LOVE him or hate him, Babongile Sikhonjwa is probably Bulawayo’s top socialite. What he does or does not do makes it to the tabloids.
Recently he was in the news after a messenger of court attached his property allegedly for non-payment of rent.
Rumours swirled during April Fools’ Day that Bulawayo’s favourite son was involved with a woman much to the chagrin of his steady girl, an incident Sikhonjwa denies, but admits caused him many sleepless nights.
While these controversial issues are now water under the bridge, they have nonetheless failed to dampen his spirit and enthusiasm to bring laughter to scores of followers.
“You cannot always keep a good man down,” he told Southern Eye Lifestyle in an interview.
Sikhonjwa turned 38 on June 20 and threw a lavish gig at an elite joint in the City of Kings and Queens, which set tongues wagging with people asking where he got the cash from, barely a month after his property was attached.
“It is the spirit of my friends which helped me host that party, nothing else. My family also contributed,” he explained, adding that the strong line-up of artistes such as Cool Cronners was a result of his liaison and work with top-notch artistes.
Critics admit that with all the warts and all, Sikhonjwa has emerged over the years to fast establish himself as one of the best entertainers in Zimbabwe.
Those who have listened to him as master of ceremonies at various functions are usually taken in by his charisma, wit and jokes.
He has proven to be a multi-talented artiste who boasts being part of Buck Wild Entertainment, a group of promoters based in the United Kingdom who initiated Miss Zimbabwe United Kingdom and independence celebrations in London.
He was born in June 1976 at Marondera Polyclinic in Mzilikazi suburb in Bulawayo.
“The first hands to embrace me were those of the late Herbert Ushewokunze the first minister of Health in Zimbabwe,” he says.
Growing up he attained primary education in four different schools because his teacher-father kept on being promoted to different cities across the country.
They say like father like son, Sikhonjwa’s father was a celebrated master of ceremonies.
Sikhonjwa did high school at Mzingwane High School up to Form Four before attending Milton High School for ‘A’ levels. He was part of a play at ‘A’ level dubbed Jail House which he says made him popular. “People remember me from a variety of school plays, particularly Jail House,” he said.
In the late ’90s he moved to the United Kingdom to study at North London University where he completed a diploma in sound engineering.
The showbiz personality developed an interest in music while in the UK and had the privilege of having popular musician Terry Munday as his mentor. He produced songs We MaNcube and Nyawo Lwami which became a hit at home and abroad, earning him the moniker Ndebele Rock Star.
Sikhonjwa formed a self-titled group Babongile in 1999 which toured Europe.
Upon his return home in 2002 he compiled songs for popular Bulawayo artistes Achuzzi, Skelem, Nkululeko Dube and others he titled Wena WeNdlovu Volume 1 .
They went on to produce an animated cartoon video with Nqobizitha Mlilo for their song I Spy.
He first went live on television when he co-hosted the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Gala. From then on he became a co-presenter for the Miss Strides pageant with a Swazi television presenter Nomahlubi Matiwane and has been involved largely in events management.
His soon to be released single Kayibulawe is a celebratory song written to celebrate 120 years of Bulawayo’s modern existence.
He has released other hit songs that have topped the charts such as Highlanders and Stameta. Sikhonjwa, a proud father of a one-year-old boy, asked why he was not married, was quick to disclose that he is in a stable relationship with the mother of his son.
“It is tough to get married in the industry I am in, but I have a stable girlfriend who is the mother of my son,” he said.