Zodwa Wabantu is the controversial 32-year old mother, socialite, dancer and MC who has taken over 2017. She became recognisable as the woman with amazing dance moves and a Savanna in her hand, and now gets paid big fees for club appearances. But who is Zodwa Wabantu really?

“People always told me I would be nothing. I know what I am here for. I knew I had ‘something’ but I didn’t think it would be this big,”  Zodwa revealed in a TshisaLive interview. “My mom passed away when I was 11. That is the reason I left home when I was 16. Life was changing and it wasn’t easy. I had to fight for food and I could see then that that isn’t the way life should be… so I had no choice but to move. I knew I needed to hustle.”

She worked her way up as a dancer and entertainer, and now Zodwa is ultimate hustle goals. She owns her sexuality without shame, in a country that continues to stigmatise women who have transactional sexual relationships, be it sex workers or sugar babies. Here are 10 times Zodwa Wabantu didn’t care about respectability standards:

1. When she spoke the truth about the realities of transactional sex

2. When she wore this to the Durban July

She was the Durban July. She had zero proverbial f’s to give and owned the gaze of everyone, with a complete disdain for the norms, radiating body confidence. Wearing a slit that bared *all* the leg, including her cellulite, Zodwa has spoken about this being deliberate “because I’m comfortable in my own skin, because there’s no fake in me.”

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3. When Robert Mugabe trash-talked her

You know you’re winning when the notorious statesman Mugabe shades you.

Mugabe cancelled her performance in Zimbabwe, saying she did not conform to ‘local morals’. According to The Citizen, the Zimbabwean president said the following:  “We don’t want an intransigent or stubborn nobody coming nakedly coming to cause problems… No, I’m sorry. We disappointed many men who are complaining. I heard that they wanted her to come…”

So now I must vote & be a CitizenPower to Zodwa Wabantu. Zodwa for the people,I love you Zimbabwe,Africa.❤❤❤

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4. The Nudist Challenge

She invited us all to a nudist challenge in an act of unapologetic body positivity.

Zodwa Wabantu challenge#Body#Crazy#Nudist#bazothini abantu

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5. When she achieved her stripper goals

Zodwa performed at The Summit strip club in Hillbrow, and made no attempt to hide how proud she was of her achievement in this regard:

Summit 19:00 come thru im already here. Which one is my Ass here khomba❤

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6. When she Instagrammed her paper

She’s a boss. She gets that money, an she couldn’t be bothered about what you think of her.

O Panico tonight Zodwa Wabantu❤

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7. This time she skinny-dipped on camera

This skinny-dipping video shows how she is free af, living her best life and not trying to cater to anyone’s gaze:

Freedom is knowing kuyafana #Do you #Dont suffer from bazothini abantu .Naked pool. Naked truth. Zodwa Wabantu❤

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8. This assertion of where she comes from: 

“Even when I’m wearing a beautiful dress & make-up, I am from the streets. Ghetto Blood.”

9. When her name became interchangeable with “spicy” 

On the Nandos menu, her name became synonomous with spicy, which is pretty glorious.

Hhayi ngiyavuma I made it❤ Order your Wings Wabantu @nandos_sa_ @nandosusa

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10. When she refused to be in a photo because it was bad for her brand

At the Feather Awards nomination party, Zodwa refused to take a picture with Skolopad because it “was not good for her brand”. The performer has no time for games or being polite. She’s pursuing a ruthless hustle and had the following to say about this exchange: “Skolopad forgets that we are ageing and when the opportunity lands on your lap you grab it with both hands. I’m not here to play games but to make money.”

Festive season Voshoooo till January. Ngibatshele😂😂😂batshele Ngisdakwa 😂😂😂😂😂😂👑❤

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From being told she’d amount to nothing because of where she came from, Zodwa’s hustle has made her a high-end entertainer and a celebrity in her own right. And yet, because of stigma and a society that polices women’s sexuality according to strict standards of respectability, she’s still often viewed with skepticism.”Even now that I’m famous, I know that I’m an outsider,” she says. But being Zodwa, she doesn’t seem to care – she’s just here for the money. “Nobody knows me anyway.”

Clearly, Zodwa isn’t buying anybody’s BS, inside the entertainment industry or outside of it. As she says, “My life. My rules. Life is so simple we complicate it”.

My Life. My Rules. Life is so simple we complicate it ❤.

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