Somizi Mhlongo

Somizi Mhlongo, Idols SA Judge

Somizi Mhlongo is a South African actor, choreographer, occasional singer, entrepreneur, published author, radio and television personality renown for starring in the 1992 musical and political film, Sarafina!.

He is a current judge on Idols SA alongside fellow judges Randall Abrahams and Unathi Nkayi. He was added to the judges panel in 2015 at the beginning of season 11, he was revealed at the first Idols auditions in Pretoria on 31 January 2015.

Quick Profile of Somizi

Real/Full Name: Somizi Buyani Mhlongo

Date of Birth: 23 December 1972

Age: 48 years

Birth Place: Soweto, Gauteng, South Africa

Nationality: South African

Nickname(s): Somgaga

Parent(s): Ndaba Mhlongo (father), Mary Twala (mother)

Partner(s): Palesa Madisakwane (1993 – 1995)

Spouse(s): Mohale Tebogo Motaung (married in 2019)

Children: Bahumi Madisakwane

Early life:

Somizi was born in Soweto, the largest township in Johannesburg, to the late South African veteran actress, Mary Twala, and actor and comedian, Ndaba Mhlongo. Through the influence of his famous parents, he became exposed to the entertainment industry at a very young age. Somizi had one sibling, a brother named Archie, who was fatally stabbed in 1985.

Somizi Mhlongo and his mother Mary Twala
Somizi Mhlongo and his mother, the late Mary Twala.


Film and television:

Somizi’s acting career began when he was 13 years old, appearing on the film Scavengers in 1987. In 1992, he then joined the musical and political film, Sarafina! in which he played a character with the same name as his, but was nicknamed “Whacko”.

Somizi Mhlongo in Sarafina
Somizi Mhlongo starring in the 1992 musical and political film, Sarafina!

The following year in 1993, he appeared in the film Kein Himmel über Afrika and in 1995 he appeared in another film, the Beloved Country.

He was featured on the television series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures in 1996. He was also a lead judge on the former SABC 1 competition show Dance Your Butt Off alongside actress and dancer Khabonina Qubeka.

In 2016, Mhlongo premiered his reality show Living the Dream with Somizi which aired on Mzansi Magic.

Somizi’s other TV credits include City Ses’la, Ayeye and 10 Over 10.

He has hosted various award shows notably being the South African Music Awards which he co-hosted for 3 consecutive years: 2016, 2017 and 2018.

On 26 April 2018, Somizi was the featured roastee in Comedy Central’s annual roast special.


Somizi’s debut choreography work was on the musical film Sarafina! and since then, he has choreographed many prominent events including the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

He has also choreographed various award shows and events including Miss South Africa, Metro FM Music Awards, South African Music Awards and the Channel O Music Video Awards. Mhlongo He also danced, and was a choreographer for the gospel choir Joyous Celebration.

In 2017, Somizi released the dance workout DVD Grind! With Somizi, which was available at Verimark. The workout choreography had many elements of South African dance moves. Somizi also did several YouTube workout videos under the name Kwaitone Dance Fitness with Somizi.


Starting on 3 April 2017, Somizi was one of the co-hosts of Metro FM breakfast show ‘The Fresh Breakfast Show’ alongside the lead host DJ Fresh and soccer presenter Mpho Letsholonyane. On 30 March 2019, it was announced that he would be replaced by Relebogile Mabotja as the station reshuffled. He was then moved to co-host TheBridge – the show after the set and airing of The Fresh Breakfast Show time slot.


Somizi was named the ambassador for the satellite service DStv in 2017 for his notability on Idols SA. Later that year, he endorsed the Department of Water and Sanitation. Mhlongo also endorsed McDonald’s South Africa in being the face of McCafé Coach Sessions.


On 29 June 2017, Somizi released his autobiographical book named Dominoes, Unbreakable Spirit. He co-wrote the book with journalist and author Lesley Mofokeng. The book shares Somizi’s life in showbiz, childhood, entertainment business, parents’ roles, sexuality and friendship.

On 26 November 2020, Somizi released his cookbook titled ‘Dinner At Somizi’s – I Am Not A Chef’. The book was inspired by his family’s cooking and celebrates food that is proudly South Africa. The book immediately proved to be a hit with South Africans as it became the highest-selling cookbook in the country only two months after its release.

Somizi Mhlongo's cookbook titled 'Dinner At Somizi's – I Am Not A Chef'
Somizi Mhlongo’s cookbook titled ‘Dinner At Somizi’s – I Am Not A Chef’ was released in November 2020.


Mhlongo incorporated in Kwaito and gospel for his song releases in the 2000s, which didn’t perform well commercially.

In 2017, he released his house-focused and gqom-influenced revival song “Ngibonile” featuring DJ and record producer Heavy K.

On Thursday 3 December 2020, Somizi and his friend Vusi Nova released a song titled ‘Ntandane’. The song is a tribute to Somizi’s late mother Mary Twala and Vusi Nova’s mother, Ndileka. This song is a cover of a 1990 Busi Mhlongo and Twasa original.

Personal Life

In the early 1990s, Somizi dated actress Palesa Madisakwane while in a relationship with an unnamed man. This resulted in him coming out as bisexual.

On 19 February 1995, Somizi and Palesa welcomed their only child together, Bahumi Madisakwane. Somizi later described himself as gay, and the relationship with Palesa came to an end. The young parents however decided to remain as friends and co-parents to their daughter who they have raised very well.

Somizi Mhlongo and daughter Bahumi Madisakwane
Somizi Mhlongo and his daughter Bahumi Madisakwane on her 21st birthday.

In 2017, rumors surfaced that Somizi was dating South African model and entrepreneur Mohale Tebogo Motaung. The pair later confirmed these rumors in 2018.

Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Tebogo Motaung traditional wedding
Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Tebogo Motaung during their Traditional Wedding ceremony.

Somizi proposed to Motaung while on their vacation in Paris, France. The couple were married in a traditional wedding on 28 September 2019, and they had a white wedding on 30 January 2020.

Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Tebogo Motaung white wedding
Somizi Mhlongo and Mohale Tebogo Motaung exchanging vows on their White Wedding day.

However in November 2020, rumours started surfacing that Somizi and Mohale had separated (not yet divorced) amid cheating allegations. It was further rumoured that Mohale had moved out of the couple’s home located in Johannesburg’s plush suburb of Dainfern.

Mohale went ahead and removed Somizi’s surname on his social media account, he also last posted a picture of himself and Somizi on September 28, 2020. The post was in celebration of their one year traditional wedding anniversary.

Somizi, who was known for posting pictures of himself and Mohale did not post anything since 26 November 2020 at the the launch of his cookbook ‘Dinner At Somizi’s – I Am Not A Chef’. He only posted images of himself out with friends.

As of March 2021, both Somizi and Mohale have not yet confirmed their separation.

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