I have never laughed so much while doing an interview! Moshe Ndiki is truly a comedian. In-between the interview, I had to interject because of time since the jokes kept coming. I asked Phelo Bala if he is always laughing but he thinks Moshe is not as funny as people think he is. Of course, that became one of the issues we discussed.
Today, we are wrapping up our AoS young couples series. It is also the last Friday of Pride month, and we are closing it off with another queer couple. This however doesn’t mean that the queer agenda is over, we still have more content that is queer accommodating coming your way.
Moshe Ndiki is an award-winning TV and radio presenter, actor, and businessman. He is married to Phelo Bala the youngest of the Bala brothers, and he has pursued a solo singing career. Phelo is also on a journey towards becoming a Sangoma.
Here’s how our conversation went…
Q. I want you guys to take me back to the very first time you had to come out to someone, and how that experience was.
Phelo: The most important time I had to come out was when I was 19 years old. It was to a cousin that I confided in. It wasn’t easy at all. Even if they can see it some people think that maybe it is a phase or maybe he doesn’t have interest in girls yet. But it took time for me to actually talk about it with confidence. It doesn’t feel weird anymore.
Moshe: From my side, the first person I told was my younger brother. I think I was still in high school. We were chilling somewhere drinking, and then oops! Liquor courage I guess, I was like ‘’yeah mtase, I think I’m gay.’’ He was 14 at the time, and he said first of all, it’s my life and I’m his brother, which will never change. Oh, he was not drinking!
Q. Phelo, what was your family’s first reaction?
Phelo: It was hard for them to accept, and they wouldn’t say it to my face. I’d just hear it from some family members. I was also the first to come out in my family, come to think of it, I am the first to do so many things, so they probably think I am a drama king or something (both laugh).
Q. Did you ever struggle with making peace with being a Christian and accepting your homosexuality?
Phelo: Oh man, I struggled with a lot just not my sexuality but religion itself. It is spiritual and that kind of made it a bit easier to deal with. However, Christianity as a religion can be very judgmental. I am a person who just ‘’delela (disrespectful)’’ I just don’t care, and it has worked in my favour sometimes. I just really ended up accepting myself and not crucify myself because I didn’t fit in or I was scared of how the Christian community would take it.
Q. Recently, queer people have been receiving hateful comments on social media, frequently on twitter. Are we living in a time where we need to educate or cut off/’cancel’ people when they share hateful comments?
Moshe: There are two sides to this coin. I am a believer in educating people but there are just some things where I’m just like, come on! It’s 2021. If you’re lacking knowledge, there is Google, YouTube, there are books and podcasts! Why must it be up to us? I’m not a teacher with a BEd degree! I am not going to teach people what it means to be gay, cause now they’ll start asking ‘how do you guys have sex?’ secondly, it’s weird how you must teach people how to treat you. People already don’t know how to treat each other well, even as straight people, so what is the point of education?
Q. Moshe you said it was on and off throughout your dating period. How did you resolve your ‘off’ periods?
Moshe: Nanku! (here he is) (looks at Phelo) Ask him.
Phelo: He asked you.
Moshe: haibo! I gave him my answer… No, but it was matter of ‘are we doing this or not?’ instead of giving each other the runaround. I love things in black and white. There must be clarity. We just kept trying.
Q. Phelo, how did you know Moshe is the one that you want to spend the rest of your life with?
Phelo: It was the timing. He makes me happy by just being with him. It’s a different feeling than being with anybody else.
Q. You are now officially married. What would you say marriage has taught you so far?
Moshe: So many things. I don’t think it’s about marriage but the relationship. There are lessons we learn about each other every day. More than anything, it has taught me patience.
Q. Phelo, the transition from Gospel to Afro-Pop, and then the Sangoma training process – How have all these affected you as a person and spiritually?
Phelo: Yoh! Guys I won’t even lie. It just gets more interesting. It is overwhelming sometimes because you don’t know which one is more important. They are all intertwined somehow. It has however been difficult but the more you get used to it, especially the spiritual journey, I mean I started my Sangoma training in 2014, and I haven’t even finished. I think there’s always so much you will learn from life, in relationships, marriage, there’s always something new to learn.
Q. Is there going to be more music coming?
Phelo: Yes, there is…
Moshe: And it is really some amazing music, it’s so great! Oh my word!
Q. Moshe, your career started with an upload of a video while you were drunk, and so many doors began opening after that. Looking back from where you are now, with all that you have achieved, are you proud?
Moshe: I was tipsy okay! (jokingly) But yeah man, whenever I get this question, I always tell them that I actually studied to be in this industry. I have got a degree in performance Arts and this was before the videos. I always knew I wanted to be a presenter. What I have done so far, is small compared to where I want to go.
Q. There’s a thin line between having multiple streams of income as a brand and overexposing yourself. What’s the process that takes place before you partner with some brands/organizations?
Moshe: With some brands, it’s a ‘’is this something I would use?’’ for example, I wouldn’t want to promote a *mentions luxury brand* handbag because my target audience wouldn’t afford it. But sometimes if I want a holiday, I’ll just page to the remuneration page and sign away!
Q. You have launched spices on your Moshe’s Kitchen business, congratulations! How is that going?
Moshe: It’s not going as fast as I would have loved, but also that’s how business is. The first five years are tough. I am super proud of it, my spices are nice shem! I love the feedback I get from people.
Q. What is on your vision board right now as a couple?
Moshe: For us to get a bigger house. We’re always on *mentions property website* and we look at houses that cost R20 million and we just say, ‘’oh not too bad.’’ We need a bigger space because our family is growing, we’ll have kids soon.
Phelo: A lot. Music wise, definitely. Being an independent artist right now is extremely difficult. I do want to study in the future, and I want to start a couple of businesses that Moshe doesn’t believe in (jokingly).
Q. Many LGBTQIA+ people are being killed. As people whose opinions reach thousands of people. What do you have to say about this?
Moshe: There is something wrong. We have got a big problem. We are going through so much already just as people, there’s COVID 19 and someone still gets bothered by another person’s sexuality. It so disheartening because you don’t even know if you’ll come back home alive. We’re scared, but we’re not going to be scared for life.
Phelo: It’s so shocking that it’s still happening now. What’s also weird is the way they kill. I’m not saying there’s a better way to kill but just the way they are killing them…
Moshe: Yeah, like how do you stab someone in the in the eye? How do you burn someone? It is so well thought out and so cruel. That’s why I say there are two sides to this educating thing, like who taught them how to be murderers? It’s so inhumane.
Phelo: And thing is, the victims are always alone when these things happen. I think now we just need to put our safety first. We shouldn’t go out alone, or at least let someone know where you’re going because you just don’t know what will happen to you.
Moshe: The best solution is for men to stop killing us.
Unfortunately, our conversation ended on a sad note. There is no way of avoiding this issue, we cannot be tone-deaf and celebrate while knowing at the back of our minds that anything can happen to anyone who’s queer. If you think this is being shoved down your throat, yes. It is intentionally being done.
This ends off our Youth month couples series, and I hope you enjoyed all the four couples we decided to celebrate this youth month!