Zandi Nhlapo is a 48-year-old TV host, actress, and entrepreneur who is one of the first black South Africans to host a television show. She is also one of the few persons to have spent over two decades in the entertainment industry.
Zandi Nhlapo, like every other South African in the 80s, witnessed the Apartheid struggle, hardship, and segregation that came with being a native black, but she pulled through those difficult moments, rose to stardom, and today, she is an inspiration to many young and aspiring South Africans. Truly, the success she enjoys today came at a great price.
Who Is Zandi Nhlapo and Where Was She Born?
Zandisile Nhlapo was born in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 24th, 1975, a day before the much-celebrated Christmas Day. Some will insist she’s just a few hours away from being born on Christmas day and she is also a Christian by faith. Her birth is not the conventional type as the identity of her father has remained a mystery to date, even with her celebrity status.
Although much is not known about the man who fathered Zandi, her mom — Nonhlanhla is a Soweto native who with few resources catered for her only daughter who also served as her companion. The bond between the mother and daughter is even made apparent in her name. Zandile is the answered prayer of a lonely mother; meaning “Expansion” a nickname the actress explained was given by her mother when she prayed fervently for a mini-version of herself before she was born.
Since much hasn’t really been revealed about the presenter’s educational background, one would be forced to wonder if she studied anything close to acting or journalism, considering how good she is at her craft. Well, for Zandie, the reverse is the case!
As confirmed via her LinkedIn page; Zandile Nhlapo was a student of the Central University of Technology Free State between 2017-2021— where she bagged a National Diploma – Information Technology and Software Development. Despite her discipline, Zandi decided to follow her passion in the entertainment industry, starting out as a dancer and gradually growing her brand to what it is today.
At 17, Zandi Nhlapo Started Her Career as a Dancer and TV Presenter in 1992
The much-celebrated TV veteran started out as a dancer with the dance group The Whizz Kids, trekking several miles from her house to the location on a daily basis for rehearsals and performances. At the age of 17, elegant Zandi made her first appearance on the CCTV game show after a short stint with the Soweto dance group.
Seventeen was a productive age for the entertainer as she recorded more milestones at that age. Zandile diversified her professional career journey in 1992, the same year she turned 17 when she got her first television role on the CCTV game show “TRIO”. Since then, the television personality has remained one the most relevant in the industry to date.
She has blossomed into one of South Africa’s most treasured showbiz entertainers and thrived beyond just being an entertainer into TV host, modeling, dancing, and most recently the film industry. Her first television role also added her name to the history books as one of the black pioneers in the TV hosting scene.
She Later Ventured Into Modelling Alongside Her TV Career
Ambitious is another word to describe Zandi who decided a go into modeling — competing in various beauty pageants like the Miss 707, Miss Orlando Pirates, and Miss Sundown, all of which she emerged winners. She made the most of her teens and early adulthood to carve out productive niches in the entertainment, not just as a presenter but as a model and pageant contestant.
Through her modeling stint, she featured for several high-end magazines such as Y-Mag and True Love and still continued her TV presenter gig on the other hand with SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) — where she worked for over 10 years. Here, she hosted high-profile events like the Eastern Mosaic, Continuity, Miss South Africa, and the prestigious South Africa Music Awards.
In 2003, Zandi Nhlapo Set Up a Branding and Public Relations Company
The former model has also ventured into the business world, this time, she has her own child to help her out. At a point in Zandi’s life when she started to feel the pressure of being a mother and managing her celebrity status. She began to retreat from the spotlight by first resigning from SABC in 2003 to try other career options in branding and public relations. After a while, she launched her first Management and Logistics company in partnership with Vavasati Logistics.
The industrious mother of three is the proud owner of Liquid Image Consulting firm–a branding and communication company she runs with Ntando, her first daughter. Offering services such as; event management, customer relations, branding, consultations, and more. The establishment is still operational and things are looking good for the family of four.
She Left TV in 2013 But Made a Comeback in 2021 With a Supporting Role on Imbewu
Though her passion for TV and entertainment was burning at the time, Zandi had to go on a brief hiatus for personal reasons. By 2013, Zandile featured in what seemed to be her last TV show — e.TV’s Cooking Gospel… where she hosted a couple of celebrities cooking gospel songs in the mix until 2017 when she went full ghost off the media paparazzi to sort out personal issues.
She utilized this period to start a hair business salon, specifically made for kids — MINI YOU MINI ME. The business was booming and Zandi seemed to have settled with her newly found life outside the entertainment industry.
However, after a long break, the stunning mother of three came back on screen with a big bang to feature in the popular e.TV show MBEWU. The news broke on the South African internet space in October 2021 when the announcement was made that the favorite TV girl is making a major comeback on the people’s choice TV series.
Although, Zandi claimed in an interview that she wanted to make her come back away from the camera as a producer or director but the offer to play the “spirited Fikile’s mother” came and she couldn’t say no to such. This hints at the fact that she might be getting tired of the spotlight and wants to work behind the cameras. Notwithstanding, she is still acting for now and fans might still get to see more of her in the nearest future.
Below is a list of her TV projects so far and the roles she played;
- Cooking Gospel – Season 1 as Host – Herself
- Housekeepers – Season 3 as Zinhle (as Zandisile Nhlapho)
- Imbewu – Season 4 as Nompi
What is Zandi Nhlapo’s Net Worth?
A thorough calculation of Zandi’s wealth which she gathered from the entertainment industry, personal businesses, and properties owned at home and abroad shows she is doing well for herself.
The TV host cum entrepreneur is worth over $500, 000. Seeing that she has made a comeback to her entertainment career, it is believed that in the years to come, she will probably be worth more than she is now. Worthy of note is the fact that her TV roles are not the only sources of her income, she is an astute businesswoman who founded and manages her own company, a great way to add to her bottom line.
Zandi Nhlapo Has Been Married Twice With Three Children
At the time of this write-up, Zandi Nhlapo is not married to anyone, but her previous marriages were fruitful, blessing her with three beautiful children: Ntando Zikalata, Nyeleti, and Masala Mabena. She is also a grandmother to three girls for now. The actress is apparently living the life without any commitment to any man. Meet the men who graced the entertainer’s love life.
Zandi Nhlapo’s First Husband Was Ralph Zikalala
Zandi and Ralph got married in the late ’90s, their union led to the birth of her first and second daughters Ntando and Nyeleti Zikalala respectively. However, after several attempts to hold on together, the couple eventually settled for divorce after 8 years of marriage.
The reason for this separation is not public knowledge. The fact that Zikalala is not as famous as his ex made it difficult to gather information about their failed union. He has however moved on with his love life and in 2010, it was reported that he is on his third attempt at marriage, this time with Phumela Twala.
She Lost Her Second Husband Bob Mabena in August 2020
Bob Mabena was a popular radio presenter who also worked with SABC – the same company as Zandi. A short time after her first divorce, the beautiful model found love again with a senior colleague in the entertainment industry who’s also a divorcee, and the couple gave birth to Masala (Zandi’s third child).
With the birth of their daughter Khomotso Masana Mabena, the couple’s joy knew no bounds but sadly, it wasn’t one to last for rever. The couple called off their relationship in 2012 for some undisclosed reasons. We however later came to learn that Mbabena got himself a new lady named Eucharist Hadebe whom he later married in 2015.
Despite their separation, Zandi Nhlapo and Bob Mabena remained in touch for the sake of their daughter and were pretty good at co-parenting her. However, Bob later died of cardiac arrest. A situation that left the supermodel in shock. The South African entertainment industry also lost a rare gem and was shaken by the death of the presenter.
Her Relationship With Khethang Malefani Lasted Only a Few Weeks
Although it was not easy for Zandi as a woman, she managed to shrug off the unfortunate demise of Bob and started an affair with Khetang Malefani, a lawyer. In the beginning, it seemed that Zandi has found the man who would be with her despite her past failed relationships.
However, the relationship soon came crumbling a few weeks after it went public and they parted ways. The actress has since stayed away from the dating scene or perhaps she is keeping a tight lid on her affairs this time. Regardless, she seems happy with the way things are and her kids are equally making her proud.
Zandi’s Children Are All Grownups
Zandi Nhlapo has three beautiful daughters named Ntando, Nyeleti, and Masana, the eldest Ntando works directly with Zandi’s branding company. And most importantly, Zandi is already a grandmother. Meet her kids and her grandkids below.
Ntando Zikalala Is Her First Daughter
Ntando Zikalala is Zandi’s eldest daughter whom she had with Ralph Zikalala sometime in 1997. She is currently 27 years old. Ntando reportedly has a daughter who is Zandi’s oldest grandchild.
From her LinkedIn profile, we learned she runs her mother’s company, Liquid Image Consulting as its Business Director and has been working there for well over 10 years now. Ntando is apparently making her mom proud through her career accomplishments.
Zandi Nhlapo Had Nyeleti Zikalala With Her First Husband
Nyeleti is Zandi’s second daughter whom she had with her first husband Ralph Zikalala. However, not much has been disclosed about her in terms of her birth details, where she works and all that. But she occasionally appears on her mother’s or sister’s social media posts.
Khomotso Masana Mabena Is Zandi’s Only Child With Bob Mabena
Her marriage to the popular presenter didn’t last but it was productive. Zandi had Khomotso Masana Mabena with her late ex-husband Bob Mabena before their unfortunate split and his sad death.
Masana is the youngest of Zandi’s three girls. There have not been any full reports on what she is currently pursuing as a career, but seeing that her mother is doing well in raising her girls, there is no doubt that Khomotso is also doing well.