At first people enjoyed watching her because she was fun and in demand at big events. But in a few short years the tide has turned against Khanyi Mbau - and even those once near and dear to her have washed their hands of her.
One man watching closely as she unravels is her ex-husband, Mandla Mthembu. “I don’t want to be part of the Khanyi Mbau circus,” Mandla (56) says.
They were often in the news during their two-year marriage. First for splurging on renting apartments in Joburg’s high-class hotels such as the Michaelangelo Towers and the Raphael in Sandton, then for buying those yellow Lamborghinis.
It was a volatile union. One minute they posed happily and the next Khanyi was claiming Mandla had hit her. Yet they stayed together until his empire fell apart - then he lost the penthouse, the cars and his wife.
He hasn’t seen his daughter Khanu (3) for almost two years. “I love my daughter and I miss her.” He plans to get her back but until then is staying away from his ex.”
MANDLA isn’t the only person Khanyi hurt. Lesego Nhlapo (25) was her pal for 14 years before ending their friendship because Khanyi was selfish.
They were inseparable and travelled together to Milpark Primary School and Khanyi was a show-off even then, Lesego says. “She’d brag about the things she had and things she’d get. She was naughty and would bunk school.
“She’s believes her lies. It’s a sickness. She pushes away those who love her most.”
Khanyi pushed away journalist Kuli Roberts, an old friend who now presents gossip show Headline on DStv’s Mzansi Magic. “I find it dodgy that she had a nervous breakdown for 48 hours,” Kuli says. “Who has a breakdown for two days?”
Khanyi has crossed the line even with people who know how much she loves the limelight. “I was sick in bed with flu when Amstel phoned and said Khanyi had had a nervous breakdown,” says Koyo Bala, a member of 3Sum.
“I was shocked when she called me later. ‘Choma, are you fine?’ she asked. She didn’t sound sick at all. She sounded like the Khanyi I know.”
But, Koyo adds, Khanyi goes berserk if there isn’t a story on her in the tabloids.
“She’ll be mad and will create a story to get into the papers. ‘I’m Khanyi Mbau’, she’ll declare. ‘Everyone knows what I’m capable of’.”