Call me saQobo! Babongile Sikhonjwa says he has turned a new leaf

The Chronicle

Bongani Ndlovu, Showbiz Reporter
He has done it all. Now he wants to rest, be a better person, take up responsibilities and set an example for his son.

This is Babongile Sikhonjwa, a person who is well known in the Bulawayo and possibly Zimbabwe showbiz scene for his comedy, MCing, being a radio presenter and an entertainer.

Sikhonjwa is a permanent feature in the entertainment circles of Bulawayo.

He has been doing it ever since his high school days at Umzingwane and Milton High where he used to organise shows and dramas during his time there.

A staunch Highlanders Football Club supporter with aspirations to become vice chairman, Sikhonjwa was born at Marondera Polyclinic in Bulawayo on June 20, 1976.

He says Zimbabwe’s first Health Minister, Dr Herbert Ushewokunze was the one who delivered him.

Sikhonjwa learnt at Baines Infant School, from Grade One to Two and then moved to Harare as his father, who was a teacher, got a job as a lecturer at Belvedere Teachers’ College.

In Harare, Sikhonjwa says he learnt at Mt Batten Primary School up to Grade Four. His father was then promoted to education officer and he relocated to Gweru where he did his Grade Five and Six at Cecil John Rhodes Primary School.

The family moved back to Bulawayo where Sikhonjwa was enrolled at Baines Primary School to complete his primary education.

He then enrolled at Mzingwane High School for his O- level and then he completed his A- level at Milton High School.

“Growing up, the path that I always found myself on was entertainment. If there were variety shows, I would be there singing, playing instruments, cracking jokes and MCing.

Anyone who went to school with me will attest that where I am right now, I’m not lost,” said Sikhonjwa.

He said during his years at Mzingwane High School, he met the likes of Iyasa director Nkululeko Dube and was part of the drama club.

Babongile Sikhonjwa

At Milton High School he would organise shows with his peers and hire prominent DJs such as 3FM presenters Peter Johns, Tich Mataz and The Hitman for variety shows.

At Milton, he was mates with the likes of former Zimbabwe Men’s Cricket team fast bowler and now Cricket commentator Mpumelelo Mbangwa, who was the head boy, Thulani Moyo, Shingirai Samuriwo, Lionel Deneker and Chronicle Sports editor Dingilizwe Ntuli.

The people who were influential in building his career were Otis Fraser and Kimble Rogers who nurtured the careers of many aspiring musicians from the city.

What Sikhonjwa is known for is being a showman. He enjoys limelight and at one time, he says he bought a limousine and took friends and artistes around the city in it.

To celebrate his 40th birthday he organised a train party and the train left Bulawayo Station with revellers headed to Redwood and the who’s who of Bulawayo were there and partied with him.

It was when the party stopped at Redwood that Sikhonjwa proposed to his then-girlfriend Nanji Taswa-Banda.
It took everyone by surprise, and soon the couple had a child, who he named Qobolwakhe.

Sikhonjwa says the reason why he named his son Qobolwakhe was he wanted him to have an identity.

“I want my son to have an identity that is why I named him Qobolwakhe. It’s his identity wherever he goes, he has this identity that people will know that he is Ndebele and proud of it.

Just like me, I was conceived about three years after my parents were married.

You know in those old days it was something else for people to stay such a long time without a child and then they named me Babongile,” said Sikhonjwa.

But all that was rosy about his life crashed as some years later he and Nanji split amicably, according to Sikhonjwa.

“Things didn’t work out, we have got different pressures in our various fields. I think entertainers, bar owners and people in showbiz have strange lifestyles.

So sometimes they aren’t compatible with a person who does a nine to five job.

On the weekend it was time to rest for her but for me it was time to work. So, we went our separate ways amicably.

That’s why there was no announcement and we just kept quiet and left it as it is.

“We are in very good books and I hope it doesn’t get to be messy.

On Christmas, they get invited to our home and I also go to her family’s place, we’ve got a child together,” said Sikhonjwa.
Now he is focused on being a father and a friend to his child, who when he speaks about, his face lights up.

“Iyangichaza itshomi leyana! Most of the time I will be busy but the little gap that I can get, I try and spend time with him.

The first lockdown I was with him every day as he was staying with me. I want him to be my friend, ngingabi nguBaba!

“I also teach him respect and try studying him. He is a funny guy; he loves things to do with art a lot.

I have recorded with him already. I did a song with (the late) Cal Vin and we have another with Samuzik,” said Sikhonjwa.

He said Qobolwakhe is a smart kid as his thinking is above those of nine-year-olds as he wants to have conversations with older people.

One of the reasons that Sikhonjwa believes led to his life turning around was his near-death experience following a car crash in December 2014.

Sikhonjwa, together with fellow comedian Clive Chigubu and a friend were involved in a car accident in Nguboyenja after having attended various festive events in Bulawayo.

Sikhonjwa who at that time was driving a Mercedes Benz C230 reportedly failed to negotiate a bend at the Nguboyenja fly-over and lost control of the vehicle, resulting in it hitting a lamp post before overturning.

He stayed in hospital for close to a month.

When he speaks about this episode of his life, Sikhonjwa’s voice deepens as he describes it as a turning point in his life.

“It was an unfortunate incident, I should say.

We were drinking, partying and working every day doing two or three events.

It was a sad time.

It’s so funny that tragedy can bring people closer and appreciate some people in your life.

That’s a time that I got to appreciate people who like me and love me.

I was thinking all the time that I was going to die with some ideas, which wouldn’t come to fruition. That was hurting me,” said Sikhonjwa.

While reflecting, Sikhonjwa said he is now a better driver adding that he does not want to be in that situation again.

“Finding me sleeping in the club, those days are over. I’m now saQobo,” he said.

Looking into the future, Sikhonjwa has aspirations to be the Highlanders Football Club vice-chairman. He has thrown his hat into the fray.

“Two years ago, I posted on social media that I wanted to be the vice-chairman.

It wasn’t the season of voting, but I was testing the waters.

This time it’s for real. Vice-chairman is not really a political post as the person will be in charge of the amenities of the club,” said Sikhonjwa.

He said he was interested in the post because he wants to take care of the clubhouse so that it makes money.

“I think I can contribute a lot to that because that is my field.

I’ve been a life member since 2007 I think.

When you walk into the Highlanders Clubhouse now, you can’t say Siyinqaba and be proud of it.

Look at what is happening at Zim Saints, what’s happening at every other sports club, we can do.

I believe that I’m older and wiser and I believe that I can do it,” said Sikhonjwa. – Follow on Twitter @bongankunzi

Article Source: The Chronicle

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