SHE knows how to get the nation talking. As co-host of Metro FM’s drivetime show Masechaba Ndlovu has taken the lid off some of the most controversial topics.
Now the popular broadcaster is getting ordinary South Africans to spill their darkest secrets in a TV show. She knows she has big shoes to fill when the second season of The Big Secret premiers on DStv’s BET channel later this month. Masechaba replaces Khanyi Mbau but the seasoned TV presenter is confident she’ll get people talking.
“I think people find it easy to open up to me because of my aura and my gift,” Masechaba (34) says.
Coming from a family of traditional healers gives her an edge, she believes.
“I come from a spiritual family where we appease our spiritual guides. I’m very rooted spiritually and proud of my heritage. I believe in God and my ancestors. I am a healer myself and people gravitate towards me.”
The media personality sparked rumours she had accepted a calling to become a sangoma when she posted pictures of herself in traditional wear earlier this year, but she hasn’t performed Ukuthwasa (sangoma training). The clothes she was pictured in were revealed to her in dreams.
“I didn’t even know the name of the cloth, but after it was shown to me in my dreams I went to a store that sells traditional clothes and I pointed it out,” Masechaba says.
“No one can tell me what to do with my calling,” she adds. “I have direct communication with my ancestors who show me exactly what to do. My visions are as clear as day. When I phahla (pray to the ancestors) or do a traditional ceremony, all those things are guided – I don’t choose for myself.”
Her gift is to heal people, she says. “That’s why I do the work I do. Even when people don’t know me from a bar of soap they have a great level of trust in me.”
IT’S also why everyone from celebrities to strangers confide in her. “But now I encourage people to take their power back and take ownership of their secrets. I know sometimes people are afraid to take responsibility for their own lives or to break out of whatever is eating them up and they think it’s easier if I drag [the secrets] out,” Masechaba says. “But I’d never advocate for that.”
She caused a social media storm last year when she confronted Babes Wodumo with allegations the singer’s boyfriend and record boss, Mampintsha, had been abusing her.
Later Masechaba revealed to Real Talk host Azania Mosaka she was approached by Babes and her then manager, Keke Mokoena, to help Babes (24) get out of the abusive relationship. Masechaba told Azania she’d acted out of concern when she confronted the singer about the alleged abuse on air.
“It went against the code of conduct of broadcasting,” she said. “In that moment not only did I break the rules, I basically threw my entire career under the bus by trying to protect a young lady.
“I removed my professional cap and I stopped being a broadcaster – I became human. I became a woman.” She faced public backlash but Masechaba tells us there’s more to the story than meets the eye. “One day Babes will tell the story herself – from all sides.”
She doesn’t want to dredge up the past, but she is willing to talk about her separation from husband Vusi Ndlovu. Masechaba shocked fans when she announced her split from the businessman on social media last July. “I’ve taken the very painful decision of separating from my husband, the love of my life,” she wrote.
“Sometimes in life, the best thing you can do is the hardest thing you’ve ever done. We will always remain friends and fantastic parents to our children.”
IT WASN’T easy to lay her soul bare but Masechaba believes sharing her experiences heals her and helps others.
“Sometimes I must remind myself not everyone is like me,” she says. “I’m not afraid to talk about anything. The truth sometimes rattles people’s cages and makes them uncomfortable. I couldn’t be bothered if it comes with criticism – there’s healing in being real and honest.”
Her only concern at the time was how her children would take the news. “In our generation, parents hid everything from us without knowing kids are actually intelligent, they see everything and pick up energies.”
Not one to sweep things under the rug, Masechaba broke it to them head-on. “Separation isn’t easy, but it was only fair I tell them the truth. I sat them down and had a child-appropriate conversation.
“They cried, I cried, we held each other, and we hugged it out. Afterwards we got some ice cream and I told them they can ask me anything.”
She also informed the children’s school, which has offered counselling should they need it.
She’s kept her word and remains friends with Vusi, but Masechaba reveals she’s moved on. “I’ve found love again,” she beams. Masechaba, dressed in a bandage dress with high heels, definitely looks like a woman in love and is practically glowing.
She serves a light breakfast to the man who’s accompanied her to our interview. Pitso Maleka is a close friend she’s gone into business with, she says, preferring not to elaborate on their relationship.
Masechaba refers to him as Ntate (Mr) Maleka when they speak, respectfully looking down and bending her knees before she continues with our shoot.
She loves how the man in her life makes her feel. “I love to hear I’m beautiful. I love touch, I love gifts and to give gifts,” she says.
“I’m traditional in my relationships so I believe men should lead in the relationship. I’m a leader, but a man is the head of the home and the provider and it feels good to feel like a woman.”
The Big Secret premieres on Wednesday 27 March at 9.30pm on BET, DStv channel 129.