The beautiful South African actress and businesswoman Sophie Lichaba has had her fair share of troubles despite the trappings and glamour that comes with being a celebrity. One good thing her fans can, however, say about her is that she has always kept it real with them especially when it comes to sharing details about her fears, struggles, and triumphs.
Sophie has grown into her role in the entertainment industry and ventured into different aspects, including TV Presenting, Talk Show Hosting, and working as a Voice Over artist among other roles. Despite her flourishing career, she has survived some hard-hitting storm in her public and private life. In 2018, she was a victim of a fake death rumor but has continued to stay alive and strong while managing her struggle with depression and diabetes.
Quick Profile of Sophie Lichaba
- Name: Sophie Lichaba
- Other Names: Sophie Mphasane, Sophie Ndaba
- Date of Birth: 29th June 1972
- Age: 50
- Place of Birth: Soweto, South Africa
- Profession: Former Model, Actress, Event Organizer, Talk Show Host, Entrepreneur
Sophie Lichaba Has Had A Fulfilling Career As An Actress Despite Not Being Formally Trained
After graduating high school in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sophie Lichaba began her modeling career. She did this for a while before having her TV debut role in the series titled Class of ’92. She then went ahead to get supporting roles and cameo roles in some local productions like Yizo Yizo 1, Thlaranthlophe, Soul City, Egoli, and some others. It is pertinent to point out that Sophie never had any form of formal acting training so it came as a surprise when she landed the role of Queen Moroka in the popular soapie, Generations.
The producers of the show must have seen her potential as this role has been referred to as her big break into the industry. She was on the show for many years before going ahead to feature in other shows, including Gog’ Helen, Soul City, She is King, Isidingo, and High Rollers – Season 2.
For someone who has featured in just a handful of TV Series, some might wonder how come she has had such a successful career. The saying that comes to mind here is that “it’s not how much, but how well”. Sophie Lichaba has taken up roles that have been quintessential in building up her career as an actress which is why she is what she is today.
The Actress Has Since Diversified and Picked Up More Roles in The Entertainment Industry
Sophie Lichaba has shown that she is a bundle of talent and can grow beyond her acting career. Asides from doing voiceovers for cartoon characters in TV commercials, she has also done some TV presenting and talk show hosting. She was a guest judge in the final Miss South Africa beauty pageant in 2016. In recent times, she does more event organizing, MC, and motivational speaking.
Sophie has been intentional about her diversification. While speaking about it in an interview, she emphasized that flexibility is very vital as a performer and one should be able to branch out and do other things within the arts. She also owns an event company and several restaurants.
Her Work Has Earned Her Several Awards
Sophie Lichaba was nominated in the category of “Best Soap Actress” in the Duku Duku Awards in 2002 but didn’t win the award until 2003. Her great sense of style got her nominated in the Elle/Sunday Times Style Awards as the “Most Stylish Actress”. She also received a nomination for the Children’s M-Net Awards in the category of “Best Soap Actress” in 2004.
In 2009, she won a Golden Horn Award for “Best Comic Actor”. She also won the Woman Of Inspiration Award in Cape Town in 2010.
Sophie Lichaba’s Struggle With Depression
One thing people don’t seem to realize is that celebrities are human beings with feelings like everyone else. It can’t be easy living out your whole life in the eye of the public, especially the painful aspects. According to Sophie, her battle with depression started after she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. She knew a lot about the deadly disease as she lost both of her parents to the disease. She was hit hard by the news and became a zombie just going through life.
Like most women, Sophie used to claim that she doesn’t suffer from depression but looking back now, she has realized that she was actually at a dark place in her life at that time. She also shared that depressed people often don’t know that they are depressed but it affects your relationships with your partner, kids, and work. A depressed person is like a zombie and they don’t do the same things they used to do. She shared that it took her months to know it, see it, and fight it, and now she can help someone else as she is in a better place.
Depression, Diabetes and The Determination To Live Led To Sophie Lichaba’s Weight Loss
Sophie Lichaba drew lots of attention online (especially from cyberbullies) after pictures of her drastic weight loss surfaced online. People began to speculate about the reason for this kind of weight loss and several of the comments were very unkind. While some speculated that she might be suffering from an undisclosed ailment like HIV, others thought it might be intentional.
According to Sophie, her weight loss journey started unknowingly. She shared that she was in a dark place in her life and the deepest point of depression as she had just been diagnosed with diabetes and it was just trauma upon trauma for her. Even though she had plans to go on a diet and begin to eat healthily, all that was happening with her and around her triggered the process. Ironically, she would look in the mirror and see the same self and wear the same clothes, so when the buzz began in the media about her weight loss, it took her a while to realize it was even about her as none of her friends or even family came out to tell her she was losing weight too fast.
Sophie, who is known never to leave a rumor to fester for too long, came out to clear the air about her weight loss. She addressed several of the rude and hurtful things that were said about her online. She reiterated that being in the public eye is one thing and then people thinking they own you enough to say whatever and get away with it is another. She shared her disappointment at her fellow South African brothers and sisters who felt the need to kick a horse that was already down.
Even though it really broke her heart that they didn’t understand what she was going through. For someone who had to deal with a myriad of feelings ranging from acceptance to stress and then depression. She has come to appreciate all that she had gone through. She shared that she has worked really hard on her weight because she wanted a new version of herself and new everything and she is proud of all she has achieved. She actually went on a diet to help her lose weight in other to manage her diabetes.
Moreover, Sophie Lichaba has been vocal about her battle with diabetes which she has vowed to fight until she conquers. She refers to herself as a self-proclaimed ambassador for everyone battling terminal illnesses and is too scared to speak out or fight.
Sophie’s Husband Max Lichaba is a Very Successful Business Man
Max Lichaba is a very successful businessman who made his money through the jewelry business. Born in Virginia, Welkom, South Africa, Max grew up very poor but with a fierce determination to make it. He finally got his opportunity when the company – Harmony Gold – that owned the mines in the area where he grew up developed a Jewellery School to upskill the local community. He threw himself into learning and there has been no looking back for him. Even though his business hasn’t been all rosy, with continued hard work and resilience, he has become one of the most successful businessmen in South Africa today.
Sophie and Max Lichaba Might Be Heading For A Divorce
Even though nothing has been confirmed by the lovebirds, it appears that they might be heading for a divorce. Sophie and Max became a sensational duo after they secretly tied the knot in Italy in 2017 after dating for just 4 months. While the duo had both been married to other people in the past, people were curious about their relationship due to their age difference as Sophie was older. All these things, and Sophie’s celebrity status, made them popular in the media.
Moreover, Sophie’s marriage to Max Lichaba will be her third marriage as she was previously married to Themba Ndaba from 1998 to 2007 and then Keith Harrington from 2011 to 2013. The couple appears so much in love and they have gone through a lot together, including Sophie’s struggle with depression, diabetes, drastic weight loss, and death rumors. Sophie even shared that women were sending her husband messages calling him a fool for staying with a woman that is dying. Against all odds, they stayed together and even had a renewal of vows in February 2020.
Sophie gushed about Max on social media and appreciated him for staying true to her during her trying time so it came as a rude shock when news started making the rounds that the couple individually moved out of their rented apartment in Joburg to their personal houses. Max Lichaba was said to have relocated to his hometown in Kimberley, Northern Cape, while Sophie moved back to her estate house in the west of Joburg.
From the news making the rounds, Sophie left her marriage after she found out that her husband was cheating on her with another woman. Max denied the allegations vehemently and claims not to know the woman in question. Sophie felt he was taking her for a fool and they had a long argument about it. She was even said to have confronted the said mistress who claimed that she won’t have gotten involved with a married man but Max Lichaba told her they were in the process of getting a divorce.
Their separation happened in March 2020 just after the break out of Covid-19. Ironically, this was just about a month after their vow renewal. After trying to sort out their love life unsuccessfully, it appears that they might be ending their marriage finally. Sophie has refused to comment on the disintegration of her marriage, claiming that she doesn’t discuss her personal life but it is painfully obvious from the cryptic messages she posts on her social media and his absence from her page that things are not right with them.
Do Sophie and Max Lichaba Have Children Together?
This amazing couple has had an enviable relationship and marriage but they never had any children together. Sophie, on the other hand, had 2 children (Rudo and Lwandle Ndaba) from her previous marriage to Themba Ndaba. She also adopted her late sister’s daughter (Shallon Ndaba) and all of her children are now adults.
Max Lichaba, like his wife, also had children from his previous marriage. He was once married to a woman named Thandi Mavata. Even though they have kids together, details about their relationship and children have been kept hush-hush. Just before he married Sophie, Max was also married to Lizomuhle Khabane with whom he shares a son.
Despite not having kids together, it appears that they had a well-blended family while they were together. When Sophie was sharing about the things that propelled her out of the dark period of her life, she mentioned that she wanted to live for her kids who had done everything for her, and her young stepkids who gave her heavenly hugs and love. She also mentioned that she is privileged to be called mom by twelve kids whom she had time and opportunity to bond with during the Covid-19 lockdown period at home.
Sophie Lichaba Has Carried On With Life As She Tries To Remain Healthy
Sophie Lichaba is a survivor in all ramifications and has continued to show her fans and ‘haters’ that she is just getting started. Sophie has shared that the Covid-19 pandemic hit hard and affected several areas of her life, especially her business. The business mogul owns an events company and several restaurants all of which were closed during the lockdown. Moreover, the death rumors also affected her as people who once trusted her with their money and projects became scared with the death rumors flying around.
However, Sophie is just grateful to still be alive because diabetes makes her high risk during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the lockdown ended, Sophie went back to acting and hosting her talk show. She has also been keeping her fans abreast about projects in the horizons on her social media pages.
Towards the end of 2020, she spoke about launching on social media, her #sophieonwelnessanddiabetes, and other fabulous projects. Sophie is known to post motivational writeups on her Instagram page to engage and encourage her followers. She is still very much alive despite the “silly diabetes” as she puts it. She has maintained her weight by eating healthy and continues to stay busy with several projects.