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Nonhle Thema

When Money Costs Too Much

by Keitu Reid / 22.06.2011

In case you’re not on Twitter – Nonhle Thema (the 1st African “global face” for Dark & Lovely products with her own lame reality show) and her 10-million-Rand-in-the-bank are currently trending locally. Her out loud big upping of her own finances is staggering.

Here’s a taste of what she has been tweeting:

Nonhle Thema

Nonhle Thema

Nonhle Thema

‘New money’ vulgarity is ugly up close. A guy I know “made it” as a tenderpreneur and bought himself 5 Range Rovers in different colours. Once my girlfriends and I were enjoying sundowners when a guy, let’s call him Sipho, wanted to buy us drinks. We politely told him we can pay our own way thanks but Sipho didn’t get the message and threw an impressive bunch of car keys on our table. Then he sighed ostentatiously and lamented about having so many rides he has to park some on the street. The difference between Sipho and Nonhle you ask? Sipho has probably not figured out how to use twitter yet. New money vulgarians, they both mistakenly equate money with inherent personal goodness. They think material things make them better than everyone else. It’s creepy and appalling. A guy I know in kasi drives a top of the range BMW slowly at peak hour with Armani shades on so everyone in the taxis can see him.

Are we Africans replacing values with money?

African business owners treat their customers with disrespect through bad service. After these shop owners mismanage their businesses to failure – foreigners move in and offer genuine value – and we call it unfair, and even get violent.

Nonhle Thema

It’s about being respectful. Being admirable. Being polite and real. To everyone. All the time. That’s ubuntu. Nonhle has begun calling her fanbase ‘haters’ after people responded with disgust at her brash tweets. As a brand, Thema may be damaging herself ironically by crowing about her own success. Especially in a country as smarting and unequal as ours. Responses to her materialist ego are already going viral.

RT @megangodsell: Dear Dark and Lovely. Dark she is. Lovely? Are you sure about that one? #nonhletendencies …..
RT @ComicalTshepo: When the dark n lovely burns my brain & I have a headache I use cocaine instead of grandpa… Cos I’m rich bitjes #Nonhletendencies too far?
GarethCliff (with over 100 000 followers) retweeted “South Africa’s first Twitter nervous breakdown. Proudly brought to you by: @NonhleThema Terms, issues and conditions apply”.

There was a girl at school who always did the classic ‘Do you know who my father is?’ when teachers shouted at her. He was some mid-tier ANC whatever. I knew the white kids at my fancy school were rich without them having to declare it out loud. Their families made big donations to the school, they were tanned from exotic holidays, and seemed to be patiently waiting to take over the reins of the family business. Their wealth and esteem looked solid as oak trees. Built on firm ground.

Nonhle Thema

Yes. I know. We black people never had money. Wealth is historically alien to us. We are the expolited labour behind great fortunes. The dirty secret. Slavery built civilisation. Our bodies have been put to work and worked to death throughout history. So white people don’t need to flaunt what they always had – money to them is as natural as the shining sun. We get a little crazy around cash. Understandably.

But will we go on excusing ourselves on behalf of history forever? Most of us wouldn’t know what a Pass book even looks like. We are born free.

“The art is not to make money, but keep it.”

Black people will only graduate from being rich to wealthy, when we appreciate money takes care and consideration. Like raising a family. You have to do it right. When you have it, invest it; or spend it to improve the quality of life, future prospects, and happiness of your family and community. Plough it back into your business. Don’t spend what you got the first chance you get on Uzzi gear.

And if Nonhle wants to make that 10 million genuinely mean something that matters beyond her own narrow interests, she would look around her with humility, and see where she can help, she would be thankful and gracious, she would be conscious and affirming. She would try to make a difference. Nonhle’s vulgar bragging maker her common. That 10 million has alrady cost her way too much.

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  1. Thato says:

    Thank you so much Keitu!
    I’ve been praying someone addresses this, and you did so wonderfully.
    I am unfortunately one of those people whose timeline is flooded with
    Nonhle tweets, but people that follow her and I can’t help but shake my
    head in disdain.

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  2. Zelda says:

    good one Keitu! These kids are so misguided. And since when is R10 million something to brag about? Really! if she doesn’t watch her money, her designer shoes will be lying on the bottom of her Kasi closet.

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  3. Sihle says:

    this is the truth

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  4. AY says:

    There is a Nonhle in all of us- how many of us start “behaving differently” just because we believe we talk better, dress better, make “X” amount of money, etc. The only difference is, we don’t announce it from the roof-tops. We ought to address that green-eyed monster within before casting the first stone. We are all guilty of this one way or another; Nonhle is no different! Before her outburst, no one even cared to publish a report on how well she’s doing for herself, but as soon as she slips up, we on her like ants on sugar. Its a lil hypocritical if you ask me; I’m not saying what she did was right; there’s no need to crucify her

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  5. Jason says:

    If Lolly Jackson had a Twitter account….?

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  6. Amazing piece, I think people all over the world have forgotten about the value of values, and that along with very few other things in the world, values are priceless…

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  7. Jager says:

    @ littlemissconceptions

    Stop believing in god, please. thanks.

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  8. sihlemlambo says:

    Ay you have a point, but none of that has anything to do with Nonhle’s vile tendencies. You cannot seriously sit there and defend her for embarrassing the entire black population. Yes she is successful, has been for a very long time now. She is just suffering from a very traumatic hangover of a failed reality show that the public did not buy into. So to say there is a little nonhle in all of us is a bit utter kak. Nonhle must just accept the public criticism that came her way, some warranted, some not-so-warranted, and move on. I doubt I’ll look at her the same way when I see her on that black box. Out. Check out this guy called “TV with Thinus”, he also has a nice opinion piece bout Miss Thema over here. Well written to the author.

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  9. J3 says:

    Done! U keitu, r a muse. I couldna expressed this any better,n i can express (dont b fooled by my txtspeak :).truth is this typa sleg cant be tamed by cash(clearly) its an inherent qualty of self absorbtion. Uve articulated this succintly buddy.j3 out

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  10. Michelle says:

    Well done! About time someone took this ugliness on. Well written too, enjoyed reading it

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  11. Potjiekos says:

    I’d like to stick my cock in her mouth to shut her up.

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  12. Count Nero says:

    “Rule nombre uno: Never let no one know, how much dough you hold.” – Biggie Smalls, The 10 Crack Commandments.

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  13. zero says:

    i think she needs to listen to the whole track…

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  14. wtf says:

    Dear Nonhle,
    Money cannot buy you class.

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  15. CommonSense says:

    But what does Nonhle talking about her money and what she does with it have to do any us. I think this is just a self indulgent and unnecessary piece that is essentialy about sticking your nose into someones business. If you were reporting about this Twitter meltdown it would be cool but now you criticizing her in a “holier than thou” attitude (cos you ain’t got it). For me this piece unfortunately wreaks of bitter pettiness. Your pen could be used for something far more worthwhile for our time. I’m not big on Nonhle but i’m inclined to side with her when she’s expected to be apologetic about her success or riches!
    Money is not everything but not having it, is!

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  16. Albie Sachs says:

    How much do you want to bet Common Sense is black? I don’t know how I know that. Maybe I’m psychic.

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  17. Thato says:

    LOL @Albi,

    @CommonSense, that is exactly the problem, she started with this whole twitter diarrhoea as soon as people started expressing their dissatisfaction with her dumb reality show, at which point no one really cared about her money to begin with.
    What she did, and continues to do, is use the fact that she got a lot of bank to excuse her horrible show.
    “All the haters eat my dust, I’ve got 10 million”
    How does that make up for a lackluster show? I agree with Keitu, money will never replace values and will not make her a better person. If anything it makes her really crass.

    Perhaps it isn’t fair to sum up all black folk with money this way, but most do this sort of crap.
    *Having nightmares about a recent date with a BEE so and so*
    Its not just irritating, its fucking embarrassing !

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  18. Tirelo'sbrain says:

    She’s destroyed a lot of the credibility she’s built up over the years. I was very impressed with her energy and “go getter” attitude, now I just feel sad, like we’ve lost a rising star and gained a plane crash.

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  19. Keitu Reid says:

    Thanks all for your comments…..

    @AY – you are absolutely right – money changes all of us to an extent but it does not have to be for the worst. We have Michelle Obama, Basetsane Khumalo, Terry Pheto and the likes who seemingly use their money to better themselves, their families and their communities – all the while remaining humble, remaining inspirational and quite frankly remaining nice.

    @commonsense – I personally believe you misunderstood where I was coming from. For one Nonhle actions do in fact hurt me because I think she represents a good majority of my people. She is a celebrity so naturally I used her as an example to unearth a problem of miss managing money – and treating the people / companies who put you there with disrespect (this is not good business sense). This also hurts me because once upon a time I mismanaged money and surrounded myself things I thought I could afford but in reality I couldn’t. There was no twitter back then so my pricy dress sense was the tool I used to say ‘I have made it bitch.’ They truth is I had no idea what money was worth. Plus I needed validation. …. this is not a unique story.

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  20. popskiet says:

    Poitjiekos go stick your own cock in your own mouth to shut yourself up, believe it or not cocks don’t solve anything.

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  21. CommonSense says:

    Well @Albie you wrong bitch i’m Chinese! What does race have to do with anything you prejudice goon?!
    @ Keitu i see what you saying, and to a certain extent it’s true. I just think it was kind of weird to put Nonhle on the crucifix for all the money mismanagement sins! You also didn’t clearly point out where you were going with this. It started out about a meltdown and in the end it was money mismanagement.
    Anyway my point is, just because someones black doesn’t mean their actions are the responsibility of all blacks. Live and let live, what someone does with their money is their business! When you choose to follow that person on Twitter or wherever, you subject yourselves to whatever they wanna say. If you don’t like it switch off and ignore, because you actually feeding the beast with the attention and then you bitch about it!

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  22. Anonymous says:

    please read a little more carefully – the article is not about what she does with her money – “mismanagement” – its about her feeling it is necessary to publicize how much money she has, and the way she seems to define herself by it(she put it on twitter, not the writer, making it a public conversation).

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  23. So nou? says:

    Oh leave the girl alone! I for one think she epitomises what a ‘proper, genuine’ ‘celebrity’ is. That’s why we love or loathe them, they’re crude, OTT, flamboyant, they wear meat, they bite the heads off mice when they’re on stage. That’s what sets rockstars apart from us ordinary people.

    Nonhles done extremely well for herself and has entered a new class or existence, one which unfortunately doesn’t exist for South African public figures and for some, never will. In my eyes, if you’re always gumming smokes off people and im always having to get you a drink because you will ‘get the next one’, whilst appearing on national tv on a weekly basis, you’re not a celebrity regardless of what shwashwi or the metro fm awards panel tell you.
    Because we’re not privy to REAL stars like that, we criticise Nonhle for doing what any other person does when they start to earn that much, attain that kind of global fame, reach whatever.

    We may not always agree with how they choose to express themselves but like I said, it’s just part of the game. Usher wears a $100k watch and makes sure the media hear about and publicise it – Nonhle just chose another way to publicise her success. Rappers hype their bling, cash, women, bentleys etc all the time in their lyrics so in what way is what she’s doing different?

    Let her be!

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  24. CommonSense says:

    @ Anonymous No. YOU read a little more carefully! The writer actually says “She is a celebrity so naturally I used her as an example to unearth a problem of “miss managing” money”. So how do you say : “the article is not about what she does with her money – “mismanagement” ??!!
    And uh so what if she publicizes how much money she has?? IT IS HER MONEY!! The fact that she put her money issues on Twitter doesn’t make it a “public conversation” for you to use in order to ascertain what kind of person she is! You star-struck celebrity chasers just feel too entitled to a public figures life and it’s really not cool!! I’ll say again if ya don’t like it unfollow the fcuk out!!

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  25. So nou? says:

    Bumming smokes – predictive text!

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  26. CommonSense says:

    @ So nou? I’m not sure i agree with some of your points but i think you’re right…let her be!

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  27. gala says:

    nonhle has shown the ugly side of black. there are some people who’ve made the transition from thousandier *if there is such a word* to millionaire without too much of a fuss. Decency, is being taught how to say thank you. Common behaviour suggests, that you would think things were due to you. Vulgarity is blatant disrespect for what you feel entitled to. i don’t hate her, i think she’s self inflated…and what usually happens is those people self implode… and ten mil? We all got bigger dreams than that…

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  28. Seffron says:

    Someone should stick a cock in her ass instead.

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  29. dudie says:

    there is a saying: give money to the peasants and watch the circus unfold.
    it is true – a peasant group with new money, now let’s watch the fiasco unfold in front of our eyes. poor girl is also extremely, extremely shallow and quite dumb – which makes her extremely unattractive.
    i remember when the same sort of thing happeningin eastern europe in the 90’s – there were all these women with loads of new money running around, but they still didn’t know how to use tampons. i’m not saying that the poor soul doesn’t know how to use them, but i’m sure she still prefers drum magazine now and then. enjoy your money nonhle – we’ll enjoy the ridiculous things like reading books and

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  30. dudie says:

    … and playing musical instruments

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  31. prinses says:

    Hey Keitu,

    great piece – it’s always necessary to critically look at our society. Respect.

    I just have one issue. I find your statement

    “white people don’t need to flaunt what they always had – money to them is as natural as the shining sun”

    a bit problematic. This is not true. I’m white and we have been struggling with cash for as long as I can remember. I had to work for my own money as soon as I reached a legal age. I still can’t afford most things my friends [magically] get.
    I believe this [mis]perception, that being white implies money, also fuels a kind of hostile attitude towards whites.

    I don’t know, this is just my opinion..
    Once again, high five for addressing a critical topic.

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  32. @popskiet says:

    On the contrary, cocks solve a lot of things, my friend.

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  33. Blah says:

    I look forward to reading about her fall into the gutter any day now.

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  34. Keitu Reid says:

    @prinses – that is fair. It goes without saying that I came from my reference point. And yours is just as legitimate!

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  35. nali says:

    Yes it is her money, and what she says about it to the public is her choice. And, yes she is a public figure. Not saying she should assume the position of role model, but should represent herself more positively by not revealing such aspects which gives room to this kind of criticism. We cannot deny that there is a trend between some African Americans and black Africans. As soon as money comes in, there is a tendency to show off and act untouchable. Some people will say watch your actions and be humble, that is our culture and background. Whilst some say if you have it flaunt it. Our culture teaches you to be a better person, to manage your life sensibly. Because when it all falls apart for you, the world will have the right to laugh as much as they had the right to big you up when you were rolling. So its up to the person, as long as they can handle the consequences

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  36. Queen.A says:

    We are different people! If she wants to boast, let her be! Why are u affected? It’s her success, whether their are people richer than her who don’t boast about their riches, that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t!
    Funny how it’s the not so rich people who have the biggest problem with Nonhle!

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  37. tumitumitumi says:

    kakakaka but nonhle has always been this way even when she was broke. and she’s always been convinced that God chose her cos she’s God’z Child lol

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  38. BabelFish says:

    Lets see where she is in 10 years time when she has been pushed aside by the next little Dark and Lovely. Her wealth is not sustainable and she’ll learn this pretty quickly when she’s a tired old and wrinkly nobody

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  39. Mpho says:

    Great Article

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  40. Anonymous says:


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  41. Thashen says:

    You’re only rich when Forbes says you are…

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  42. OptionalTarget says:

    she’s got you all talkin about her so guess what…she’s worth eleven million now. thorough yawn.

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  43. Odidiva says:

    I was privy to this buffoonery going down on my Twitter account.

    Clearly the writer’s indignation for gets Khanyi Mbau, Jordan and Paris Hilton and their Kardashian peers and all those Celebrities like them.

    The high horse the writer sits on is the pot calling the kettle black, when this is on Twitter. How much ego does it take to think that almost your every thought and actions are important enough for other people to read?

    I am not surprised but the girl never lied she told the truth about her success and her riches. Yes she could’ve put more modestly but, then that would be mendacity on her part

    This article is hypocritical and filled with bougoies incrudility!

    VIVA Nonhle! If thats how you are all I can say GOD BLESS Bonang!

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  44. Modjadji says:

    Does the rich bitch pay tax?

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  45. Rosa Sparks says:

    Thanks Keitu. Awesome article. I really don’t mind that she’s super rich and flaunts her tits off, she does however come across as a shallow and self-centred person. She’s an attention whore and she’ll do anything for attention. Unfortunately she’s stooped quite low in her fame whore ways I can’t take her seriously at all. Cheap, tactless trash at its best.

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  46. youngmoney says:

    I have never understood the notion that when one black person screws up it becomes a representation for the whole race; there is a whole lot of white, chinese, indian folk out there who flaunt their money with vulgarity but somehow we believe they deserve the money. Not to excuse this behaviour but there is statistically more black people out there who work hard, raise their families and invest in their community, who is writing about that?

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  47. ChronikSonik says:

    Great piece of writting! I’m going to be Nonhle’s number one hater from now on! Stupid ass Biatch….

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  48. porl says:

    who’s Nonhle?

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  49. Mpho says:


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  50. Someone with brains says:

    Damn guys !! Shes important enough for you to spend all your time trashin her???
    ** turns page and walks away**
    You all need help!!!!!!!
    All these chicks brag when they make it, let her vent she`ll get over it …
    Flip i know all you ppl commenting don`t have half what she does and you are all just being bitter.. So she made it and shes bragging.. so what ..
    I know I would!

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  51. rrrRrrrr says:

    Arg plzzzzz common sense, done well 4 herself? If it wasn’t 4 Dark and Lovely who wud Nonhle be??? She’s da true definition of “beauty with no brains” hense her screwed up show, its karma ryt ther… Her boastful attitude landed her wher she is ryt now again hense the negativity she’s gettin frm ha those who luked up 2 ha! “You reep what you sow” I’m not judging its jus my Opinion

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  52. Lungz says:

    wow comonsence doe make a lot of comonsence hey …
    i aggree 100% us South Africans hv tht tendency of wanting to take ownership of out celebrities nd using our unfortunate black history as an excuse to say wat eva they want nd condemn people for living their lives. i think people shud do their own thang nd not feel entitled to hv an input on other’s lives if u dont like wat u c nd read ignore it . nd as for all those celebrities publicly hating Nonhle on tv – NOW THTS disgusting its like they hv a personal vendeta agaist her nd if they really thik Nonhle is childish nd acting stupid, then why r they entertaining it on national tv since their far much older thn her
    all in all this Nonhle fiasco is a classic case of bullying nd ganging up of many older celebrities against one very successful young grl who had an x factor tht those celebrities saw as a threat !!

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  53. Thiriso Ndlovu says:

    i lvu u Nohle plz cal me

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  54. Londy says:

    Fuck u who ever published dis nonhle is amazing she is extremely beautiful very rich ofcourse she is dark n lovely she is very nice n also very freindly n kind she anspires young people to archieve their dreams(just lyk me im also young) she is da kind of person u wil not want to look up to but need to look up too….n who are ur’ll to judge her

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  55. Londy says:

    Nxaaaaa u silly hater ar disgusting get a drip

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  56. Londy says:

    N lungz u are ryt

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  57. Londy says:

    N i love u nonhle thema donnt let da haters bring you down go out dere n do ur thing

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