SHE’S hard to miss as she enters the restaurant. It’s not just her barely-there ruby pants turning heads – she’s also every bit as beautiful and bubbly as she is on TV.
At 23, Ntando Duma is winning over fan after fan – especially after she recently returned to Rhythm City, reprising her role as feisty Zinzi Dandala in the e.tv show.
Gqom Nation, the MTV show she presents on DStv channel 322, has been renewed for a second season after its successful launch last year.
Admirers are in for a double dose of fun as she’ll co-host the music show with gqom powerhouse Busiswa Gqulu.
This season, filmed in KwaZulu-Natal – where gqom was birthed – will be even more entertaining now Busiswa is on board, Ntando promises.
“She’s the true definition of a queen,” she adds. “Busiswa is a jam, a vibe and total life of the party.”
Season 2 has 12 episodes, all of which were shot in three days, and the dynamic duo bonded on set over the long hours of filming.
“We had a lot of fun and special moments behind the scenes. During breaks we’d video call the kids and show each other photos,” Ntando says.
Motherhood isn’t the only thing the popular pair have in common – they also love music. Ntando landed the MTV presenter job off the back of her single Jiva Phez’kombhede.
The song, featuring Babes Wodumo and Mampintsha, opened doors for her yet she says she was just testing the waters. “I took a chance and had fun, but music is too difficult.
“Making Jiva Phez’kombhede was easy, but when I tried to make other songs things didn’t flow as naturally, so music can miss me. I’m not as passionate about it as I am about acting and entertaining.”
Ntando loves being in showbiz but her biggest role by far is being a “successful single mom” to Sbahle (19 months).
The first-time mom says it’s tough being away from her little one when she’s working. “An hour away from her is enough. But at the same time, she keeps me motivated to work harder because I’m doing this mothering thing on my own.
“As small as she is, she understands Mommy has to work to provide for her.”
NTANDO recently laid bare the cost of raising a child on her own when she revealed Junior De Rocka hadn’t been contributing enough to raising their daughter.
The TV darling and DJ broke up in 2017 shortly after she became pregnant. Their split seemed friendly enough – Ntando had often posted motivational messages to Junior on social media – so it came as a surprise to fans when she took to Twitter and stopped just short of calling him a deadbeat dad.
Her outrage was sparked by a charity drive where Junior donated computers, Wi-Fi routers, sanitary items and stationery to a school in KZN.
“I don’t even remember him ‘donating’ such essentials for his daughter but Ke askho lapho (we’re not there),” Ntando tweeted.
She also posted a list of requirements totalling R20 000 that she needed for their daughter. “I have addressed the matter with the father of my child that he needs to step up and meet me halfway,” she said.
In response, Junior rubbished the allegations. “I may have differences with the mother of my child. But the allegations I do not support my child are false, malicious and very hurtful,” he said on social media.
He posted proof of payment for five months, each reflecting between R2 500 and R3 500 a month.
But Ntando says she spends R5 000 on a nanny, between R3 000 and R4 000 for medical costs, R2 500 on food and R1 000 on nappies, among other expenses.
The TV presenter faced stiff public backlash when she broadcast her budget – social-media users deemed it lavish and called her excessive, but she says she has no regrets.
“I had to speak up for what’s right for my daughter. I don’t regret speaking up about my baby daddy and anything that’s happened between him and me.”
She doesn’t want to share more about the situation but says Junior has visitation rights.
Ntando didn’t for a minute think her tweet would become the talk of the town. She was at home that day with her daughter and sister, Thando Duma (25), when her fingers fired away. “I didn’t think too much before posting,” she says.
“I just took everything that was going through my mind and my heart.”
SHE HAD run her thoughts by her big sister, but Ntando takes full responsibility for airing her baby daddy’s dirty laundry. “Thando and I live together, she knows what’s happening. I spoke to her before tweeting, but the decision was all up to me.
“There are lots of single moms who go through the same thing every day and I had to speak up for them as well.”
She didn’t expect the fallout but the cut-throat industry has taught her to grow a thick skin. “I’ve learnt to handle criticism like a lady,” Ntando says. “Not all battles are there for me to fight.
“But I’m human and sometimes criticism affects me. Sometimes I laugh and brush things off, but I also go through days when I cry.”
Luckily Sbahle is always there to cheer her up. Ntando lives for the little girl, even though being a single mom is challenging. “Jumping from one job to the other isn’t easy. When I get home I have to cook, clean and make sure I have time to play with my daughter.”
But then there are those moments that make her smile. “Sbahle loves it when I read to her.”
Ntando, the lastborn of four kids, helps support her mom, Thabile (53). “She’s proud of us for taking care of her as she isn’t working. I just want her to be happy,” she says.
That’s why she’s returning to school this year. Ntando dropped out of Boston Media House in her second year of media studies after landing her breakout role in Rhythm City. It was an opportunity she couldn’t miss but now she wants to finish what she started. “Lord knows I hate school, but I know the importance of that piece of paper,” she says.
“I see myself wearing a graduation gown and making my mom proud. I also want to be a good role model to my child.”