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DJ Zinhle: "I'm excited to let people into my life in my own way"

With her new BET show on the horizon, DJ Zinhle chats to tagged about what we can expect. Sounds like it might be the unfiltered, uncensored reality show we need!
Author: Gabi Mbele
Thu, Sep 16, 2021

PHOTOS: Supplied/ Stills by Tom

It's still 2021… Not only you are currently making it through a pandemic but also some rather questionable SA reality television content since the inception of Nonhle Thema's scripted episodes of Nonhle Goes to Hollywood in 2011.

And now we are getting another one called DJ Zinhle: The Unexpected with businesswoman and DJ, Zinhle Jiyane, launching this Saturday.

Sure, Thema wasn't the first celebrity to have a reality show, as we all know some iconic reality shows globally, from The Osbournes and The Simple Life, all the way to Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

It's fair to say, locally, we are fresh off this reality show boat, despite having been exposed to a substantial number of them (I counted 213 shows including those on infamously addictive Moja Love on DStv channel 157) in terms of quality, believability and scripting.

This piece is not about your regular reality shows like Big Brother (SA), Popstars, Come Dine With Me, Strictly Come Dancing and all that jazz, but more about the growing fascination or obsession for local celebrities yearning to humble-brag about their seemingly perfect lives.

With the trend commencing with Thema's reality show as it was the most memorable start which ended in what may be called South Africa's most talked-about celebrity meltdown.

When reading this, think more along the lines of your favourite local personalities who've given us a glimpse into their lives through their reality shows. All of them had to be scripted, especially the weddings and those grand parties – of course they were. But how many of these have truly imparted knowledge that you can look back at and say, 'boy that was a good show'?

Let me share my personal learnings with you from reality shows that truly shared some insights and wish their shows delved more into these topics:

  • Dineo's Diary which turned into The Ranakas – the former has addressed deadbeat fathers (a pandemic in SA), navigating intimate relationships and the honest struggle of starting a business. As a family, The Ranakas exposed similarities in many black families, addressed black love, mental health and importance of family unity.
  • Life with Kelly Khumalo – watching a single mom parent while addressing broken paternal links, mental and spiritual health dilemmas was truly insightful. Hers and Dineo's journeys aren't too different, as both celebs gave valid options and solutions and shared important information about their personal challenges.
  • Being Bonang – if "believe in yourself" was a person then Bonang's show was it… She was cryptic in how she secured the bag but where she did share, it was helpful. More than anything moghel taught us that "if you don't fan yourself, no one will". She showed us how to pump our self-esteem a little.

The rest of the shows were for sheer entertainment. The weddings were stunning and their love stories for the books. We saw them driving their lavish cars, travelling the world and waking up in their gigantic mansions. We definitely do need these for our downtimes. Social media has also made it fun to watch these shows and if our celebs are getting the bag while doing it, good for them.

But you know what would be beautiful to watch?

A black woman navigating the realities of being a mother; maintaining a flourishing love life; building an empire and living her best lavish life; securing and making the bag, and (no pressure there, MaJiyane) this might be what DJ Zinhle gives us, finally!

tagged! chats to DJ Zinhle – the KZN personality who entered the celebrity scene as a DJ 17 years ago and has since blossomed into a businesswoman with various interests such as Era by DJ Zinhle, the hair manufacturing company Hair Majesty and is also the CEO of the international sparkling wine beverage, Boulevard Nectar Rosé.

GABI: Why did you do a reality show and what were the most important factors that you had to consider?

ZINHLE: It feels like the right time to open myself up to my fans and do a reality show that speaks my truth and tells my story and shows you a side of me that you've never seen before.

One of the most important things for me was partnering with a channel that knows and understands how to tell our stories, so BET Africa just made so much sense because they are at the forefront of amplifying and educating global audiences about the richness and nuances of black culture and black excellence. So, I'm excited to be a part of the channel. I think we are going to do amazing work together.

G: How do you feel about opening yourself up to the whole of Mzansi?

Z: There are a lot of mixed emotions. I am super scared and stressed about opening my life to people in this way. It's something I've never done before. However, I'm also super excited to just get the opportunity to tell my story in my own way – to let people into my life in my own way. So, this is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time.

G: The show is called DJ Zinhle: Unexpected, can you tell us more about this title and what people can expect from the show?

Z: So, the show is really about just letting you into my life so you can see my role as a mom, a businesswoman, who I am to my family and friends and the people I work with. It's a very close and intimate look into my life.

So, you can expect a lot of emotions. You can expect a lot of information that you wouldn't have gotten from anywhere else because I don't talk about my life that much. There will be a lot of things that you will start to understand about me that you didn't understand before because now you're so close to me and I'm able to tell you my story myself.

G: How have you managed to build such a successful and well-kept brand even with your love life in the public eye?

Z: When I start something, I dedicate myself to giving 100%, so nothing can break my focus. I don't let the noise in, especially if it's negative.

G: How is your reality show going to be different from the many that already exist in Mzansi?

Z: Everyone's journey is different, but what I am excited to share with the viewers is a closer look into how much I actually work on my businesses. Most may feel it's excessive (laughs) but it's important for me to share what the reality of being a black businesswoman is in South Africa.

I've been a DJ for 17 years now and it's been such a memorable journey for me, wow. I've travelled, met so many amazing people all by doing what I absolutely love, and for me that's just a massive blessing!

I've had to learn so many invaluable lessons along the way, however, the important one is knowing that nobody owes me anything. If I need to achieve something, I need to be the driving force behind it. Learning that early on in life really empowered me to seek the knowledge I needed to do what I do.

G: What is the one thing that you hope the show teaches people about you that many are misinformed about you?

Z: The most important take out for me is, I want the public and viewers to understand that women can have children and still be successful in life. Women with kids don't need to stay home as the public boxes them. Women with kids can still take up spaces in boardrooms, business and in the corporate world.

  • DJ Zinhle: The Unexpected launches on Saturday 18 September on BET Africa (DStv channel 129) at 7.30pm