Disclaimer 1: I’m absolutely fascinated by Khanyi Mbau. I’m not a ‘fan’, per se, but I’m enthralled by this young woman. I think she’s sweet (in person) and a force to be reckoned with (in pop culture).
Disclaimer 2: I love True Love magazine. I started my magazine career there, as an intern, when Busi Mahlaba was editor. Some of my close friends work at the title. I adore Melinda Ferguson and have utmost respect for her as a writer.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s speak about the much anticipated edition of True Love, starring none other than one woman controversy spawner, Miss Mbau.
I knew early on that Khanyi would cover the magazine’s April edition - I ran into Melinda and Khanyi on the day of the interview at Pyramid Day Spa, so I’ve been salivating over the prospect of this cover and the accompanying story for quite a while now.
And then I saw all the activity on Twitter about it and I went on a hunt for the mag. Eventually, I tracked down a copy at Woolworths yesterday. I went home and, despite the fact that I was supposed to meet a hot someone, I got into my PJs, got under the covers with a cup of tea and devoured the cover story.
Ok, let me confess that I was somewhat disappointed. The article didn’t come across as the tell-all it’s punted to be on the cover (the coverline: Khanyi Gets Real *Gasp*).
In the article, Melinda writes that she’s warned to have her ‘bullshit detectors on’ when chatting to Khanyi. I can’t help but think that Melinda, like Mandla, like Theunis, and like the entire friggen nation, fell prey to Khanyi’s twin talents of seduction and bullshittery.
I don’t get the feeling that Khanyi’s ’gets real’. I get the feeling that this is another calculated move in a complicated playbook that not even Miss Mbau quite understands.
The article is peppered with all the names Khanyi’s been called (think: narcissist, gold digger, witch), a few references to her boobs (which she apparently paid only R11 000 for), vague inferrences that she’s about to turn over another leaf and classic notable Khanyi quotables, such as these:
'I think along with Julius and Zuma, I'm one of the three most lonely people in this country. We have all these people around us, but we can't trust them. We're hurt by them, but we keep them very close. I want to see who hurts me rather than read about it somewhere.'
'People are brainwashed to believe that to earn your dues you need to be in an office, work nine to five, live a miserable life on budgets. You can't do this, you can't do that 'cause your set salary won't allow it. I'm throwing that way of life to the side. Most people think that's a sin. We're brainwashed to believe we have to toe the line.'
'All these men - all the pain - contributed to my growth. I'm content now. I'm paying my own way. I've bought my own car and shoes. I can sit alone in a coffee shop and be cool. I want to show people there's much more to me than the one-dimensional tabloid creation. I want to dig deeper and show the world the real Khanyi Mbau.'
The part where Khanyi comes across as the most sincere is when she’s discussing the circumstances around her abusive relationship with ex-husband Mandla Mthembu.
'He made me feel so ugly, like everyone knew I was nothing … You send yourself flowers when you're sitting with your friends in the spa, trying to hide the truth from everyone. He tells you you're stupid and dumb. He kicks you like a dog. He starts seeing other women. He gets someone else who reminds him of you, and all this time I'm thinking: how am I going to hide this from everyone?'
She also comes across as remorseless when discussing her affair with Theunis Crous, a situation I feel was largely spawned because Khanyi was desperate, down and out, referring to him as ‘Plan B’. Khanyi makes a very serious claim in the magazine that Primrose is physically abusive to Theunis (media law practitioners: would Primrose be able to sue the magazine for printing this or just Khanyi for claiming this?)
Khanyi also claims that she applied to study International Relations (my degree!) at Wits this year, but didn’t get in because ‘there were so many applicants’. She says she’s buying her own shoes and car and is moving from one rented Sandton townhouse to the next, but it’s never actually revealed how she can afford this. Besides appearance fees and her Head Honcho ambassador job, what else is she doing?
While I agree with Lesley Mofokeng (quoted in the article) when he says ‘Her name carries so much value and currency’, I would like to know how she’s leveraging that. But, in true Khanyi style, she doesn’t tell. I’m quite looking forward to Lesley’s book on Khanyi … if played right, it’s sure to be a best seller.