BU on success after Big Brother Mzansi and his Ayeye gig - 'Life has been very good'

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Luthando “BU” Mthembu
Luthando “BU” Mthembu
  • From being a contestant on Big Brother Mzansi, Luthando ‘BU’ Mthembu has launched an acting and music career.
  • His first prominent acting gig is being cast on Ayeye: Stripped, which airs on Mzansi Magic.
  • Recently, he also launched a hip-hop single with rapper Sizwe Alakine (formerly Reason).

For Luthando ‘BU’ Mthembu, life after Big Brother Mzansi has been, as he says, “very good”. 

Born and bred in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal, Luthando, better known as BU the Zulu Vegan, was introduced to fans through Big Brother Mzansi Season 3. Since leaving the house, he’s been showcasing his craft as a lifestyle creative and artist. 

We’ve seen him on the red carpet with the established and up-and-coming who’s who of South Africa’s entertainment scene, and his latest triumph will be seen in Ayeye: Stripped when the series airs on Mzansi Magic. 

“There’s been a lot of fame,” he says. “There are people who want to be associated with you because of ‘fame’. So, I always have to be wary about who I have around me. It’s up to me now to see what opportunities I take from the Big Brother platform, and the reception from the audience since I left the house has been very warm. I feel like I attract what I am - a lot of the people that I’ve attracted are very similar to me. People that have positive energy.”

His venture into acting isn’t a newfound interest. In his profile, he lists it as a talent, however, being cast in Ayeye is a big TV gig, and the impact of the show is significantly more prolific. 

There are learnings every day, Luthando says, and reality TV, compared to shooting a scripted show, is very different. 

“A lot of the things that I thought were, are actually not, and it’s interesting. I am learning so much, and it’s been great meeting a lot of people in the industry. It’s also great that I don’t have to introduce myself as they already know me. It’s been a beautiful process to witness, and I am very humbled by that,” he shares.

READ MORE | Trusting the wrong people and falling in love – B.U and Zino on their time in the Big Brother house 

He adds that his character Mbuso on Ayeye: Stripped is a go-getter and very persistent in what he believes in, which is very similar to himself. 

“Mbuso is a shade of BU. Although I was acting, I didn’t find it very difficult to tap into him. I can’t share much about him until the show starts, but he’s a very moral individual, which [you] don’t find in this day and age. You have to tune into the show on Mzansi Magic to see what I mean.”

And life on set? 

He says, “It’s been great. I believe in reciprocation. If you give positive energy, you get positive energy back. I have been getting a lot of positive energy from both the crew and cast members, and I am so grateful. It honestly was an incredible experience, and we felt like a family.”

“Also, free food on set. Who doesn’t like free food,” he jokes. 

“But in all seriousness, spending time with creatives is the most rewarding experience you can ever have. You learn that other actors are musicians etc. So, a lot of people do a lot of things in the industry. We don’t normally know this at face value, so it’s important to spend time with people and see how you can collaborate and enjoy each other’s gift and what you can give to the world,” he explains.

Luthando is also a musician, and his musical persona, LuDo BU, is a shortened version of Luthando Mthembu. 

“It’s derived from me trying to find a motto or slogan for my life. I was like everything that I am doing right now is me trying to be the utmost best version of myself … I also saw that in my surname Mthembu, which is where the BU comes from. BU stands for Be Yourself.”

Luthando BU Mthembu
Luthando “BU” Mthembu

His single, The Packager, featuring Sizwe Alakine (formerly Reason), has been met with a successful reception. 

“It’s been crazy, especially for numbers,” he says. “I don’t think anyone saw that coming, especially my record label. Nobody expected me to have such numbers. The music video is playing on Channel O and Mzansi Magic. We are trying to push it to play on other channels such as Trace Music and MTV,” he says.

“I bumped into him [Sizwe Alakine] one day, and we just connected. We spoke, and I played him my song, and he said I have to be in it. It’s alignment. You attract what you are,” Luthando says when he talks about working with the local hip-hop star. 

“I love hip hop, but I don’t want to limit myself. I learnt that from Sizwe Alakine. He does not limit himself. He always reinvents himself and connects to a new audience. I love that. I will not only focus on hip hop but other variations of music. I love music, and if I can express myself, I don’t think the genre matters,” he says.

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Even with his acting, music and dancing, love for poetry, lyricism, and wellness, Luthando says he tries not to do the juggling act in his life. He says he’s at a point where he does things that make sense to him. 

“My alignment comes from the Almighty. I really don’t have any power towards it. It’s God. There is no formula. I do what makes sense to me; I do what speaks to my heart and soul. I do what makes me happy,” he explains.

Even when relaxing, he keeps doing what he enjoys the most in his free time – which is making memories. 

He says, “I am a collector of memories. I love living life.” 

To relax, Luthando lists meditation, reading, sleeping, and having deep, meaningful conversations as his favourite ways to unwind. 

“I speak a lot to myself and God. And I enjoy spending time with my friends and family,” he adds.

So, what’s next? 

“I am limitless. I am going to be doing more of what I am doing now. I am still going to be dancing, singing, acting and rapping. I am going to be giving the work more of BU,” he concludes. 

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