As she further stacks her CV, "Public Figure" is Bonang's debut as a co-Producer. The documentary focuses on the positive and negative aspects of social media. In the film, Directed by Brian Corso, they highlight influencers who have been able to utilize social media to better their lives, businesses and those of people around them. We also see the documentary speak to psychiatrists and experts on the negative effects of social media has had on society.
Public Figure premieres in South Africa this weekend in Johannesburg and Cape Town as part of the Encounters Documentary Film Festival! If you wanted to get in, unfortunately, you're out of luck! The cinema has already been sold out!
We got to chat to Queen B* over the phone this morning, fresh off of her Sunday Times Next Gen Awards win! We spoke to her about the film, House of BNG and, of course, Social Media.
ZAlebs (ZA): How did you go from a career in traditional media (television, radio, etc.) to building such huge social media influence compared to many of your peers?
Bonang Matheba (BM): "Firstly, I'm actually very lucky that I started on traditional media and that I had already built a name for myself before Twitter, Instagram and Facebook really took off. I think I was one of the first local celebrities to sign up on these sites. So, just the timing was right. Then, because I've grown with Social Media, I've gotten to learn the tricks and watch how much it has changed. What social media used to do was amplify traditional media. Now, the roles have reversed and traditional media amplifies what's going on on social media. So there's been a huge flip and I think when you know that and have tracked it, you know how to use it."
ZA: Public Figure, in part, shows how influencers have been able to build six-figure businesses from Social Media. What do you think is need for South Africa's online culture to have more of the same level of success stories?
BM: "First of all, I think we need to be fair to South Africa. The cyber-bullying, people selling fake lifestyles and so on is not a problem unique to South Africa. Also, we need to remember that social media is an individual choice. Social Media allows you to decide what are YOU going to use it for, what is YOUR intention. And because you cannot police people's intentions, it becomes a difficult question to answer. I really believe that the people who use social media in a toxic way are ultimately projecting. I think we need to find ways to discuss these things more and on helping those people as well as those being cyber bullied. This is something we also talk about in the doccie, to help give people the tools to engage with social media more positively."
BM: "I want to be honest... Most real opportunities for young people today are on digital and digital media. You know why? Because it is up to YOU as an individual. If you are a songwriter, you don't have to wait for anyone - you can put your song on YouTube. If you're a model, you don't have to be signed to an agency to put your work on instagram. If you are funny, you can start gaining traction from putting your skits on Twitter. That is the beauty of the Digital Era. We are in the era where people can create their own brand but, most importantly, people can also OWN their own brands from the very beginning of their career. You don't need to sign over your talent to someone else anymore. It is yours! The truth is that these days, nobody else is coming to help you get there or build your name for you. Now, it is a responsibility that you need to get on there and do the work."
ZA: What do you think is the real secret to becoming a social media influencer or starting to make real money off of your social media pages?
BM: "If we look at maybe the top 10 digital influencers in the county, the common thread is that they are consistent! Whether it is with content, delivery, aesthetic or the quality, you know that they will be there and the content will be good. So that's where it starts. Then also - I find this with myself too - be authentic. I find that the more I show my personality and the things that I personally genuinely am in love with, people are drawn more to that. Then, finally, I find that people underestimate social media. They underestimate how much hard work it is. They see it as "oooh ha.a. Batho ba ba post'ang di picture all day" but it is really hard work! It is like any other industry, it takes hard work and consistency for a long time to build a successful career."
ZA: We have loved watching your plan for World domination unfold, what is next for you and what can fans expect to hear for the rest of the year?
BM: "House of BNG was only launched, like, 3 months ago so it's been crazy! My focus will be on that and to see it grow with more products. I think that it is such an incredible product, a proudly South African products and I want to see it enjoyed by people all over the world. House of BNG is more like an umbrella company so we are also going to introduce more products like a shoe line rather soon. But also, my bursary fund! Deep down, my first love is being able to help young women obtain an education. So there's a huge announcement coming up on my birthday. Something very exciting for my fans is Being Bonang coming back to your screens in July! Then, of course, Public Figure will be going on sale worldwide! It will be available on iTunes from the 18th of June and also Amazon so everyone in the world will be able to watch as well."
Read more on Bonang!
Walk in Bonang's shoes this winter
When she won that award in Prague
All the celebs who came out to support House of BNG
main image credit: Shen Scott, ZAlebs