Giyani's V-Mash on her growth: “I’ve become a churchgoing woman – I don’t do any funny things now”
Vinolia Mashego. (PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/GALLO IMAGES).
She's gone through many phases in her life.
There was the bubbly presenter on Jam Alley. Then co-host on Mzansi Magic’s Pls
Call Me. Now she’s getting fans excited as Kwinana in Giyani: Land of Blood.
Kwinana is a dejected divorcée who leaves
her rich husband after he tells her he intends to marry their maid. In between
all her life’s phases, Vinolia “V-Mash” Mashego’s had to overcome obstacle
She’s survived many years of unemployment, rumours
of poverty and being tabloid fodder. But through it all, her bubbly personality
has remained intact.
MAKING A COMEBACK
She’s hard to miss as she walks into our
studios in Auckland Park. While it’s been decades since she burst onto the
entertainment scene, she’s unforgettable. Who can forget when she was fired
from Jam Alley for allegedly being arrested for parading naked in a block of
flats in Pretoria?
Read more: Naked
Jam Alley presenter lands in jail
She was unemployed for more than 13 years
after that. “I’m better now. I’ve been working and have my own house,” Vinolia
tells us. She’s joined SABC2 drama series, Giyani: Land of Blood and is
enjoying Kwinana. Initially, she auditioned for the role of Gladys, played by Yvonne
“I think we were 30 people who auditioned
for that role. But Yvonne’s the best. She’s a legend and married to someone who
is Tsonga. She’s good for the role.” She feels suited to her role as Kwinana,
Vinolia tells us. “I like Kwinana because she’s a mother and has a humble
Playing Kwinana has opened her eyes. “Kwinana’s
husband chased her out and she left with her just clothes. I’ve been there – my
ex-fiancé also abused me.” Although she doesn’t reveal details of the abuse or
the name of her ex, she shares that she slipped into depression and was
hospitalized after the relationship ended. “While I was at the rehab centre for
depression, I realised we have something in common. We’re all emotionally
V-MASH, THE MOTHER
Her son, Oratile (20), is with her at the Move!
offices. He’s the opposite of her – reserved. They love sharing bible verses and
prayers. “I love my mother. She’s more like a friend to me,” says the
introverted Oratile. He’s ok with her fame, he says, except when negative
stories are published about her. It breaks him, he shares.
In 2015 there were reports that Vinolia
lived in a RDP house and that neighbours had accused her of stealing food,
money and cigarettes from children in the community. Vinolia tells us she’s
grown a thick skin, but Oratile is still hurt by it. “I’m really affected by
them, especially the reports that my mom was homeless and stealing from
people,” he says.
Vinolia’s 3pm prayer reminder rings as we’re
talking. They lean on the Lord for strength, she says. “I’m a church-going
woman. I don’t do funny things now. I know my saviour and He’s got my back.”
broke and living in poverty
While she’s accepted the world doesn’t owe
her anything, Oratile isn’t willing to let it go. “She contributed a lot to
this country but people are focused on other things now and forgetting her,” he
says. Oratile hopes to follow in her footsteps. He wants to be a musician.
“I want to move into music – and do it for my
mom. Those who’ve closed doors on her will remember who Vinolia is because I’m
coming,” he vows. Vinolia, who co-hosted Pls Call Me with Zanele “Nestum”
Nyakale and Pule Welch, calls Oratile a miracle baby. She had him after
multiple miscarriages. She says she’d lost hope of becoming a mother.
“I remember I hid my big belly when I was
on Jam Alley because it was a show for children.” After he was born, her
parents raised him. “My mom was in the ward when I had him and since that day,
he’s been her child. She spoils him.”
She understands him and supports his dreams,
Oratile says. “I know I can talk to her about anything. She tries to be on my
level and understand where I come from.” However, she’s a very strict mother,
she tells us. “I fight with him and I can go for weeks not talking to him until
he apologizes. I’ll buy him data to apologize if I was in the wrong but he
knows there’s a line he shouldn’t cross,” Vinolia says with a straight face.
For years, Oratile didn’t know that his mother
was famous. “I remember he hated going out with me. He’d complain that people
were all over me when we went out.” He was 12 when he found out she was a
public figure. She says she hid it to protect him. “I wanted him to know that
one has to work hard to succeed.”
FOLLOWING A LEGACY
Vinolia says he started singing and dancing
to the late Brenda Fassie’s songs when he was three. “He’d sing in the bathroom
and I’d shout at him to stop making a noise,” Vinolia recalls, laughing. But
she knew that he had a gift and she had to support him.
“I remember he was in primary school when he
asked me to write a letter to pastors. He wanted them (pastors) to send it to
God to bring Brenda Fassie (back) because life’s boring without her.” This
year, Oratile entered the popular talent show, Idols SA, but had to drop out as
his grandfather, Collins Mashego, disapproved. He’s currently upgrading his
matric subjects to allow him to study music.
“My grandfather didn’t think I was ready
for it. I’ve gone through the rounds but just before the TV selection, he told
me to focus on my studies.” While she supports her son, she too believes he has
to focus on his studies. “I want him to be accountable. He needs to focus on
his studies and he will go study music next year.”