A hot R2 million was not enough to pay for the lavish three-day birthday bash of ANC West Rand hotshot Reggie “Gov’ner” Nkabinde.
The man who is on all three slates to be elected to the deputy presidency position of the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) threw himself the mother of all parties in the western Gauteng mining town of Westonaria this weekend.
But it ended in tears for his party’s MC, Sibusiso “DJ Sbu” Leope, who was arrested for drunken driving in Randfontein just after 2am on Saturday morning.
This despite the ironic fact that he arrived clutching a can of his notorious energy drink and warned revellers at midnight not to drink and drive.
Nkabinde’s three-day 31st birthday celebration kicked off on Friday night at the town’s Sports Complex Hall.
The venue was packed with about 400 VIP guests, including actors, musicians, high-powered politicians and local friends.
Nkabinde was coy when discussing his multimillion-rand party bill in an interview with City Press on Thursday. All he would say was “a three-day party doesn’t come cheap” and the bill amounted to “over R2 million”.
In attendance on Friday night was almost the entire cast of hit telenovella Isibaya – including actors Thembi Nyandeni, Nomzamo Mbatha, Jessica Nkosi and Andile Gumbi.
Also there were Muvhango actors Phindile Gwala and Simphiwe Ngema, as well as former Generations actress Winnie Ntshaba.
The actors sat at two round tables and sipped on Moët, while comedian and actress Celeste Ntuli provided the entertainment, keeping everyone in stitches.
Despite the attention generated by such a lavish event, Nkabinde said he was relatively unknown and liked it that way.
“I’m a simple man. I surround myself with ordinary people. I don’t like to be friends with politicians because I have learnt that you have no permanent friends in politics,” he said.
Nkabinde, who drives the latest CLK Mercedes-Benz, said he was not about flaunting cars and money and liked to keep a low profile. But this had not stopped him standing for election for ANCYL office next month. He appears on all three slates, marking him as a favourite for office.
At his dinner on Friday night, the celebrities, although plentiful, were outnumbered by friends, family, businesspeople and elderly neighbours from his home town, Bekkersdal.
At his interview on Thursday, Nkabinde, wearing casual grey tracksuit pants, a black T-shirt and black sneakers, conceded that young people liked to flash their wealth.
“All of a sudden you have everything you have always aspired to have: your dream car and home. But I always tell people that, even if you have all of these things, you don’t have to be big headed – always remember where you come from.”
Nkabinde said he worked hard for his money. He owns several companies, among them Urban Dynamic – a development planning consultancy – and a construction firm called Siyakha Isizwe. He also co-owns a record label, Emabalabala Entertainment, with Bongani “DJ Bongz” Ngcobo, to which controversial kwaito singer Mshoza is signed.
Asked if he was excited at the prospect of becoming a Youth League honcho, Nkabinde said: “I still want to serve in the ANC Youth League and within the ANC. But for what position or which structure, it will depend on branches where they want me to lead.”
And why is he spending a fortune on his birthday celebrations?
Nkabinde said besides what it cost to hire musicians, DJs, sound systems and event organisers, and pay for celebrities’ appearance fees, his three-day bash was also in aid of his foundation, Remember Your Roots, which “celebrates youth and the arts”.
“With the money pledged at the gala dinner on Friday, we are going to open a youth skill development centre and trauma centre in Bekkersdal,” he said. “Last week we gave all high schools in Bekkersdal school uniforms. We also gave the Bekkersdal old age home blankets and groceries.”
Nkabinde, who was raised by his mother and grandmother, said he knew what it was like to be poor.
“One of the reasons I started this foundation is that I can relate to poverty. One of my worst enemies in life is poverty,” he said, adding that he remembered what it was like to go to school without a jersey.
The party, which was supposed to start at 7pm, only kicked off at around 9pm, with a performance by Afro-pop duo Jaziel Brothers, who sang their popular love song, Woza, to which the actors danced.
Water Affairs and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane was supposed to have been the dinner’s keynote speaker but couldn’t come because of a family bereavement. Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Mzwandile Masina spoke on Mokonyane’s behalf.
“We are very proud to produce people like [Nkabinde] in the ANC,” he said.
Nkabinde may already be a millionaire, but he doesn’t consider himself one. “I’m just a millionaire in the making. I’m not yet where I want to be. I still have a long way to go,” he said