A beautiful gem in her mid-30s, Khanyi Mbau is one of an exclusive group of South African celebrities who have aged like fine wine. Since she made her debut as an actress in 2004 at 19, she has risen to become one of SA entertainment industry’s celebrated figures.
A highly publicized relationship she entered into at the beginning of her career as an actress produced a daughter, Khanukani, who is just as beautiful as her mother. Despite the accompanying struggle, both parties continue to thrive, to the admiration of fans all over Africa.
Khanyi Mbau Gave Birth to Khanukani at 21 Years Old
The South African actress and TV personality was just 21 years of age when she gave birth to her first and only child, Khanukani. She was getting into the crux of her life, which started on October 15, 1985. Khanyi was born to Lynette Sisi Mbau, a finance officer at Barclays Bank, and Menzi Mcunu, both of whom were dating.
Khanyi grew up with her grandparents, in a story the actress would eventually live a version of with Khanukani. Mbau’s mother left her with them to raise while she returned to work and continue her young career. Growing up with her grandparents exposed Khanyi to Western culture. She grew loving the arts, and eventually, she found her way to South Africa’s entertainment industry.
During this time, she met and got into a relationship with the former journalist and South African businessman, Mandla Mthembu. They met in 2005, and after a brief period of dating, got married in 2006. A year after, Khanyi Mbau gave birth to Khanukani, at the age of 21. Although the marriage that produced her daughter ended shortly after, Khanukani remains the lasting joy of her youth.
Born in 2007, Khanukani is now a Teenager Who Might Follow in Her Mother’s Footsteps
Other than the fact she was born in 2007, Khanukani’s early life was spent outside the media. Her mother fiercely protected her privacy, and as a result, her exact date of birth remains unknown to date. However, now a teen Khanukani is a lot more grown, and she and Khanyi Mbau have embraced the spotlight a little more.
Her first significant media presence came via her mother, who revealed she is academically inclined. She shared her congratulations to her daughter in a tweet that also showed Khanukani, or Cannes, as she is affectionately called, attends an elite South African high school.
But perhaps the most significant expression of their embrace of the spotlight is her appearance in the BET Africa reality show, Mbau RELOADED – Always Rise. The show, which premiered in October 2020, will explore the life of Khanyi Mbau, her extended family, and her daughter, Khanukani.
As one of the fresh faces that the actress’s fans have yet to meet fully, Khanukani has quickly become one of the show’s stars. Additionally, because she shares a similar look with her mother, there have been suggestions that she will follow in her mother’s footsteps as an entertainer.
During one of the Mbau RELOADED’s episodes, she tempered the idea, saying she is just on the show and establishing that she is not a celebrity. However, her mother, with whom she has a close relationship, shared that Cannes has expressed her interest to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
Whatever her final decision is, the actress’s daughter is well on her way to becoming a notable figure on her own. She has amassed more than 120 thousand followers on Instagram since October 2020.
She Has a Liberal Relationship with Her Mother
Since mother and daughter began opening up to the media, we have come to learn a lot more about their relationship. We have learned that Khanukani and Khanyi Mbau have a relationship undefined by their age difference or parental dynamic, but instead driven by mutual respect.
In what might be another influence of Khanyi’s Western upbringing, the actress/TV personality claims she has an open relationship with her daughter. According to her, both are new at their relationship, being a mother, and being a daughter.
Thus, she promotes and wants their relationship based on mutual respect and the understanding that they are both human beings. Also, even though most people have limited life experience at her age, Khanyi Mbau has no interest in policing her daughter’s decisions. Instead, she only wants to be a guide, offering knowledge of the pros and cons of each choice.
It is a parental strategy that appears to be working, and one that, beyond the implications of having sole custody, helped forge a strong bond between mother and daughter. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Khanukani’s relationship with her father.
Khanyi Mbau’s Baby Daddy, Mandla Mthembu, was a Businessman
He was once a renowned figure in South African media, but those years have passed for Mandla Mthembu. He was a businessman who made a lot of money through his investment company, Martial Eagle Investments, in the early 2000s. The success of his enterprise once gave him a net worth of R2.5 billion. It increased further with his famous legal victory against Transnet, which fetched him an additional R80 million.
As a result, he had the wealth to attract the attention of the actress and socialite. At the age of 19, Khanyi Mbau and Mandla, 49, met for the first time in Divine Lounge, and despite their significant age difference, he expressed his interest to marry her. Their first meeting did not go anywhere until six months after when they met again at the Beverley Hills hotel.
Mandla told her he was in love with her. To convince her of his interest, he gave her the key to his Porsche to get her to the airport. Eventually, they exchanged numbers and started a relationship that led to marriage in 2006. The age difference and his contrasting wealth to Khanyi’s at the time sparked accusations of gold-digging on the actress’s part.
Despite the criticisms that followed afterward, their relationship, imperfect as it is, continued and produced Khanukani the following year. However, their daughter was not enough to heal the cracks in their relationship. They eventually parted ways in 2009 after an alleged incident of infidelity and physical abuse.
Khanukani Does Not Appear to Have a Relationship with Her Father
The end of Khanyi Mbau’s marriage to Mandla Mtembu began a diminishing era in the businessman’s life. After years of lavish spending and failed investments, his money ran out. His last known whereabouts was in Croydon Motel in 2010 when news broke that he could not pay the daily R300 rent.
With no obscene display of wealth to keep him in the news, Mandla has no relationship with the spotlight, and possibly, his ex-wife and daughter too. Khanukani has been in Khanyi’s custody since their divorce, with zero evidence of her father’s presence in their lives. However, with mother and daughter thriving in their respective paths, it is safe to say Mandla’s absence has not been felt.