Somizi Mhlongo, popularly known as Somgaga, is sure to win any contest for ‘Mzansi’s Most Controversial Celebrity’ because he has had many controversies trailing him. After being in a long-term heterosexual relationship and fathering a child, he came out of the closet and announced his sexuality as gay. In Africa today, most parents disown their children when they find out the truth about their sexuality. But Somizi was able to come out open, which makes a lot of people wonder what kind of relationship he must have had with his parents – who are Africans.
Did they support him? Was he disowned? How did his siblings relate to him? These questions must have crossed the mind of almost anybody who finds out that Somizi Mhlongo is a thriving gay man in Africa. Be that as it may, the controversial TV presenter has not let the stereotype hinder him from shining as bright as he possibly can.
Somizi Mhlongo Started His Acting Early As His Parents Were Actors
Somizi Buyani Mhlongo was born on 23rd December 1972 in Soweto to South African veteran actress Mary Twala and Ndaba Mhlongo, who was an actor and comedian. He was not the only child of his parents; Somizi had a brother called Archie. He spent a better part of his childhood in Soweto. From a very young age, Somizi knew he wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry, and after grade nine, he decided to drop out of school to pursue his dreams.
Through his parents’ influence, who were already in the entertainment industry, Somizi made his debut appearance in the film industry in the 1987 movie Scavengers, at the age of 13. In 1992, he played the role of ‘Whako’ in the internationally acclaimed movie Sarafina! Since his first role in 1987, the Mzansi celeb has been active in the entertainment industry to date.
He has played several major roles in movies like Kein Himmel über Afrika (1993) and Cry, the Beloved Country (1995). He is also one of the judges on the South African talent hunt reality TV show Idols SA. In 2016, he started his own reality TV show titled Living the Dream With Somizi. He has also hosted various awards.
Although his parents may have played a role in bringing him to the limelight, Somizi has also worked hard to maintain this fame. He had to drop out of school after grade nine to pursue a career in entertainment. Aside from acting, judging talent shows, and hosting awards, Somizi is also a choreographer.
Somgaga’s Mother Was His Number One Fan
Somizi Mhlongo’s mother, Mary Kuksie Twala, was an actress who began her career in 1960. She was born on 14th September 1939 in Soweto and was very active in the entertainment industry before her death in 2020. She is popularly known for her role in Yizo-Yizo. In 2007, she played a role in the first season of Generations and has been featured in several South African productions such as Hopeville, Ghost Son, Beat the Drum, and Life, Above All. In 2015, as a result of health issues, she had to take a break from acting, after which she came back and featured in This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection (2019), and Black Is King (2020) before her death.
Before her death, she knew about Somizi’s sexual orientation, and unlike the typical African mothers, she accepted him for who he was. Factually speaking, She was her son’s number one fan. Before her death, she supported his wedding to his husband, Mohale Motaung, and even attended their traditional marriage ceremony.
Her support was a huge encouragement to Somizi, who had been the target of those who disapprove of him because of his different sexual orientation. Sadly, on 4th July 2020, she gave up the ghost in Parklane private hospital. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, her burial was not attended by more than 50 people to ensure social isolation.
The TV Presenter Claims That His Father Knew He Was Gay Before He Died
Somizi Mhlongo really took after his father, Ndaba Walter Mhlongo, a comedian, actor, and choreographer born on 3rd July 1933. Ndaba Walter Mhlongo was popularly known for his role in Inyakanyaka. Father and son co-starred in the musical and political movie Sarafina!. Ndaba was also known for films like Isivumelwano, Upondo no Nkinsela, Bad Company, and Strike Force. He was also an award nominee for Best Choreography on Sarafina! in 1988 at the Tony Awards.
Before Somizi even came out in the open on his sexual orientation, his father was already late. Ndaba Mhlongo died on 29th October 1989 at the age of 56. However, according to Somizi, his father always knew he was gay. He said his father had noticed that he had gay tendencies from a very young age and concluded that he was gay. Somizi did really feel good that his sexuality was so obvious because even at that age, he knew deep down that he liked men.
Somizi Mhlongo Had A Brother Named Archie
Somgaga is not the only child of his parents. In his memoir, Dominoes: Unbreakable Spirit, Somizi talks about growing up with six siblings. However, the only sibling on record is his older brother from his parents, Archie Mhlongo, who died in 1985. He was stabbed at a tavern, and although it was a long time ago, Somizi feels really bad about his brother’s death because he had an opportunity to have saved his life.
According to the celebrity choreographer, the day before his brother died, he met an acquaintance who told him he was sorry to hear about his brother’s death. His brother was still alive when his acquaintance said that, and it made him not think much about it, even though he was surprised. Consequently, he didn’t even try to warn his brother, and by 2 am the next morning, his family got the news that his brother had been stabbed.
Somizi feels bad about what happened to his brother because he had the opportunity to warn him after his discussion with his acquaintance but did not. He could not even tell his parents about the conversation.
Besides His Family, Somizi’s Sexuality Never Found the Acceptance He Craved
In an interview with Sunday World, Somgaga narrated how difficult it was to come out with his sexuality. He said he had prepared himself for whatever was to come before coming out. Thankfully his mother did not react badly to the news, and he believes it is because she always knew he was gay. Since he didn’t have to square up to his parents, he had to face a society that was adverse to homosexuality.
According to him, he lost jobs and opportunities because he was gay. Directors were no longer comfortable with him acting straight roles in productions. Despite all these happenings, the media personality says he was happy that he was himself.