What comes to mind when you hear the name Mohale Motaung? Well, I didn’t think much of him until I saw the Showmax special Mohale: On record, and my opinion of him completely changed. Mohale Motaung, an actor, radio host, and model, speaks with iStyleBlaq.
You’ve made a name for yourself as an actor, radio host, brand influencer, and model, but who is Mohale Motaung?
I am an entrepreneur as well as someone who is very committed to children and young people. I am a go-getter and simply someone who does what he wants. I’m someone who lives a colourful life, is confident and enjoys being around people who are hardworking, positive, and want the best for themselves and others.
You stated that you are an entrepreneur and that you are now a director in five companies. I’m just curious what piqued your interest in entrepreneurship and how things are going for you.
I’ve always enjoyed coming up with ideas, exploring different things that interest me, and attempting to turn that into an income. I’ve been working since I was 18 and have worked in a variety of industries and sectors. Because I couldn’t do what I wanted as a result of working for someone else, I became interested in entrepreneurship.
Do you face the challenge of not being taken seriously in business as a public figure?
This happens quite frequently because when people think of public figures, they think of people who want to be famous, not people who take business seriously and even sit in boardrooms with people who don’t think they can articulate themselves in business terms.
You studied Marketing and Economics at IMM Graduate School; which lessons have proven to be the most valuable that you are now applying, especially as an entrepreneur?
When you study marketing or economics in school, you learn a lot, but you also learn how to run a business and make decisions that aren’t just profitable. Some people believe that business is all about making money and profit, but they overlook the importance of developing a sustainable brand and one that appeals to multiple markets. When doing business, you can focus on making money because that is what we all want, but you should also focus on building a brand that is sustainable, one that people can identify with, and one that gives back.
Let’s talk about personal branding while we’re on the subject of branding. I bring this up because you were labelled as that person, and I don’t know much about you, and I never liked Mohale until I saw the Showmax special. What are your thoughts on personal branding?
You can build a personal brand in any way you want and decide what you want it to be, but people will make of it what they want because people will see your personal brand and form their own opinions and make their own decisions. People knew me because I was married to Somizi Mhlongo, and they had their own opinions about my marriage and relationship, as well as the kind of man I was.
People made their own assumptions about the brand I built, even though I had an idea of what I wanted the brand to be like, and I believe this is because I’ve never been someone who was open about who I am and what I do. I didn’t mind.
When it came to the Showmax special, all I wanted was for it to be genuine, to speak about who I am, and to let people decide what they wanted to take away from it. It’s critical to create a personal brand that relates to longevity and that people can relate to because I can’t avoid being a public figure and having people who support me literally watching every day to see what I’m doing, who I’m with, and if I want to maintain that branding, and also in relation to the work I want to do, it’s critical that the brand looks good and does good, and that is my goal.
How do you feel about the perception people have of you?
We can’t deny that I was married to someone with more financial muscle and a stronger personality than I do, and in this case, it kind of tarnished the person I am, because people have always looked at the shining star, and that’s what they cling to when they think of me and look at me. I wouldn’t say I’m angry or hurt because I was married to Somizi Mhlongo, which is significant in and of itself, and because people didn’t know about me or where I came from, they had to think of me and Somizi every time they thought of me. That led people to believe I was married for money or wanted to be famous and that was not the case.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a skincare line that will be released soon, so I decided to go into the beauty industry because I’ve always been interested in grooming and how my skin and beard look. I’ve interacted with a variety of brands, even when they approached me because that’s the niche market they assigned to me. I’m always looking for ways to look good and make others look good. I am also working with a local sneaker brand that has already launched but will open its first store in Melville in December, so I’m a part of that.
Finally, how would you like to be remembered?
Mohale: I want to be remembered as someone who lived life to the fullest and was not afraid to make difficult decisions, or as someone who walked the path that most people do not want to walk. There are some decisions I’ve made and things I’ve done that people look back on as if they never happened. I simply believe in living my life in the best way possible, and anything that contradicts that has to go. I also want to be remembered as someone who believed that if you put your mind and heart into it, anything is possible.
Images from Mohale’s IG.