He’s the son of a South African icon. He grew up in the spotlight, where his every success and mistake made headlines. Bongani Fassie will be the first to admit that living in the shadow cast by his brilliant mother, musician Brenda Fassie, was not easy.

Breaking free from the trauma of her untimely death in 2004 has been a lengthy and messy battle. But now, in his hard-hitting new reality series, Finding Bongani Fassie on Moja Love (DStv channel 157), Bongani is ready to speak his truth and show the world who he truly is – scars and all.

We sat down with Bongani to chat about finding his true voice, the life-changing impact of fatherhood and finally setting the record straight.

“It comes as a shock to me to realise how much I have gone through and the negativity I have been exposed to. My mom was the strong 1 and an extrovert. I’m an introvert and had to put on a smile when, deep down, I wasn’t fine or happy. I have internalised so much pain but, through telling my story, I am letting go of the past. This is an important journey because you won’t know where you are going unless you revisit the past. The suffering, depression and anger had to come to an end,” says Bongani.

Watch Finding Bongani Fassie S1 now Watch Moja Love

Bongani’s battle

Why do you feel this is the perfect time to tell your story in a reality show? 

Bongani: I was previously never given the platform to tell anything that has to do with my life. Now is the perfect time because I believe everything works perfectly with God’s timing. When people think they know about your life, they fabricate. And when they do know what is happening in your life, it is either they love or hate you. But in all honesty, I am humble enough to know that I am not better than the rest, and I am wise to know that I am different from the rest. Finding Bongani Fassie airs at the right time as I have faced my demons head on.

What have you been doing since you left the public eye?

Bongani: I have been a father to my 3 kids aged 13, 8 and 4. Fatherhood has shaped a big part of who I am today.

How did the show come about?

Bongani: The show was never planned. I wanted to have a reality show, but I never thought the first reality show I’d do would be about Finding Bongani. I thought it would be about me giving back to the arts and mentoring up-and-coming musicians. But here we are. In all honesty, I had thought it would be how I live, but it is more about who I am.

What do you hope to achieve with this show? 

Bongani: More than achieving anything, this is about telling my side of the story in the best way I know how. I also want to clarify a lot of things around the Fassie family. Everyone thinks things have been fine. But just like any other family, we have gone through so much turbulence. All these years, I have never had an opportunity to tell the full story about myself. So this the platform.

Will viewers be exposed to a side of you that they’ve never seen before?

Bongani: People will experience a true-life depiction of Bongani Fassie. They have never experienced the real me, but only what they heard of me. In the past, people only knew 1 side to Bongani, which was told by third parties. But now, I am telling my own story.

What event in your life inspired you to turn things around?

Bongani: It was when I tried to take my life because of the pressures of the world. I attempted suicide 3 times. Looking back, I am glad that they failed. Back then, my self-esteem had taken a knock and had been destroyed by the news in the tabloids about my mom dying from drugs – which was not true. I couldn’t cope and I wanted to take my life. It didn’t help things that my colleagues and friends abandoned me when I needed them the most. It really took a toll on me so, to cope, I started using and abusing drugs. To move forward, I needed to re-evaluate my life and change whatever that was setting me back.

Who has been your biggest inspiration to make this change? 

Bongani: When my daughter, Brenda, came into my life, I decided to turn my life around. My children, my confidante and mother of my children, Buhle, and family in Cape Town have really inspired me. They are the most important people in my life. They have given me a reason to live and to focus. I have also become closer to Christ through this journey.

Do you have any future business endeavours?

Bongani: I am working on a number of projects at the moment with a great deal of focus on the Brenda Fassie biopic, which I have been busy with for a couple of years now. I have plans of coming back to the industry full force, which I took a break from to prioritise my wellbeing and family.

Who is Bongani 2.0? What do you want viewers to take away from this series?

Bongani: Bongani 2.0 is a father, someone who has regained his confidence, a king among kings. I’m stable and in control of my life.


Watch Finding Bongani Fassie S1 Saturdays on Moja Love (DStv channel 157) at 20:30

Moja Love (DStv channel 157) is available on DStv Premium, Compact Plus, Compact, and Family. To get DStv or to upgrade your package, click here

 

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