Kaunda Selisho
Lifestyle Journalist
5 minute read
17 Dec 2020
4:31 pm

OPINION: Did Lebo M’s reality show hurt or help his reputation?

Kaunda Selisho

Legendary composer Lebo M may be great at what he does, but he seems to be not-so-great at treating people with respect and kindness.

Lebo M. Picture: Nick Boulton

There are two things the average person knows for sure about veteran producer and composer Lebo M (Lebohang Morake); he’s great at what he does for a living and he loves to get married.

However, since the release of his new reality show Lebo M – Coming Home, which airs exclusively on Showmax, viewers have been left with a bit of a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to Morake.

According to Showmax, Lebo M – Coming Home takes you behind the scenes of Morake’s illustrious career.

“How he got his musical break as a nine year old. His memories of the 1976 Soweto uprising. How he went into exile in Lesotho by mistake as a teenager. How he spent time living on the streets in the USA. How he’s stayed clean for the last 15 years after overcoming his alcohol addiction. How he recorded the opening line of The Lion King in one rushed take…”

Set predominantly in the home he shares with his third wife, Angela, his 95-year-old mother and four of his children in the opulent Blair Atholl Golf Estate, the show follows the happenings of Morake’s days as well as that of his daughter Refi and his son, Tshepiso – with whom he has a tumultuous relationship.

“Celebrity, success and fame are largely a perception. There are average human beings behind the myths,” said Morake of his show.

“Yes, there’s a lot of conflict with me and my kids that comes from my kind of work, how they were brought up and brought up in two countries,” he added.

All in all, Morake has helped raise nine children; Zakiya, Nthabiseng, Refilwe, Tshepiso, Mthunzi, Ketso, Letti, Lulo, and Thembalethu, who tragically passed away.

Tshepiso Morake. Picture: Nick Boulton

“Tshepiso, recently became a father himself but his relationship with Lebo M is strained at the beginning of the series. They particularly clash over Ayanda, Tshepiso’s girlfriend and mother of his baby.”

Morake’s treatment of Ayanda (who is also referred to as Barbie throughout the series) has been a point of contention for many.

The music legend is very distrusting of Ayanda and her family. Among his reasons for this is the fact that he claims that they tried to get him to pay their outstanding electricity bill to the value of R200,000 as part of inhlawulo (damages) discussions between their families while trying to do the honourable thing after Tshepiso and Ayanda became parents to King.

Morake often refuses to refer to Ayanda by name of uses phrases such as “dot, dot, dot” or “that one” to refer to her. He also speaks very rudely of her family, whom he portrays as money hungry.

He claims not be phased by anything that is said about him as he claims that years of making the front page of tabloids has helped him develop a thick skin.

“This has been the scariest moment in front of the camera in my life. I’ve never felt vulnerable in front of the camera as a performer but this time, it’s different. It’s about that aspect of my life I always preferred to be private. Now, I’m feeling rather overexposed.

“I feel the need to say, ‘Hello South Africa, I have no clue who the guy the gossip papers have been writing about is. The one who’s been married a million times’,” said Morake.

Amongst his biggest hopes for his show was the hope that it started a conversation about fatherhood in South Africa.

“There’s not enough conversation around fatherhood. I don’t necessarily say I have had a perfect father-mother relationship with the mothers of my children. But a conversation around that also, I think, is equally important given where society is, where the mindset of men is. I don’t necessarily agree a lot with South African men’s fathering attitudes or stances.”

And he lets this be known through his criticism of Tshepiso and Ayanda’s relationship in a way that often comes across as hypocritical to both his viewers and his own children.

Morake also doesn’t let people finish speaking because he has decided that he knows best, and is always right. His wife, Angela, and his children often have to fight through conversations just to be heard, and even then, he tends to be very dismissive of their input, feelings and perspective.

He is also dismissive of people who have less money than he does, and no one likes a snob.

Lebo M – Coming Home is the debut reality series from Dopezuluboi Productions, founded by Teddy Geldart, who directed two seasons of Being Bonang and was executive producer of the award-winning fourth season of Living The Dream With Somizi. Geldart also worked on this year’s other hit reality show, Kwa Mam’Mkhize.

Lebo M – Coming Home is the third original reality series this year from Showmax, after Somizi & Mohale: The Union and Life With Kelly Khumalo.

Kaunda Selisho.

Kaunda is analogue girl navigating a digital world using the perspective provided by news. She has always had a desire to amass a wealth of knowledge on a range of varied topics and this is reflected in the content she produces. As a digitally adept social media user, you can always trust Kaunda to bring you up to speed on what’s going on in the world at any given moment.

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