Even though DJ Zinhle (real name Ntombezinhle Jiyane) is a celebrity in her own right, she has grabbed headlines more for her romantic relationships than her successes as a DJ, producer and businesswoman.
Sadly, this scenario prevailed for the longest time.
But she is finally reclaiming her narrative with “DJ Zinhle - Unexpected”, her first reality show on BET Africa, a channel that prides itself on celebrating black excellence through its content.
In making the big announcement this week, she also confirmed her pregnancy and was showered with well-wishes on social media.
Thank you for your love and blessings. Bongani and I are so happy. God bless you all.— #Indlovu #ERAbyDJZinhle #ZeeNation (@DJZinhle) August 24, 2021
I can't drink any @BoulevardRose right now but you can, so please go and celebrate on my behalf 🙈🥂
Save the date: 18th Sept. The Unexpected #BETDJZinhle on @BET_Africa pic.twitter.com/JwGUmPi062
Of course, in life, timing is everything.
In a Zoom chat on Thursday, she explained her surprisingly bold move to do a reality show, more so as it is such an invasive medium and a stark contrast to the low-key profile that she’s kept.
Looking absolutely ravishing (that pregnancy glow is unmistakable), she said: “I literally follow my instincts when it comes to big decisions like this and I am surrounded by people who understand our journey, whether it is business or on a personal level.
“We talk about a lot of ideas, you know. We spoke about a lot of ideas of how we could enjoy this pregnancy or maximise the opportunity of being pregnant.
“And we just thought, okay cool, the timing of this is finally perfect. We are at the stage where we are in control of our story, we are in control of our brand, we are in control of how we are being perceived in the public as opposed to before when the story was a bit different.”
She added: “And now I feel like people understand my values and my vision when it comes to what I’m trying to do.
“I’m a DJ, I’m a producer, I make good music, I make hit songs, I’m a businesswoman and I’m in charge of the narrative and I’m not doing a show simply because I can.”
Together with her team - and she has a massive one - they are finally ready to “take over the world”.
Zinhle explained: “I feel in terms of timing, this is the most mature my story has ever been. And this is the most I’ve been in control of my story. And I’m happy to tell it in my own way because now it is no longer, ‘Oh, you were dating this guy, or you were doing this’.”
Her most publicised relationship has been with rapper AKA, with who she has a daughter, Kairo Owethu Forbes.
After having the worse luck with dating, Zinhle is happy in love with baby daddy Bongani “Murah Bongz” Mohasana from Black Motion.
“You can be pregnant as a woman and still go after your dreams,” she pointed out.
Zinhle is keen for audiences to understand her and what she is capable of as a mom as well as a businesswoman.
She added: “When we approached the production house and the channel, we felt that it was the right time.
“And in terms of the channel, it was about engaging with a channel that understands this kind of narrative of a powerful black woman who is in charge of her story.
“The thing about my life in recent years is that I’ve always allowed people to tell whatever story that they wanted to tell and I didn’t really push the narrative by responding.
“Our mission as a team is to change the narrative through work and through whatever we deal with as a brand. Even with engagement either with the media or on social media, we wanted to re-brand.”
Zinhle’s story reflects her success with portfolios in the fashion, hospitality and learning sectors.
She’s also found her equilibrium in life, too, which has boosted her confidence, creativity and influence.
She explained: “You cannot take away from the fact that I’m still in a relationship with someone, I still have a personal life and people are still interested in those things.
“And, as opposed to before, where that was the leading story, that is no longer the leading story...it’s a complementary story because it’s part of life.
“I don’t want to be famous for who I am dating. I want to be famous for that big song that I made that changes peoples lives.
“I want to be famous for a story that I’m telling as a mom. You could be a mom and still take over the world.
“I want to tell the story that you can have businesses and still, f**k it up a little bit (laughs).”
With Covid-19 our new reality, filming was a bit daunting for her.
She offered: “That was tricky, I won’t lie. I was very hectic about following protocol.
“Also, the people that we were shooting with were professional so they understand. But it was a stressful thing to do.”
Zinhle’s other challenge was convincing certain family members to agree to have cameras in their faces every day.
The reality show will feature her siblings, mom, bae and close friends, Pearl Thusi and Nomuzi Mabena.
As for the show’s title and what it symbolises, she explained: “I think the most obvious one for us was no one knew about the pregnancy so that was the unexpected part. But the meaning kind of evolved in conversations.
“This is unexpected for me to do as I’m so private. It translated to lots of parts of the show.
“The show is unexpected because people don’t really know anything about my life. I know they like to think they do but they don’t.”
She added that the “unexpected moments” will not only be generated by her but by her family and friends, too.
“DJ Zinhle - Unexpected” airs on BET Africa (DStv channel 129) on September 18 at 7.30pm.