FORMER Big Brother UK contestant and television personality Makosi Musambasi has been a recipient of good and bad publicity, but she has stood tall.
She was the first Zimbaweean to participate in any Big Brother reality show, paving way for the likes of Rockford Josphats, Pokelo Nare, Tariro ‘Butterphly’ Mharapara, Maneta Mazanhi and Hakeem Mandaza.
She once grabbed headlines for perceived wrong reasons but dramatically rewrote her history and underwent a massive behavioural metamorphosis that saw her turn to philanthropist.
In 2014, she flew to Harare, all the way from Lagos, Nigeria in the midst of a crisis where more than 3,000 people were relocated to Chingwizi holding camp after flooding caused by heavy rains hit Tokwe-Mukosi area.
Makosi mobilised peer educators and social workers and drove to Chingwizi where she donated sanitary pads to women through her Sister’s Keepers Foundation.
In the same year, Makosi went to her birthplace Edith Opperman Clinic in Mbare.
She donated blankets to the maternity ward.
In 2017, Makosi was diagnosed with breast cancer and naysayers thought the world would crumble on her.
Instead she turned lemons into lemonade!
“I noticed that I had a lump in my breast in August 2016 and everything happened so fast from finding a lump and being shocked by how it got there up to the last day of radiation. I only got diagnosed in February 2017 and I was just numb. I was not ready. I was still getting over the fact that the lump was there in the first place. Ironically my doctor called to say it was cancer after my midweek church service and my reaction was God. I had to have more surgery and after my second meeting with the oncologist that’s when what was happening kicked in. I remember coming out of the doctor’s office, falling on my knees just outside Macdonald’s restaurant in Sandton,” Makosi told Zim Morning Post Lifestyle.
Makosi underwent chemotherapy and still has to go for routine blood tests after every three months.
She opened up on her journey as a cancer survivor and philanthropist.
Makosi said the hardest part was breaking the news to her family.
“My thoughts were how I would tell my parents that I might be dying. My dying was not as big a deal to me but no parent should ever bury their child. How to tell them was a challenge. During that time you have no time to think about yourself or what adventures you have not had, I kept wondering how I would tell them. You think of your loved ones and you pray they will be okay without you,” she continued.
“I did not tell them what was happening at first but my mom stalks me on social so she saw my surgery post. She called asking me what was going on and I told her that everything was under control because I had not really given them the full story because I did not want them to know how bad it was,” retraced Makosi.
Makosi could not bear the fact of further burdening her family with her own fears, and she had to walk the road alone and put up a facade and act like it was not so much of a big deal.
“I kept telling my family that having breast cancer was not much of a big deal, I did not discuss my fears nor did I go into doctor’s appointments with them and I am glad everything worked out, imagine if it had not. You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have,” Makosi said.
Chemotherapy was the worst. I honestly thought that it was the death of me, but my parents moved in with me at that time and it made life easier for me.
“My mom held my hand through every session, and my hair falling out was not even the worst thing about the process. During the time I had my chemotherapy I kept to myself, mostly in my room alone and to be honest my parents must have been scared by how I looked but as a family we never discussed death, I could not allow it,” she said.
The defiant Makosi still lived her life to the fullest whenever she could regardless of everything that was going on. Besides her having a bald head, she still defiantly wore her makeup rocking and owning the look.
She turned lemons into lemonade so to speak!
“Even with my bald head I still wore my makeup and rocked it. Up to this day, the fact that cancer dared me still sits at the back of my mind. I eat very carefully now and I will only get in the clear after four years so in the meantime I have blood tests every three months and I live to fight another day,” explained Makosi.
Although Makosi is not yet in the clear of her status, she has long taken control over her life and has been nvited to major events world over.
In 2018, she graced the Runway Dubai which she says was an exciting phase of her life.
“I feel like I have been given a second chance to live my life so I try to really live a full life. If my attitude towards life changed, it has changed for the best. Then there came that thrilling experience, Runway Dubai was so much fun. What a privilege! So I had just landed in Dubai from Johannesburg, doctor’s appointment. My good friend, Laurie Idahosa called me saying she was coming to Dubai for a week and because I was so tired nothing more was discussed that day,” Makosi said.
“When I called her back, she said she was doing Runway Dubai and wondered if I would like to do it for her friend Nkechi. I was like what! Walking on the ramp after 20 good years. I was Miss Mash East in 1998 and went on to contest for Miss Zimbabwe so this was exactly 20 years later, how time flies. But Runway Dubai was the best experience of my life,” she noted.
In an interview with Khaleej Times, the founder of Runway Dubai Modupe Omonze said Makosi wanted to send a message of positivity.
“(We have decided) to include diversity and inclusion on the fashion platform to help connect with guests more on a personal level. Encouraging support and togetherness is what people want to identify with. Natalie Oden and Makosi exactly wanted to prove and send the message of positivity and face life with boldness,” said Omonze.
Meanwhile, Makosi is in the process of identifying schools were she can donate sanitary wear as part of her philanthropic work under her Sisters Keepers Foundation banner.
She is also mobilizing sanitisers and face masks to donate to the rural areas.
The foundation has over the years assisted underprivileged and women.
She is currently based in Lagos.