Reality Shows

DJ Zinhle’s Unexpected Reality Show Review – Worth the Buzz?

The latest in South African celebrity reality shows has arrived.

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On the first two episodes of her reality show, Unexpected, DJ Zinhle appears ready to own her narrative. Up until just weeks ahead of the show’s premiere on BET, the media personality had kept her pregnancy private.

With the amount of public interest that attends to her life, it’s a wonder she was able to keep the news from even those closest to her. As we are now learning through this show, DJ Zinhle, real name name Zinhle Jiyane, keeps a strong network of close friends and her tight knit family. Yet not even they were granted access into the privileged news of her second journey to motherhood. At least not until much later!

“I didn’t want to deal with the media”, she explains to her celebrity pal Nomuzi Mabena on the first episode, which marks the start of her journey to breaking the news to everyone. Until now, her boyfriend, Black Motion member Bongani Mohosane is the only one she’s told.  And even that is somewhat of a mystery to Zinhle.

She’d later bring her best-friend Pearl Thusi to tears when breaking the news. Jiyane reveals she’s battled some anxiety over not knowing how the announcement would be received, both by her family and the public. She’s learned by now that the constant chatter around her life on social media can get intense, with fans and detractors yelling at each other for days on end.

It all worked out perfectly in the end, however, as she twinned the announcement of her pregnancy with the scoop on the reality show. It’s a double treat for her fans, who now get to come along as Zinhle journeys to the next chapter of her life on the show, which gives viewers a glimpse into her busy life as a mom of one Kairo, a life on the on the road as one of the country’s most sought after DJ’s, and the fashion empire she’s building.

Far from the badass CEO with a lasting streak in the entertainment business, Unexpected reveals a layer to a woman wearing many hats. Although she’s constantly the talk of the town, whether or not she’s actually the main character of the headlines, the show takes us beyond a celebrity in the spotlight to introduce us to Zinhle, the woman, the mom, the sister, the friend.

Unexpected does not gloss over the rough edges either. From the start, Zinhle allows us to see her without makeup. When home, she’s just as goofy as us mere mortals. She reveals that she needed to find a way to honour AKA’s name even as she allows fans further than they’ve ever gotten before.

Although their names are often splashed alongside each other in the media and in impassioned fan wars on social media, she’s careful not to cultivate an environment that would paddle negative headlines about the father of her child.

Unexpected marks somewhat a departure from the stale format of South African celebrity shows, which have mostly concealed the real stuff behind a sparkly sheen meant to sustain a false display of perfection. There’s a boldness here, as Zinhle really seems ready to just approach her entrance into the world of reality shows with an honest vulnerability. She was either going to do this properly, or continue keeping the most intimate details of her personal life private.

She’s chosen to invite us, and do so without banging out a pretty farce. And so what could have been back to back ad placements for her products, the dishing out of curated moments with her boyfriend Bongani Mohosana to show us they are oh-so-in-love, has been traded for real moments.

Instead, she allows the parallels of announcing her pregnancy and revealing who she is behind the scenes to shine through. DJ Zinhle and Bongani have now welcomed baby Asante Mohosane.

Though it must be said, her sister Gugulethu not noticing Zinhle’s very visible baby bump when she arrived at her house, until Zinhle announces it, felt a bit staged. She might have only found out on the the day of the taping, but the ‘Ooh!’ was totally saved for the camera. It was like, stop it.

Otherwise, we are watching. Unexpected airs on BET, DStv channel 129 on Saturdays at 19:30.

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