on 1Magic.
In 2018, she hosted Miss South Africa and later on in the year she co-hosted the Global Citizen: Mandela 100 Concert alongside The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, supermodel Naomi Campbell and other notable personalities. She also signed a deal with Cell C. Her partnership with the mobile network produced a Bonang Matheba mobile app and emoji pack, BMoji. Other endorsements include: Courvoisier, Brutal Fruit, Diva Divine Hair, Lifestyle Pads, Peugeot and BIC Razors.
2019 - Present
In March 2019, Bonang Matheba launched her own range of Brut and Brut Rosé Méthode Cap Classiques (MCCs) called The House of BNG. The project positioned Queen B as the first Black woman to become a member of The Cap Classique Producers Association. The project was carefully constructed under the watchful eye of Matheba along with Cape Wine Master Jeff Grier. The two-year long process involved the crafting of a unique blend of flavors tailored to the taste preferences of the woman who popularized the term ‘champagne, darling!’. The media personality also took home another entertainment award this year. E! Entertainment crowed Bonang Matheba with E! Africa’s Ultimate Pop Culture Icon award.
Last month, she traveled to Prague where she won the award for Best Inspiration & Influence at the Global Social Awards held in the Czech Republic. Matheba starred in the documentary film Public Figure which she also co-produced. The film premiered in March at the Manchester Film Festival. Earlier this month, she brought the award-winning production back home to the 21st Encounters South African International Documentary Festival in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. The third season of Being Bonang is also scheduled for release later this year. Having reflected on a number of achievements throughout her career – Bonang Matheba is certainly worth being hailed as a pop culture icon and well on her way to yet another explosive year.