In recent years, celebrity death hoaxes have become a norm on social media, but when I took a peek on Twitter and the first post read: “Is it true Sophie Ndaba is no more?”, the shock I had after trying to get hold of Sophie Lichaba née Ndaba for an interview nearly killed me.
I called Lichaba’s close friend, celebrity publicist and businessman Jarred Doyle, who confirmed that “Sophie is very much alive”.
A few hours later, the wedding planner extraordinaire and former "Generations" star returned my call. To my surprise, she was in high spirits and seemingly not shaken by the fake news.
We also spoke about her TV comeback, and Lichaba revealed she will start shooting the series "Family Secrets" later this month.
“I can’t reveal much now because that’s my ‘family secret’ and I’m excited to announce that I will also be co-producing the star-studded show.”
Though she’s mum about the cast, Lichaba insists the all-star cast and the storyline are the highlights of the show.
After her four-year hiatus, Lichaba is also ecstatic about the talk show Hashtag that she’ll be co-hosting with Francois Louw and TLC’s "Next Great Presenter Search" judge, Jarred Doyle. The fourth presenter is yet to be announced.
“I’m looking forward to coming back to TV after a wonderful four-year break from the limelight I was really exhausted.”
Lichaba is embracing the challenge of being a talk show host.
“It’s something new, it’s exciting, it’s different and I’m looking forward to the new challenge.”
Both shows will start airing next year.
Meanwhile, Lichaba, who has been living with diabetes for three years, was recently body shamed by social media trolls over a picture of her displaying her weight loss.
In an Instagram post, she set the record straight about her health.
“Living with diabetes doesn’t mean my life must stop. It means I will fight to live and encourage those who already are suffering from this deadly disease,”, she wrote.
Lichaba, who lost her parents to diabetes, said she was an ambassador for people living with diabetes.
About her weight loss, she said it’s a “blessing in disguise”.
“I’ve always wanted to lose weight.
“I’m gaining it slowly through protein diets and I’m going to reach my target weight but I have to do it the healthy way.”
She also said she was starting a blog, a platform where she would provide tips on healthy eating, exercise and mental health, among other topics.
“It’s such a hard thing to put together because you want to find the right way so that people gain value out of it.”
We quickly shifted gears and started talking about the fake news.
The 46-year-old also slammed the media for publishing stories without checking their facts.
“Trolls can say whatever they want on social media but the media has a responsibility to investigate and set the record straight for the greater good of the society.
“My husband, my son, my daughters, my stepkids, my family are on social media, so imagine if they read that I have died while they’re driving, what would have happened?
“My daughter called me and said I just wanted to hear your voice because I’m so traumatised.”
This is the third time she has been a victim of a death hoax.
“I believe that they’re giving me more years, and the power of their tongues does not work because I have my own prayers and I don’t give up that easily. And besides, I’m not on my deathbed, let’s just get that straight.
“Another journalist recently wrote ‘Sophie wants to be left in peace because she’s going through stuff’. I’m not going through anything.
“I’m not dying, I’m living with diabetes, it’s a chronic illness. I’m not bedridden, I’m working probably 18 hours a day because I have no time to waste.
“They confuse people who have been recently diagnosed to believe that it (diabetes) is a death sentence and that is nonsense.
“I’m begging South Africans, can you just back off? Do your research or shut up!”