Bonang Matheba talks about 'Activate: The Global Citizen Movement'
Bonang Matheba is one of SA’s most influential personalities.
Beyond making history, Bonang’s also making a difference and this is why the stylish Global Citizen Ambassador is rocking 2019 like it’s nobody’s business
Her Oprah-esque sway has propelled Bonang Matheba into a league of her own. She has the Midas touch and it has never been more apparent than this year. Since breaking up – for real – from AKA, Queen B has been riding the crest of success in various spaces.
Earlier this month, she was among the nominees in the inaugural African Influencer of the Year category for E! People’s Choice Awards. She is in the running with Cassper Nyovest (South Africa), Davido (Nigeria), Diamond Platnumz (Nigeria), Minnie Dlamini-Jones (South Africa), Tiwa Savage (Nigeria), Wizkid (Nigeria) and Yemi Alade (Nigeria).
In a recent interview with Queen B, where we spoke about her being featured in National Geographic’s docu-series "Activate: The Global Citizen Movement", she said: “I became an influencer in 2019.
I don’t know how that happened, can you imagine (laughs). I like to interpret the word influence as impact. No words can describe it… to know that what you do and what you say, influences people.
“Right now is the best time to use my influence for the right things. It’s an honour being among Davido and Wizkid – these are global superstars. What can I say, I’ve had a wonderful year. I’m truly, truly humbled.
Every time, I get a nomination, it’s a dream come true. But let’s see what happens in Santa Monica in November.” Just over a week ago, she was announced as one of the 11 Glamour’s Most Glamourous 2019 winners. In May, she won the Inspiration and Influence Award at Global Social Awards 2019.
The event was held in Prague, where 40 influencers from around the world congregated.
In March, she launched House of BNG with her Brut and Brut Rosé Méthode Cap Classiques (MCCs).
It had been a passion project for a while. At the time, she said: “Champagne is my favourite drink, so getting the chance to make my own MCC was an opportunity I couldn’t miss out on!” Her venture wasn’t only a roaring success, it also celebrated her as the first black woman to be added to the Méthode Cap Classique Association. And her bubbly was served at this year’s presidential inauguration.
More recently, House of BNG was the official celebration sponsor at Miss SA. On the red carpet, she is royalty. She rocked it at E! Entertainment’s 15th anniversary in April, the Vodacom Durban July and, boy oh boy, was she a sight to behold last month with her wardrobe changes as the host of the Miss SA pageant.
A wonderful muse for Gert-Johan Coetzee for several years now, it was fitting that she ended the show wearing one of his creations. Her social media reach is insane. Whether she’s celebrating good news à la surprising her cousin Pinky Girl with a new BMW convertible, throwing shade or simply speaking her mind, she is always heard.
And she’s back on the small screen for season three of Being Bonang. Viewers love being a fly on the wall in her life. She’s to South African audiences what the Kardashians are to US fans. But it’s not all about fame and glory for Queen B. She is using her power to make a difference.
A year ago, she started the Bonang Matheba Bursary Fund. She’s also a Global Citizen Ambassador and the only South African to feature in the new six-part docu-series on National Geographic.
“They called me and said, ‘Bonang, you are such an incredible person, we want you to join the Global Citizen Movement’.
They explained what it was about. I told them I’m very passionate about girls’ education and I have this bursary fund.” She wanted to draw attention to this issue and hence she agreed to be a Global Citizen Ambassador, a role that goes beyond hosting the concert that was held in the country last December.
“During the Global Citizen Festival, I was very lucky to interact with Usher. I think he’s the one person I really spoke to about this.
At the concert backstage, I remember telling him about my bursary fund, and he told me about the work he’s doing in Los Angeles. I think we felt the same, in that a lot of people are so far removed from the actual problem.
He said to me, ‘Bonang, you need to go on the ground, you need to spend time with young girls’. I dedicated my 2019 to that,” she shared. Matheba appears in episode four of the series. She added: “Early this year, I spent the day at a primary school in East Rand, where we were speaking to young girls about what actually happens to your body around puberty and, during this journey, I started realising there are so many things that impact these young girls.
I didn’t know that over 200 000 young girls miss school every year because they don’t have sanitary towels. It’s mind blowing.”
In this influencer-ruled era, the legacy of Queen B goes beyond fame and fortune, it is underpinned by a steely determination to educate and empower young girls.
*"Activate: The Global Citizen Movement" airs on National Geographic (DStv channel 181) on Sundays at 8pm.