EYEBAGS & DIMPLES
BONNIE HENNA SHARES HER LIFE STORY
By: Nasiphi Mvunyiswa
World renowned South African actress Bonnie Henna has captivated audiences with her memoir titled Eyebags & Dimples. The autobiography came out in 2012 and has been a source of debate ever since it’s launch.
Henna is well known for appearing in movies such as Drum, Catch a fire and Invictus, just to name a few. She has also been in local and international television series. It would not be far off to say that she is one of the most talented actresses in this country.
The autobiography reveals who Henna is and not just the woman we see on the big screens and on the red carpet. She allows the reader to take a journey with her, right from her childhood in Soweto, to being a wife and a mother of two. Eyebags & Dimples reveals some shocking and sad events in Henna’s life, and is sure to evoke a variety of emotions within the reader. South African poet Lebo Mashile has said the book is an inspiration to women everywhere.
“Eyebags & Dimples is a portrait of a woman healing by owning every part of who she is,” said Mashile.
The memoir starts off by introducing us to Bonnie’s childhood in Soweto. She reveals the most disturbing events of her upbringing. She had to deal with being the socially awkward child and also suffered physical and verbal abuse from her mother. She writes about the time she got sexually molested by one of the girls she used to play with, and how her mother always wanted to kill herself.
“I was five when my mother became suicidal. From then on the mood in our house was always sombre, the ambience gloomy and void of all hope.”
The most touching element in this autobiography is Bonnie’s relationship with her mother. She mentions how she always wanted to please her mother and make her proud. But instead her mother would reject her. “I just wanted her to love me, to see me, to be glad I existed. I craved her affection and her approval, but I had to content myself with beatings.” Henna said that her mother would call her the harshest names; she got extreme beatings every day, even when she didn’t do anything to antagonise her mother. She felt her mother didn’t love her and that she was a burden in her mother’s life.
“Her words were always hard, critical and uncaring, abrasive to my soul. I was convinced she hated me. The mere sight of me irritated and disgusted her, and she’d often say so.”
There didn’t seem to be much happiness in Bonnie’s childhood. Her life does however start to get better when at the age of 13, she is discovered by an agent while waiting for the bus to go to school one afternoon. From that point on Bonnie’s life changes and her life as a child star begins. At that point of her life, Henna writes about the different relationships she had, including a five year relationship with presenter Vusi Twala which most South Africans never knew about. She describes how her life changed once she became famous and eventually moved out of her mother’s house at the age of 18.
At that stage in her life, Bonnie was known as the “bad girl” by the media. There were always stories being published about her being a prima donna on set. In the book she defends herself and tries to set the record straight about that time in her life. She writes that the media always got it wrong, or blew the situation out of proportion.
As Henna starts making her mark in the industry as an actress, she gets cast alongside American actor Taye Diggs in a movie titled Drum. Around that time she meets her current husband Sisanda Henna. She and her husband move to America where she tries to pursue a career in Hollywood which, turns out to be an unsuccessful venture. One thing Bonnie does a lot in the book which some might find unnecessary is the amount of name dropping she does. She unnecessarily recalls events with stars such as Kevin Spacey, Jojo, etc.
After an unsuccessful time in America she came back to South Africa. She doesn’t let this wither her spirits though.
“I knew that the dream burning in my heart wouldn’t be easy to come by. I was born to live an extraordinary life and I was finally accepting that my journey to it would not be an ordinary one.”
She describes how she started to realise she suffered from clinical depression and how it being undiagnosed all these years had ruined her life and affected her marriage negatively. At this point in Bonnie’s life it’s evident what a strong woman she is. She grows into this person who understands herself and her worth.
What this book reveals is what a talented author Bonnie Henna is, as she manages the transition from actress to author exquisitely. This is a beautifully told story of how a woman overcomes her past and doesn’t let it affect her future. It’s an inspirational book that all women should read.