Six years after her highly publicized divorce from businessman Leslie Sedibe, Sonia has returned to using her maiden name and is looking to reintroduce the public to Sonia Mbele.
“These days I conduct my business as Mbele. When viewers first met me back in 1998, they knew me as Sonia Mbele. So I want to reintroduce them to the young woman they fell in love with. I’m still Sedibe though: my children still use that surname and belong to it. Plus, I made it famous!” said Mbele to True Love as part of her cover feature for the August issue.
Miele invited the team to interview and photograph her at her beautiful home in one of Joburg’s many lush suburbs.
Her last True Love cover came at a time when she was held bent on rebuilding her life following the aforementioned divorce and a mild, stress-induced stroke.
“I suffered from panic attacks and anxiety breakdowns. I stressed about how to transition from the life I lived to a new one, where I was now alone. I was scared,” she revealed. Her worries about the reports about her during that time in her life also compounded that stress. According to the publication, the reports painted her as a struggling actress who was down and out but Mbele reiterates that, that was never the case.
“There’s a perception that after divorce, women lose out because they married for financial security. I’ve never struggled with money so that stereotype doesn’t affect me.”
She has since launched a hospitality solutions company, a mentorship group of women she refers to as the “baby bears” and has also ventured into production and scriptwriting.
She also weighed in on THAT now infamous “Generations 16” drama which saw the soapies entire principal cast get fired.
“There were more issues at the soapie that made me leave, hence I wasn’t surprised when the group of actors known as the Generations 16 left. Actors had to demand more than the annual 2% increase.”
Like many of South Africa’s established actresses, she shares the prevailing sentiment around the new school of acting.
“There’s a new crop of women who’ve emerged now. They boast a huge following on social media and are very popular but when it comes down to the craft, I come out tops, any day,” explained Mbele.
“I come from a different school of genuine talent, and so I’ve never worried about my comeback - although I’ve been blessed lately to work with great talents like Zola Nombona, Moliehi Makobane, Solomon Sebothoma and Sir Ray Sepotokele,” she added.
She also revealed the very interesting fact that she was initially offered the role of Yvonne ‘YV’ Thebe on the eTv soapie, Scandal! A role which has since gone to one of Mbele’s friends, Kgomotso Christopher.
What made her turn down the role is a new-found freedom and comfortability that has come with age.
“I never thought I’d be a divorcee and a single mother at 40. but, with that said, I’m having more fun now as Sonia. I’m more liberated and not so caged anymore. I sometimes feel that I was living life behind a golden cage. Although it looked pretty, I still felt trapped. I’m so happy now. I feel like I have wings and I’m soaring. And I’m so much more in tune with myself.”
She revealed that she is also open to marriage and is currently very happy in her dating life. All she has known are committed relationships and that has not changed for Sonia, but when asked whether or not she is in a committed relationship, all she says is “I’m happy.”
And that was not a no…
Main image credit: instagram.com/truelovemagazine