In 2015, Somizi Mhlongo joined Idols SA as a judge and it didn’t take him long to become best of friends with fellow Idols judge, Unathi Nkayi. Their friendship, however, soured in September 2021 when Unathi renounced being friends with the radio host. At present, both are still at odds and are yet to reconcile.
A Peek into Unathi Nkayi and Somizi Mhlongo’s Years of Close Friendship
Somizi Mhlongo and Unathi Nkayi’s friendship blossomed over time and they became BFFs barely after one year of working together. On the 11th season of South African Idols in July 2015, Unathi and Somizi shared the judging panel as Somizi joined the singing competition reality show.
Almost a year later, in February 2016, Unathi shared an IG post where she was working out in the gym with her colleague, Somizi Mhlongo. Shortly after, the two media figures were seen having lunch on a plane.
They subsequently started going on spa dates and the highlight of the friendship was in April 2016, when Unathi Nkayi gushed over Somizi in a post she shared on Instagram.
Not only did she nickname the choreographer, “Somsom” but also called him her spiritual twin. She narrated in the post that she was proud of Somizi who has changed the lives of South Africans forever through his works on his reality TV Show, Living the Dream. She also made it known that words could not adequately capture the pride and joy she has for him.
Unathi and Mhlongo continued serving friendship goals even in the following year. After the former Kaya FM presenter released her album, ‘Brave, True & Strong’ in 2017, Somizi and some of Unathi’s friends pulled off a stunning surprise in her hotel room to congratulate her. As usual, Unathi took to Instagram to show appreciation to Somizi and her friends, telling them how much she loved them.
The two favorite TV personalities also attended Minnie Dlamini‘s celebrity wedding to Quinton Jones in September 2017. With Unathi Nkayi and Somizi Mhlongo still spending quality time on the set of Idols SA, their friendship continued to blossom until late 2021 when it became obvious that things have gone south between the best friends.
What Happened Between Somizi Mhlongo and Unathi Nkayi
On September 28th, 2021, Unathi Nkayi made a shocking revelation on Instagram regarding her friendship with Somizi Mhlongo. It all started after she shared a post about American RnB artist, R. Kelly getting convicted of sex crimes against minors, and then used her caption to address all her friends who still played R. Kelly in her presence, saying that it had to stop that day.
Some of Unathi’s followers were not impressed with her post and they immediately dragged her in the comment section for being a hypocrite. She was said to have double standards as she continued to be friends with Somizi Mhlongo and Jub Jub who had been accused of assault by Mohale Motaung and Amanda du-Pont respectively. Unathi Nkayi was further criticized online for her association with DJ Euphonik and DJ Fresh who also had been implicated in a rape case.
Replying to the comments, the former Idols SA judge stated categorically that she was not friends with any of the names listed above. To prove her point, she instantly unfollowed Somizi on Instagram, although the reality TV star never bothered to unfollow her. Unathi’s denial of friendship with Somizi Mhlongo was surprising to many people who had known her to be best of friends with the choreographer.
Somizi’s Reaction to Unathi Renouncing Their Friendship
After Unathi Nkayi made it clear that she was no longer friends with Somizi Mhlongo, the Idols SA judge kept mum on the matter and moved on with his life. However, in May 2022, he addressed the issue in an episode of his reality show, Living The Dream.
When asked by his friend, Vusi Nova about what was going on with him and “a certain lady”, referencing Unathi Nkayi, Somizi admitted that he was shocked and disappointed by her behavior.
He said that he thought they were okay and the next thing she went public, but he accepted the reality. He also explained that sometimes when people show you who they are, it’s better to leave them. The radio presenter further asserted that it’s not in his nature to tell the producers to choose between him and somebody as he doesn’t want to take away someone’s means of livelihood.
As a result, after Unathi Nkayi and Randall Abrahams were axed from Idols SA and replaced with Thembi Seete and JR Bogopa in the 18th season of the show that premiered in 2022, Somizi denied having hands in her departure. Nevertheless, he admitted in the season finale of Living The Dream that it was his mother who handled things for him along with his ancestors.
Citing that the situation was beyond his control, he said his mother and his god asked him to be quiet and not to avenge that they will fight for him. Somizi Mhlongo admitted that he was attacked, but he kept quiet. He made it public that he has no intention of reconciling with Unathi and never wants to talk to her.
The media personality accepted that there might be a possibility of them working together again but made it clear that he would act professionally at all times and make sure that his space and peace are protected.
Unathi Nkayi Opens Up on Why She Ended Her Friendship with Somizi Mhlongo
Although it was rumored that Unathi Nkayi renounced her friendship with Somizi as a result of the multiple assault case leveled against him by his estranged husband, Mohale, the former BFFs didn’t disclose what caused the rift between them for some years. However, in March 2023, Unathi Nkayi decided to set the record straight on her strained relationship with Mhlongo.
In a tell-all interview with Gareth Cliff on his new podcast titled, Uncancelled where celebrities who have been victims of media attacks are hosted, the music artist disclosed that Somizi’s decision to side with her former husband, Thomas Msengana put a strain on their friendship. Unathi got divorced in 2017 and it seemed that her friendship with Somizi started crumbling soon after her divorce.
She cited in the podcast that every of her colleague on the Idols show supported her during such a difficult time except her BFF, Somizi who talked negatively about her divorce even on his reality show. She further revealed that though she acted professionally during that time, she gradually started staying away from Somizi as she was hurt by his decision to stand with her estranged husband.
Furthermore, Nkayi revealed to Gareth that it was her father’s guidiance that helped her to overcome the challenges she faced at the time. She also divulged that her friendship with Somizi was already on the rocks when he wedded Mohale in 2020 and that was why she never attended the wedding. With Somizi Mhlongo saying that he has no intention of getting reconciled with his former best friend, the two are yet to bury the hatchet.