Life in the spotlight - Actress Zola Nombona on how she manages her child's social media presence

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Zola Nombona shares her details of her life as a momager.
Zola Nombona shares her details of her life as a momager.

It's become normal. Celebrities and media personalities give birth, and their babies suddenly get a massive following of their own.

It can be through their own pages, like Gabrielle Union's Shady Baby Kaavia James Union Wade, or they have fans flocking to their parents' pages hoping to get a glimpse of the baby. And these babies can start making money before they can walk, which means someone has to be in charge of what they put out on social media.

It can be a job and a half. And it takes a good momager to keep the balance and make sure a child is not overexposed and can still be a child.

Momagers like Kris Jenner seem to do it effortlessly and some actors and athletes are managed by their parents, from their socials to careers.

Sharing your child with the world is not as easy as Instagram makes it look. We spoke to actress Zola Nombona, who recently had her son Cebelihle, about being a mommy who shares her son with the world.

“I was nervous at first. It’s obviously my first time being a mother, I was thinking about what others may say because you know people have a lot of opinions on what new moms should and shouldn’t do. But I share my life on social media, and I thought leaving him out of it would be weird. Also, my midwife, who helped me when I was giving birth to my son reminded me that he’s coming into my life, he’s the one who has to adjust. I can’t change who I am now all because I have a child. I’m a social person, sharing him was natural.”

Zola Nombona son
Zola Nombona's son Cebelihle who turned one this year.

Read more | Isono actress Zola Nombona on how being a mom made her fearless

Once a child is posted on social media, parents then have to deal with people commenting on the child. Zola tells us how she navigates that and puts boundaries in place with followers when it comes to posts about her child. She also is intentional about how much of her child's life she puts out.

“I’m fortunate enough to not have experienced negativity towards my baby so far. From my side, our son doesn’t just belong to me. He also belongs to his dad. He needs to be considered when I post. We both decided that we’d never create a separate page for him. For now, he’s still a baby and getting to know himself, and he’ll do it when he wants and when he is ready. Right now, we are going to treat him like the child that he is.”

When it comes to how negative people can be about mothers creating pages for their children or posting them in general, this is Zola's response. “It’s stupid. Who are you to tell me how I should raise the child that I carried for 9 months? I honestly hate people who think it is ok to police how other people raise their children.”

Social media is a lucrative space for children as well, with kids who become popular getting sponsorships from brands. But momagers still get the reputation that they are selling their child.

”If a child is talented and has the personality for it, and the child doesn’t look unhappy then there is nothing wrong with making a career out of social media for your child. I honestly think it is people policing. As long as the child and the parent are happy. But I will never start a separate page for my son, it takes a lot of time, time that I do not have.”

Naturally, the dynamics between mother and child can be strained for various reasons, but what happens when your child either wants to take charge of their own page that you created or when they want you to stop posting them completely.

“I shield myself from that by posting him on my page only. That way I don’t take that chance away from him. When he does create his own page, it’ll be because he wants to. So that’s how I avoid unnecessary conflict. For now, because I carried him I’ll continue to post him.”

Read more | Zola Nombona shows off her adorable baby boy: ‘I’m so in love, it’s ridiculous’

As much as having a famous parent can be stressful, Zola thinks that her experience in the industry can be useful to her child if he ever chooses to enter the social media space.

“I have experience, so I can guide him. Keep him focused on what the purpose of the page is. Because of having been on social media myself.”

Zola Nombona
Zola Nombona and her son Cebelihle that she shares with Thomas Gumede.

Zola is aware that having a career early on, on social media could be beneficial to Cebelihle. And considers that when she posts him, but right now she posts him purely for her own pleasure and sharing her life with her followers.

“I definitely thought of the benefits. As much as he’s an extension of myself, if it will give him a head start then why not? I know from my own life that being well known does help in your career. And if our popularity will help him in any way, then why not. That’s why I try not to cross any boundaries as his mom because I know my actions will always be connected to him.”

It's up to the parents to give the popular child a balanced life.

“I think children are influenced by their immediate environment, more than anything else. So, if Thomas and I teach him humility and respect, then outside pressures don’t matter. He’ll always remember those anchors from home, that are humility, humanity and respect.”

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