She may not be a main cast member on the show, but Mabusi Seme has nabbed a special place in the hearts of many South Africans.
The Durban, Lamontville-born entrepreneur studied marketing management and worked at Eskom for 15 years before going into business. “I always had an interest in retail and in 2019 I decided to take a leap of faith and go out on my own and start my business,” she tells Drum.
She's always loved reality TV, but she never thought she’d find herself in front of the camera, she shares. “When I was approached for the Real Housewives of Durban I was reluctant, but then I started thinking about my business. After some time, I spoke to my family members, prayed about it and I warmed up to the idea. I was nervous about not knowing anyone, except Sorisha, who I knew from TV, and Nonku who I knew through mutual friends. But everybody else was also new to each other, so that made things easier.”
Out of all the cast members, it's LaConco she's bonded with most, a relationship fans have loved to watch develop this season.
“We would meet for coffee and have nice chats," says Mabusi. "LaConco would call me sometimes to check up on me, which I appreciated. It was genuine and it came naturally. She’s a really nice person to be around, I felt comfortable around her and didn’t have to try too hard.”
Viewers saw that the first season wasn’t the easiest for Mabusi, with high school mean girl tactics deployed by fellow cast members – by calling her a wig snatcher or simply being side lined. Many fans of the show admired her as she carried herself with grace in these situations. She admits her past working experience taught her to be thick-skinned.
"For 15 years I worked with a lot of people with very different personalities. It’s very common to find people being disrespectful for no reason, and that’s how I became very thick skinned. Even on the show I never felt like leaving because I decide what’s going to make me angry, not other people.
"I also knew why I wanted to be on that show. Leaving because of how others treated me would mean I allowed them to break me and my ambitions. Leaving like that would be like allowing the devil or your enemies to win. The day I leave it will be because of my own personal reasons, not because of anybody else.”
If you follow Mabusi on social media you’ll see that she’s been serving us looks and it’s not by mistake. She says she is focusing more on herself this year and stepping away from giving her businesses her all.
“The show really broadened my perspective and made me think about paying attention to things I’d never paid much attention to before. This season I’m building Mabusi as a person and focusing more on my look. I just want to explore what’s out there and see what I like.”
While she’s open to exploring new things, elegance is and will continue to be the centre of who she is, and that includes her style.
“I always say elegance must never take a day off! Even my make-up, I want it to be glam but make it elegant too. But I also want to be relatable to people, being glam doesn’t mean being too much.”
It seems we won’t get to see her man on the show, at least not yet, but if she becomes a main cast member, the possibility is there, she says.
“Right now, I’m in a long-distance relationship and it’s not possible, we’re still deciding whether I’m going to move overseas to be with him or if it’s better he comes here. We’re still figuring it out. You have to remember I have my businesses to consider so it would be a huge ask.”
And she’s got a message for all her amazing supporters who’ve shown her love this season. “Just follow your dreams, stand up for your truth and what you want. We get stuck on planning a lot but don’t forget to actually try and implement your plans. People don't let fear stop them. I think fear is just a lack of faith.
"Have more faith and you’ll see."