Book Review

Sex tapes to skin lightening: Toke Makinwa's tell-all memoir

'On Becoming' reminds us that a life of glitz and glamour is not always a joyride, writes Rea Khoabane

27 June 2017 - 12:39 By REA KHOABANE

If you're one of Africa's big media personalities like Toke Makinwa, chances are your story becomes every paper and gossip site's best piece of sensational news.

In her 14-chapter memoir, On Becoming,  the Nigerian radio personality, television host, vlogger and bestselling author writes about her painful path through life.

I'm not one to read gossip sites but I love a good, quick read and this is what Makinwa's 112-page memoir offered in just three hours.

She tells how she watched  her mother and father burn  from a cylinder that had exploded in their flat. They died in hospital.

She was eight years old when she lost her parents and the tragedy changed her from being a bubbly child into a rebel, one who made wrong decisions about men.

She reveals her marital woes in the first chapter, titled Confession.

She talks about the roller-coaster ride of falling in love and finally marrying her husband, Maje. Makinwa and Maje were together for 15 years, married for six.

The romance turned sour after she discovered Maje's flight tickets to London to see "the other woman", which left her devastated. But she stayed in the  marriage - she never really explains why.

The absence of a father figure in her life might have triggered that.

Maje mistreated her in as many ways as a man can when he wants to make a woman question her worth and break down her confidence.

Her desperation to  want to live up to "the other woman's" standards led Makinwa to want to be  like her, including lightening her skin.

She discovered Maje's sex tape with "the other woman" and found out that they had a baby together. Unfaithfulness and pain are the themes of her life until she has to confront "the other woman".

Chapter 10, The Other Woman, consists of seven empty pages and Makinwa introduces the chapter by saying, "In the beginning you'll be mad, you'll feel disrespected, hatred is your fuel and revenge becomes the mission.

"But as time progresses, so will your numbness, and then you'll realise, the hurt you feel has blessed you tremendously."

What I loved about  this book is how Makinwa reminds us that a life of  glitz and glamour is not always a joyride.

• On Becoming is available on

This article was originally published in The Times.