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The Book of ProVerb: Words of wisdom in Tebogo Thekisho’s memoir

The Book of ProVerb: Words of wisdom in Tebogo Thekisho’s memoir

From a nasty public divorce that nearly ended his life, a tumultuous relationship with his mother and the success he now enjoys, ProVerb’s recently published memoir, ‘The Book of ProVerb’, provides an honest account of his life’s hustle in the ebbs and flows of the entertainment industry, which he hopes will invoke the awareness of self in others.

The Book of ProVerb by former rapper, now radio presenter, Idols SA host and co-producer Tebogo “ProVerb” Thekisho begins with a defining moment in his life: the day he auditioned to host the pop show. 

“I made a mistake while delivering the lines. Fortunately, the executive producer told me to relax and try again. The rest, as they say, is history,” Thekisho writes in his memoir co-authored with Paballo Rampa. 

Ten years after he joined the television show, ProVerb is its longest-serving host. 

While Thekisho has had a big influence on South Africa’s hip-hop scene since he made his debut in the industry in 2005, he reveals in the book that rap never paid his bills. 

“Although I built my brand as a hip-hop artist, I never enjoyed full support for or success from it. My work in radio and television paid the bills, while music had very little return on investment,” he wrote. 

Thekisho’s experience is a tale of many creatives in an industry where a few reap financial rewards. 

He adds that as he grew older, acquired more responsibilities and started a family, it became difficult for him to justify the time, effort and expense of maintaining a music career. 

“Music is and always will remain a passion, but it stopped being viable when it stopped making business sense to me,” he writes. 

In the book, readers get to experience him as a wholesome father of two who, when he found out about his girlfriend’s pregnancy at the age of 23, decided he would marry her, despite his mother’s disapproval.

His marriage to Onalerona Moreo broke down after her infidelity, and that sank him into a depression which drove him to attempt suicide. 

That day, he recalls, he drove from one pharmacy to the next, faking illness to collect the painkillers that he downed with a bottle of wine at his house. 

Nowadays, he tells Daily Maverick in writing, “I’m very cognisant of my mental state at all times… I must also add that my faith has been my anchor, I find that by praying immediately when I wake up and thanking God for life and everything, the tone of my day is set.”

Though much of the book’s essence is his hustle through life, he also pays homage to the people who contributed to his success, including his mother. 

He portrays his mother as someone who was a staunch supporter of success obtained through formal education. As a professor herself, she envisioned that her only son would follow in her footsteps, or at least his father’s, who is a medical doctor. 

Much of the turbulence in their relationship came from her disappointment at some of the choices he had made, so much so that she did not attend his wedding to Moreo. 

But eventually, they made peace with each other. “My biggest joy is that my mom passed away when we were in a really good place and she was proud of me,” he writes in the book. 

Despite being comfortable with his radio and television jobs, he is plotting a way out through his property business ventures. 

“My business ventures are also my exit strategy. When my entertainment career comes to an end I hope I am able to sustain myself and keep providing for my family. This is why I am keenly building my property portfolio,” he told Daily Maverick

While the book moves through parts of his life incoherently, after 17 years in radio and television and a 15-year music career, ProVerb’s followers and fans will appreciate his wisdom and journey to self-discovery after his near-death experience. 

His fans will also be happy to learn that he drizzles poetic raps in each chapter of the book. DM

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