Another public bout between Bonang and Somizi is underway. This time, the former BFFs have taken their battle to the bookstore. Bonang: A to B and Dominoes Unbreakable Spirit: The Somizi Mhlongo Story have held the number 1 and 2 spot at Exclusive Books, trended and inspired memes. Most importantly, all eyes are on Bonang and Somizi, just the way the frenemies love their publicity. So what gives?
What they talk about
Dominoes: He talks about everything. His childhood as a child star and a child of stars, love life, friendships, the boundaries he has broken, fatherhood, first crush, first love, school days,travels, Sarafina the play and the movie, his siblings, cousins, Sunday lunches, Lebo Mathosa, MaBrr, Boom Shaka, Miriam Makeba, Mbongeni Ngema, Whoopi Goldberg, Leleti Khumalo, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, early gay scene of Hillbrow, his sexuality, places he stayed in or travelled to in South Africa and around the world, finding out he has a terminal illness, the SAMAs, SAFTA, the World Cup, Idols, family in Soweto and KZN. He’s had a packed and incredibly interesting life.
A to B: Bonang seems to be signing deals faster than anyone in this industry ever has. This is what truly stands out about Bonang. She is success on steroids, and lets you know. In my mind, this book is called From Yfm to Top Billing while snatching every deal along the way. The parts of the book that talk about her work and success are interesting. The personal stuff, especially the fall outs and drama she alludes to, including her relationships with Somizi and Euphonik, are not interesting because she doesn’t bring out receipts.
What to expect:
Dominoes: Holidays, outfits, gigs, travels – everything that’s not sad – is almost always described as great. Somizi’s life is epic. He is an icon who has lived among and worked with icons. He’s been on his grind for 40 years, and he has a LOT to say. The stories are interesting, but he held back on telling them to their fullest.
A to B: Typos, “WhatsApp” English and other mistakes that start with getting her birth date wrong. If you keep at it, you’ll appreciate that Bonang has made it. This book is on-brand. She sets herself up as a someone who was born to succeed and have a fabulous lifestyle. Heck, she has been “collecting” awards since primary school. She connects all experiences, big and small, and spins them into a success story. More than a biography, this is a lesson in branding and brand communication.
Should you read From A to B and Dominoes? Absolutely. You’ll laugh, cheer, cringe, respect and diss. Their lives, publicised by tabloids and their energy on the PR circuit, are now a 24/7 social media show with TV and radio appearances. Parts of the stories are going to be familiar. You’re also going to be reminded that these frenemies are formidable game-changers. Pity their books come across as being more interested in having a book, instead of being equally invested in having great products.