Sex, drugs and how Somizi did it all!
'Idols' judge 'puts himself out there' in memoir that spills plenty showbiz beans
A "false rape allegation", his first sexual encounter with a man, a tiff with Brenda Fassie over drugs, and his terminal illness are some of the candid revelations that feature in the memoirs of one of South Africa's most flamboyant personalities.
Choreographer and Idols judge Somizi Mhlongo's sex, drugs and hip-hop tell-all book Dominoes: Unbreakable Spirit, which he co-wrote with journalist and author Lesley Mofokeng, will be launched on Wednesday.It takes readers on a journey through Somizi's life, touching on his happy but impoverished childhood in Orlando East with his six siblings, his showbiz parents Ndaba Mhlongo and Mary Twala, discovering his sexuality as a boy, his close friendship with Lebo Mathosa of Boom Shaka and dealing with her death, and the crazy entertainment industry lifestyle.
Dominoes also lays bare Somizi's sexcapades, a sexual assault conviction that nearly ruined him and his rise to becoming an "A-list star" during his 38 years in showbiz.
Somizi, who is currently single and turns 45 in December, spent three days at a private game reserve last year penning "my truth".
The title is inspired by the song Dominoes by gospel crooner Brian Temba.
"I realised that this has been the story of my life. Since I was born I've been breaking down walls, hurdles, and every time I do, they fall like dominoes," he told the Sunday Times.
Somizi is slightly apprehensive about how the book will be received. "People don't know my entire life story. I'm putting myself out there."
Somizi, who loves drinking champagne and wearing designer clothes, devotes many pages to his sexuality. Although he knew he was gay when he was a boy, he kept this a secret.He recalled his "first gay connection" as an adolescent, with a musician he met at a talent show.
"He used to sing with the late Brenda Fassie and even dated her at some point."
Somizi accompanied the musician and his girlfriend to his home.
"We crashed on his bed, all three of us. My heart was throbbing and loins on fire, the scent of a man and his prickly, hairy legs fired me up.
It was my first time having a physical connection with a male ... the thought of having this forbidden fruit felt so good."
Despite his best efforts to stay in school, Somizi was often bored, and gave in to his lust for the stage - his biggest production being Mbongeni Ngema's Sarafina!, which allowed him to travel overseas as a teen.
His first boyfriend was the brother of an old school mate, who was overprotective of Somizi and would beat men who labelled him "faggot".
"I was scared and shy. He was a man's man and that is why to this day I'm only attracted to guys who remind me of him. I guess I never got over him."
Somizi's many relationships included one with the mother of his daughter, Bahumi, who was conceived while Somizi was still involved with his first love.
Then came "my first white boyfriend", followed by a "good catch from Durban".In the midst of his rise to fame and his love quests, Somizi was informed in 1999 that he had a terminal illness, which he has disclosed only to a small circle and does not name in the book.
Dominoes also delves into his friendship with Fassie, who Somizi claims tried to introduce him to drugs.
But he maintains, in a chapter entitled "Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll", that even while all his friends around him - including Brickz and Mandoza, with whom he was very tight - were into cocaine, he has always stayed away from narcotics."Bookings started coming in back-to-back and it got hectic. I needed bodyguards for when I walk in the mall and when I go to the shows because people were now loving me so much. I started to feel like Michael Jackson or a Beyoncé"
There followed a radio show on Metro FM with Ntombi Mzolo and Khanyi Mbau, and his own reality series, Living the Dream with Somizi, on DStv's Mzansi Magic. He currently co-hosts the Fresh Breakfast morning show with DJ Fresh.
"I'm in a great space," he said.
So what's next?