Lasizwe seizes the moment
Timing. It’s probably the most important thing in life. Like luck and good looks, it was the right timing that led to Charlize Theron having a meltdown at the bank that led to her being spotted by a casting agent and she now has an Oscar. She was also lucky to be drop-dead gorgeous.
From the many model, actor and musicians stories we have read of how they were discovered, it has always been about timing.
You may wonder what this has to do with YouTuber-turned-reality TV personality, Lasizwe. A lot, actually.
See, timing led to us being exposed to this phenomenon called Lasizwe. Without more of us embracing social media, realising that we could use YouTube beyond watching music videos and catching up on news and talk shows, there would be few YouTube personalities and likely no Laaizwe.
It’s the second day of 2019 when I call Lasizwe. Going in, I expect him to still be tired from the New Year’s celebrations, getting content for his MTV Reality Show, Lasizwe: Fake It Till You Make It. Turns out he was at home and asleep before midnight.
What happened was an interesting conversation that led to being told to not make this article spicy.
Time to make a confession. I’d like to think I’m open-minded, that I give everyone a fair chance to impress me and am easy to please. I’m not. Sometimes I’m too conservative and old school, and I’m actually impossible to please. Things I’m working hard to change about me.
And yet, it’s these things that have led me to decide whether something is good enough and worth my time. I call it my BS monitor.
The first time I watched a Lasizwe video, my BS monitor beeped. A lot. I tried to ignore it, seeking to give this guy a chance because he was doing skits that people thought were funny. But I just never laughed. Not once. Of all the people doing skits, he was one who left me feeling very meh.
And yet that didn’t stop Lasizwe from becoming the star that he was and that’s because he has an audience who consumes his videos, laughs at his many characters and actually enjoys the content he shares.
That has led to him being one of the most popular internet personalities, helping him transcend social media, and he is now as famous as his older sister, Khanyi Mbau.
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When I ask how she reacted when she found out about the show, he was too coy for my liking. “Oh you will see on the show,” he said, mock laughing. That turned out to be his standard answer to most questions.
Lasizwe: Fake It Till You Make It will see him share parts of his life. We will see glimpses of his family life, the people he calls friends in the industry (Ayanda MVP), him spending time with his rumoured boyfriend (“he’s just a friend” he said when I asked about Cedric Fourie).
He chose the people on the show because of his relationship with them.
“It was based on people I vibe with, people I am open with, people who give me strong advice, people who guide me. Not just anyone who is there to ride on my wave.”
The storyline is said to be full of contrasts amplified by the locations; from Soweto where he grew up, to Sandton where he lives and his family’s KZN township home.
We will, he says, see another side of Lasizwe – him being vulnerable.
“It still scares me how real I was – the emotions, the vulnerability.
“You actually see what goes into the making of my characters, you will see the trauma, the troubles, the fights. It’s real. Everyday I cringe when I think about my life being showcased on a TV show.”
I guess a reality show was the next step for Lasizwe and he admits that it’s something he’s always wanted. But he was waiting for the right time.
“It was something in the pipeline, something I have always wanted to happen and I’m grateful that it has. It came at the right time. I believe in things coming at the right time.”
Lasizwe: Fake It Till You Make It is MTV’s first local reality series focusing on a person, something he is proud of. He wants to break grounds and ceilings. He wants to “come for everything”, he tells me.
“The name of the show sounded dope in my head. You know when you get a lot of noes? And you know what you want? You know you will get there somewhere, somehow.”
Lasizwe is polarising. There’s no middle ground with him, you either like him or you don’t. But he chooses to focus on those who appreciate his talent and says it’s because he appeals to something in them.
“I think people relate to me because I’m very real. If I’m living a lavish life today, I will show that. If I’m living a broke life today, I will show that it’s bad. I don’t hide behind filters. If it’s bad, it’s bad. I pride myself with being real. It’s a quality everyone relates to.”
Is he controversial?
“No comment… I don’t know if I’m controversial. I don’t want to comment on this in 2019.”
Is he a problematic fave? “No.”
Do people love to hate you? Are people being unfair? “I wouldn’t comment on that. The hate is only on Twitter, not in person. People hide behind their phones to get attention.”
How does he deal with the backlash? “Um, it’s just knowing yourself and being grounded. Knowing what works for you and what doesn’t. Why would I be affected by what someone says about me?”
Any social media regrets? “No. I’m aware that social media is for entertainment purposes… People shouldn’t take it personally.”
Are he and Cedric a real couple? “(Laughs) He’s my friend. I’m not going to say anything else. For everyone in the public, he’s my friend.”
What can we expect from the show? “I want you to have an experience. I want you to see the real reality – not just the glitz and the lavish life. South African reality we always do lavish.”
Love or hate him, we can’t ignore Lasizwe. And we all will be tuning in to his reality show – because we really want to see if our perceptions of him are true.
Tune into Lasizwe: Fake It Till You Make It on MTV DStv channel 130) tomorrow at 10pm.