Written By: Mazuba Kapambwe—When South African VJ, model and actress Nonhle Thema became the first African spokeswoman for the global hair care brand Dark & Lovely in 2009, it seemed like the turning point for African celebrities to start building their empires and building brands which they identified with. The pairing of Miss Thema and Dark & Lovely was genius in that she is a well-known celebrity as she is seen on television screens across Africa via Vase TV on the Multi-Choice Dish Network. Add the fact that she has been on the cover of major magazines such as True Love and FHM (South Africa) where she was voted one of the sexiest women in South Africa. If there were one woman who could sell a product, it would be her.
It was my impression that other African celebrities would look at what Nonhle had done and start calling their publicists to negotiate similar campaigns so that they could also be named as the new face of an international brand. Nigerian singer D’banj seemed to get the memo because the same year, he announced his venture in television. Millions of fans watched the Koko Mansion, which was collaboration with Hi TV, and saw twelve girls living in a mansion—Big Brother style—with “diva” tasks to perform. The ultimate prize was being named D’banj's “kokolette” for an entire year and accompanying him to high profile events within and outside Nigeria. In addition, the winner was gifted with a car, a diamond ring from designer Chris Aires and five million Naira. In essence, this show was meant to be the Nigerian version of the American show The Bachelor except the fans knew that though D’banj is a sought after bachelor, like his fellow recording artist TuFace, he doesn’t seem like the type to settle down and fall in love (no pun intended).