Nandi Madida chats to us about motherhood, marriage and going back to the studio. 

The 30-year-old singer, TV host and designer is fresh from New York Fashion Week (NYFW), where she showcased the Colour by Nandi Madida Autumn/Winter 2018 collection to rave reviews. Sporting her famous short haircut, she arrives for our interview at the trendy Ivy Champagne Garden in Bedfordview stylishly clad in a multicolour knee-length dress paired with a denim jacket and black heels.

“Just take it as it comes. You find your balance and become fearless.”

Nandi beams as she speaks about her label’s hugely successful debut, where she received a standing ovation from a full house. She collaborated with designers Kentse Masilo, Josh Patron and Philani Lindokuhle on the collection. ‘I had an amazing team,’ she smiles. ‘We all made it happen. This was a dream come true! So many people supported me.’ She adds that the invitation to showcase came with a mix of emotions. She was thrilled at the opportunity but also concerned about the fact that she didn’t have much time to prepare. 

Even more stressful was that she was showcasing in another country, on a different continent, with all the logistical considerations that involved. Fortunately, experience is the best teacher, and having showcased at the Johannesburg Fashion Week in 2016, Nandi knew exactly what she was in for.

It is almost two years since she revealed her baby bump, on the runway at the 2016 Johannesburg Fashion Week, to the delight of the crowd. Little Shaka (named after the Zulu King, Shaka Zulu) is now 17 months old. ‘I used to laugh when people told me I wouldn’t get much sleep for the first three months,’ she says. ‘I didn’t believe it until I learnt that it is true.’ Her advice to new moms is simple – sleep when the baby sleeps!

Even at his tender age, Shaka is the life and soul of the party. ‘He still doesn’t sleep much because he just loves life. He suffers from FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out]. He is the youngest and loudest in his class,’ laughs Nandi, who has a video of the toddler dancing to prove it.

“Being a first-time mom can be overwhelming… support is very important.”

She is savouring Shaka’s independent toddler stage, but admits that it was not always easy. ‘Being a first-time mom can be overwhelming,’ she says. ‘Support is very important.’ She is hugely grateful to her mother and husband. ‘My mother taught me everything I know as a mother. I don’t know what I would do without her,’ she smiles. ‘She always emphasised the psychological aspect of motherhood, telling me that it is important to accept and enjoy the process.’

What was her biggest lesson, we ask? ‘That God is in control,’ Nandi replies. ‘Just take it as it comes. You will find your balance and become fearless. If you don’t, you will suffer from anxiety.’

Nandi and her award-winning musician husband, Zakes Bantwini (37) are well respected in the entertainment industry. The couple is known for being extremely private. In fact, very little is shared about their relationship, so much so that they managed to keep their 2016 wedding a secret!

‘We agreed that we are not going to make our relationship a career,’ says Nandi, who has been quoted as saying that she married her best friend.

‘Zakes always says he knew he wanted to marry me from day one,’ she smiles, adding that they were determined to make the relationship work. ‘We wanted our relationship to be ours and we took it seriously,’ she says.

When she is not wearing her mother and designer hats, Nandi is still a TV presenter and musician. We ask how the two of them balance it all and maintain their connection as a couple. ‘To be completely honest, it is work; it’s not easy,’ she replies. ‘You have to keep working at it because nothing is perfect. You get caught up in life, but guarding yourself and your family is very important.”

Despite her youth, Nandi has been in showbiz for 15 years. She won the Little Miss SA pageant at the age of six and secured her first professional presenting gig at the age of 15, for the SABC 2 kids’ show, Bling.

Her guts and determination have stood her in good stead in the cut-throat entertainment industry. She remembers being told to change her hairstyle by production companies. ‘I would tell them I’m not changing it!’ she says. ‘You either take me as I am or leave me.’

Nandi also had to prove herself to her parents. ‘I had to demonstrate to them that I could make a living,’ she recalls. They needn’t have worried – today she has a number of chart-topping hits under her belt, such as ‘Skanda Love’, ‘Fly Away’ and ‘Dance’, and she’s presented popular TV shows like BET A-List, Coke Studio and All Access Mzansi. She has also been scouted by Universal Music, and now she can add successful fashion designer to the list too.

Nandi has a number of exciting projects lined up. There’s a TV show on the cards, and she intends extending Colour’s product offering to include home decor. ‘I am also going back to the studio,’ she reveals. Given her track record, we bet her new projects will be hits.

  • She is named after Shaka Zulu’s mother.
  • Contrary to popular belief, she is an extrovert. Most people think her husband is the extrovert, but it’s the other way round.
  • She is a true creative who loves pushing boundaries.
  • Her family time involves a lot of dancing
  • I admire Victoria Beckham for her work and want to get to her level.
  • I love rapper Pharrell Williams.
  • I am obsessed with home decor.
  • I love fashion documentaries.

By Koketso Mashika


NANDI MADIDA: RAISING A KING NANDI MADIDA: RAISING A KING Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on May 01, 2018 Rating: 5
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