- Being under lockdown has provided Bonang with a unique opportunity to focus on her personal projects.
- In this interview she shares info about new products launching under House of BNG.
- She also reveals details about her gender-based violence project that has been months in the making.
- Bonang also confirms that she will start a record label but prefers to call it a "360 management agency" to particularly help South African female musicians.
Before the lockdown, Bonang Matheba was someone whose schedule was always full. There were reality shows, business meetings, brand launches, red carpet events, hosting gigs, and of course, a lot of travelling.
But these days, the star finds herself at home, unable to enjoy many of the things she once had access to. She doesn't mind, though. I'm slightly surprised when she describes herself as a "homebody".
"I'm not somebody that necessarily leaves their house for anything. You know, I'm Cancerian, so my home is like my favourite place in the world," Bonang tells me during a telephonic catch-up.
Lockdown has provided the star with a unique opportunity just to lay back and unwind.
"I haven't had to catch a flight, or think about a job, or a project, or where I need to be, or a script, or a shoot. So, I've loved it."
While she has been enjoying her free time, the presenter is not oblivious to the effect this crisis will have on the world at large.
"Nothing will ever be the same," she tells me. "I think change and interruption of our lives, you know, something this big, does force everyone to sort of rethink what they did before, how they're going to do it [going forward], but also how they are preparing to adapt to a whole completely new world. There is no 'new normal'. Everything normal that we know has completely changed."
She has her sights set on the future, though.
The business of being Bonang
It's been more than a year since Bonang launched her sparkling wine range, House of BNG. Our conversation turns to the success of the business. I start by reminding her that the brand sold out within hours of its launch in 2019, and the star admits that taking on the project has been "very scary".
"Anytime that I start a new project, it's scary; it's daunting, it takes a lot of risk. From the inception, when I created and came up with the idea, when I told my management, and they helped me find the right people to work with, it was a huge learning process."
But even though she was afraid of the challenges ahead, Bonang had a bigger motivation for establishing the company.
"The reason why the House of BNG was created was to sort of light a fire in other people, especially young black girls in my country," she says, recalling how she had been underestimated throughout her career.
"I've wanted this brand to be a success story, not only for me but for other people who are growing with my brand. It's been really, really fantastic. I didn't think it was going to become what it's become. It has become bigger than my biggest dreams. I think I owe it all to the people who buy the brand, who believe in the brand, who believe in me," she adds.
House of BNG has recently launched its new Prestige Reserve - something which Bonang believes could compete with the most prominent champagne and sparkling wine brands in the world.
The company also plans on launching a non-alcoholic sparkling wine this summer.
"It's also something that our consumers say they really, really enjoy. You know, a lot of people don't drink alcohol. Many of the B-Force members have been forcing me to do a non-alcoholic, so that's one that's coming."
Aside from House of BNG, Bonang has two other projects in the works which will be launched in August. The first is centred around gender-based violence.
"[It's] a project that I hope will help us find solutions to an issue that everybody's talking about. It is a project that I'm very, very proud of. It's been seven months in the making. And I know it's a project that will help the conversation that's happening right now. It's [gender-based violence], a sensitive issue, something that I have experienced myself," she explains.
The other venture is a content collaboration with the SABC.
"The South African audience will see fresh, new content from a project that I was shooting in the United States."
Before we say goodbye, I ask Bonang to provide clarity on a rumour which has been making the rounds for months: Is she launching a record label?
The short answer is yes!
"Anybody [who] knows me and has followed my brand, knows I'm a big lover of music. I'm a big lover of the business of music. I am very, very passionate about South African music. So yes, I will be."
She does, however, mention that she does not envision it as a record label, but rather a "360 management agency".
"An agency that will help particularly South African female musicians, and that is something that is also happening very, very soon," she adds.
Note from editor: The headline of this article previously referred to Bonang as a "social butterfly". Bonang found the term "incredibly insulting" as her very many achievements and successful career rightfully reflects she is much more than just that. Although meant to highlight Bonang's socially dynamic and charismatic personality we accept that the term could be seen to undermine her long list of impressive accomplishments and respected career. We'd like to apologise to Bonang for any inconvenience caused and promise to do better.