Somizi Mhlongo is a South African media personality, actor, choreographer, singer, and entrepreneur. He is best known for his role as Fire in the 1992 film Sarafina! and as a judge on Idols South Africa. He is also a popular radio and TV presenter.
Somizi Mhlongo Early Life and Family
Somizi Buyani Mhlongo was born on December 23, 1972, in Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa. He is the son of the late Ndaba Mhlongo and Mary Twala, who were both famous actors and comedians. He had one sibling, a brother named Archie, who was killed in 1985.
Somizi was exposed to the entertainment industry from a young age, as he accompanied his parents to various shows and events. He dropped out of school in grade 9 to pursue his dreams in showbiz.
Somizi started his acting career at the age of 15 when he appeared in the film Scavengers in 1987. He rose to fame in 1992 when he starred as Fire in the musical and political film Sarafina!, which depicted the 1976 Soweto uprising. He also took part in the choreography of the film.
The actor then appeared in several other films and TV shows, such as Kein Himmel über Afrika (1993), Cry, the Beloved Country (1995), Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996), City Ses’la, Ayeye, and 10 Over 10.
He became a lead choreographer for many prominent events and shows, such as the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. He also choreographed for artists like Brenda Fassie, Lebo Mathosa, and Boom Shaka.
Somizi joined Idols South Africa as a judge in 2015 and became one of the show’s most popular and controversial personalities. He is known for his witty comments, flamboyant outfits, and honest feedback. He also ventured into radio and TV presenting, hosting shows like The Close Up, V Entertainment, Whose Show Is It Anyway?, Living the Dream with Somizi, Dinner at Somizi’s, and The Bridge.
Somizi launched his singing career in 2016, releasing his debut album This Is It. He also collaborated with other artists like Heavy K, DJ Tira, and Vusi Nova.
He became a fitness instructor in 2017, releasing his workout DVD, Grind with Somizi. He also launched his own range of sports apparel called SB League.
In 2023, he enrolled at the Villioti Fashion Institute to study fashion design. He said he wanted to learn how to create garments with his own hands. He also has his own clothing line for children called Somphire Kids. Somizi is also a best-selling author of his memoir Dominoes: Unbreakable Spirit.
Somizi Mhlongo Personal Life
The media personality is openly gay and has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. He has a daughter named Bahumi with his ex-girlfriend Palesa Madisakwane, who is a news anchor.
He married Mohale Motaung in 2019 after proposing to him on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The couple had two lavish weddings: a traditional one in Kibler Park and a white one in Muldersdrift. However, they separated in 2021 amid rumours of infidelity and abuse.
Awards and Achievements
Somizi has won several awards and accolades for his work in the entertainment industry. Some of them are:
- Best Choreographer Award at the Metro FM Music Awards (2006)
- Most Stylish Performing Artist Award at the SA Style Awards (2016)
- Feather of The Year Award at the Feather Awards (2016)
- Best TV Presenter Award at the DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards (2017)
- Best TV Presenter Award at the DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards (2018)
- Best TV Presenter Award at the DStv Mzansi Viewers’ Choice Awards (2020)