Thanks to official BBA forumist, Maxine, for this article.
Check out True Love’s Official website for more on their January issue.
LERATO’S INTERVIEW: TRUE LOVE MAGAZINE: JANUARY ISSUE
Melinda: After you left the confines of the Big Brother Africa House, how did you find life outside?
Lerato: Refreshing to the least. It was suddenly really nice to be in control of my surroundings, being allowed to do whatever I wanted to! I have basked in that freedom, enjoyed driving again, even traffic!
Melinda: Did you watch the show once you were evicted?
Lerato: Yes, I did but I really didn’t feel entertained. I’m not saying they should have suddenly started doing crazy stuff, but everyone was just sleeping all the time, or making out. Ofunneka was just cooking. It just got tedious and I stopped watching.
Melinda: What was it like being locked up for weeks with a bunch of strangers?
Lerato: Well you learn a lot about yourself. You learn your limits and how far you can be pushed before breaking I learned that I was good at standing my ground. I think I was overwhelming to a lot of people and that my personality was strong and I was a big threat. If it was all about staying in the house and winning the money, I could have become a shrinking violet and sat there quietly, not antagonizing anyone, but that’s not me.
Melinda: Did you have a strategy?
Lerato: To have fun! My thing was I wanted to win Big brother, being myself. When you get there you can only be fake for so long before your true colours start showing. I didn’t want to be a false individual like some of the other housemates.
Melinda: Who in particular pressed your buttons?
Lerato: Oh My God, It had to be Maureen, ‘spatula’ and Code. Code because of his guitar he must thank his lucky stars I got evicted because I was going to cut the strings of the damn guitar! He was going to wake up one morning and he wouldn’t know who had done it. He was a woman! He gossiped so much you couldn’t trust him at all. Maureen brought nothing to the party. She wasn’t interesting, fun or exciting. I never had a real conversation with her.
Melinda: Two of the housemates, Richard and Tatiana – a married man and an ‘engaged’ Angolan girl had a very racy affair in the house. What were your feelings regarding this relationship.
Lerato: It really pissed me off. If you recall the first time I fought with Richard, he said: ‘I m married! Here s my ring…… I will never cheat, I love my wife’ he went on and on. Then suddenly he does his 360. He slept with Tati, he showered with Tati, washed her front, back, everywhere….. That’s why I said to Richard. You came in here and spoke bull! every time he had a problem with Tati he ran off and kissed his wife’s picture or kissed his ring. He was pathetic. But at the end of the day, I’m glad he won Big Brother Africa at least he was entertaining!
Melinda: Was he upset with you?
Lerato: Of course he got upset but no one in that house ever had the balls to tell him anything. What he was doing actually sucked.
Melinda: Were you offended by his hypocrisy or was it because he was being immoral and betraying his wife?
Lerato: For me it was a combination of both. The acts they did in the house in front of everybody were plain disgusting. They would gyrate on top of the kitchen counter near our utensils and they thought this was fun and exciting, I was like you guys are disgusting there is a bed, go there.
Melinda: You’ve been so vocal about what Richard and Tatiana did, but what about you and Max, the Zambian Housemate? Before Max went into the house he was involved for four years with a woman called Suli. She was furious about what had happened between you two, in an interview she said: I don’t want anything to do with Max again because his relationship with Lerato has spoiled everything between us…. ‘What do you have to say?
Lerato: Richard is Married and Max was not married.
Melinda: But Suli was Max’s fiancée?
Lerato: I didn’t know that. Max says she was not his fiancée. I need to clarify that… of course. I feel bad for her. Its unfortunate that this happened but that was a decision Max made and I didn’t push him to make this choice. My intention was never to be a home wrecker.
Melinda: Are you and Max seeing each other?
Lerato: Yes we are. Love in the Big Brother house! He’s been staying with me and we’ve just come back from visiting his home in Zambia. It was amazing everyone knew who I was. They even have a Lerato hairstyle in Salons!
Melinda: You drank a lot in the house. Tell me about that.
Lerato: It came across like that because the other girls didn’t really drink with the guys. I was one of the people who drank as much as the guys. The girls just couldn’t handle their liquor.
Melinda: Do you not perhaps feel that in the light of our country and its huge problems with alcohol abuse, the message you are giving out is a bit dicey?
Lerato: When I drink I’m not saying now all go out and get drunk. In that contained environment. I drank more than what I drink to loosen up but I normally don’t condone people drinking, getting wasted and doing irresponsible things. I don’t drink and drive. I support responsible drinking.
Melinda: But what about that night in the house where you drank a lot and allegedly wet your bed?
Lerato: That was such rubbish! The air conditioner was either to high or too low in the house and that night I just sweated so much, when I woke up my bed was totally wet. That whole thing really irritated me.
Melinda: Were you hurt by what was said about you regarding the gossiping, bullying and drinking too much?
Lerato: Although they were harsh, everyone is entitled to their opinion. But have I been hurt? I was more annoyed and irritated by what people had to say. I had also had a huge amount of positive things said about me and I am swimming in that.
Melinda: In the end it seemed like a lot of people didn’t like you. I think you only had South Africa and two other countries voting for you to stay and the rest wanted you evicted.
Lerato: People in the house just didn’t have the balls to come out, confront me and be honest about anything and so it looked like I was just being this negative gossiping person. After Max left, it became more difficult. I didn’t just want to kiss the others’ butts and maybe I got evicted for that. I think I represent a new breed of South African woman. I’m not going to be the shrinking Violet in the corner. I think its okay for me to be the Venus flytrap and just go out there and get what I want and have a big mouth.
Melinda: Did you ever have that sense that your mother was watching you?
Lerato: Once in a while, but if you keep thinking about what’s going on outside it can only do your head in.
Melinda: Do you think its important being a role model?
Lerato: Yes I do. I’ve had people coming to me telling me how I have inspired them with my confidence and self belief.
Melinda: You were very attached to your Winnie Mandela biography in the house. What was that all about?
Lerato: I think Winnie is one of the most amazing strongwilled, powerful women who have ever lived. There were times that I felt mad in the Big brother house and reading the book was very inspiring. I learnt every woman can do the unimaginable and nothing is impossible. For her to go through, not just for herself and her family but also for millions of people was incredible. I would love to be able to find that in myself. I was inspired by her strength.
Melinda: What are you future plans?
Lerato: To travel I would love to present a music show where I travel the world, meet artist and go to cool places. Being on Big Brother has opened a lot of doors. And of course, I would love to do relief work with Max, help people and do work for the UN. Who knows? Everything is very exciting.