He used to joke about being broke and broken-hearted – but now he’s having the last laugh. Moshe Ndiki has come a long way since making YouTube videos about drinking cheap wine on his own and his long-running battle to find a signal with his TV aerial.
He’s been in showbiz for only four years and is already the toast of the town. The comedian stars in the popular soap The Queen, is the host of hit dating show Uyang’thanda Na? and now he’s bagged a coveted job on Metro FM. Moshe has plenty of reasons to celebrate – and after years of being single he’s thrilled to have someone special to share his good bubbly with.
Yet Moshe is modest to a fault when he pops in at the DRUM studios in Auckland Park. When he joins us for our interview, he tells us he’s still getting used to the fame. “I appreciate all the support people show me. Sometimes I’m surprised people recognise me,” he says with a laugh. “But I’m super grateful, man. I’m really blessed.”
His star is shining brightly but it’s not his professional life that’s been making headlines. Moshe’s relationship with Phelo Bala (28) has taken centre stage since Phelo’s brother, Loyiso Bala, weighed in on their relationship. He caused a social-media storm when he posted a birthday message to his younger brother. “Blessed to have spent some quality time with my brother @PheloBala the past few weeks,” he wrote. “As I said to him, ‘I’m in no position to judge u but to love you and to always point you to Christ. Your relationship with him will define your life’s purpose’. #Happy28thBirthday mntshan’am.” Loyiso, who makes up the music group Bala Brothers along with Phelo and Zwai, was called out by social-media users for homophobia.
Even fashion designer Thula Sindi had something to say. “Your type of church-goer never misses a chance to persecute others,” he tweeted. “Even your own brother . . . In a birthday message Loyiso . . . Really? Be a better brother, no terms and conditions.” But Moshe won’t be drawn in on the debate. “I mean, that tweet didn’t come from my account, so I can’t really comment on it,” he says.
Loyiso has since apologised for the controversy. “I tweeted a post that offended the LGBTI community,” he wrote on Twitter. “I sincerely apologise as it was not my intention to hurt anyone, but to express my love for my brother. I am against all forms of dis-crimination and I support all who strive for equal rights and social justice.”Phelo is very private and hasn’t commented on the public outrage but Loyiso reposted a message he received from Phelo. “Thank you so much for your love and leadership bhuti (brother) but above all, letting me be,” Phelo wrote. “You continue to inspire me daily.”Moshe won’t air the Bala brothers’ laundry but he’s happy to talk about Phelo. “I mean, do you blame me? Have you seen him?” he says, whipping out his cell phone.
His screensaver is a picture of Phelo. “I’m at such a happy and mature place in my life right now. I just thank God for the support he gives me,” he gushes. He’s been dating the youngest Bala brother on and off since 2010. The pair fell head over heels when they met – he’s reluctant to share the details – but split after a short romance because they were both trying to find their feet in the industry. “We both had a lot of growing up to do before being serious with each other, but the attraction was always there,” Moshe says
“We were good friends. We didn’t have any bitterness towards each other. “They rekindled their romance last year and officially became an item. Since then the celebrity couple have been joined at the hip, posting loved-up snaps to their social-media accounts. “We support and understand each other because we come from very similar backgrounds – we both have the most amazing, loving and supportive mothers,” Moshe says. The couple posted pictures honouring their moms, Lilana Ndiki and Veronica Bala. “They’re our biggest cheerleaders and we do everything we can to make them proud.” They’ve already met the most important women in each other’s lives, but have they met the rest of each other’s family? “Oh yes, lala. And we got along like a house on fire.”
Do they plan to tie the knot? Moshe slips into his YouTube character. “Yhu ha-ah no comment! Nope, no comment!” he says, laughing. Here is something close to his heart that he does want to talk about, he says. Moshe is proud to be an ambassador of the #Me1st campaign, an initiative launched by Right to care, a non-profit organisation that supports and provides prevention, care and treatment for HIV and associated diseases.
He tells us he wants to raise awareness around men’s health. “I got on board almost immediately because I’m really passion-ate about the sexual health of men who have sex with men – and they’re not always gay, by the way. “There are straight men who have families who happen to be sex workers, and men who just have sex with men, who don’t always identify as gay men,” he says. “Think about all the men who have sex with men but don’t get tested because they’re scared of being ridiculed by nurses and doctors – there are a lot of those. That’s why this campaign is important. “We partnered with public clinics and try to promote a healthy and safe environment for men who have sex with men to get the medical attention that’s enjoyed by everyone else.”
The campaign, which also counts Inxeba star Nakhane and Skeem Saam actor Cedric Fourie as ambassadors, is com-mitted to providing access to information and free health-care that is discreet and free of discrimination. “What we’re promoting is for everyone to practise safe sex,” he says. “In December I posted a picture of my bag with a condom in it, and someone was like, ‘But what could possibly hap-pen to you?’ That really shocked me, but it made me realise sex education is something we need to promote even more than we already have. “Condoms are not only for avoiding pregnancy – condoms are there to protect us from all kinds of STDs.”