Unathi Nkayi Biography

Unathi Nkayi (born 6 November 1978) is a South African producer, TV personality, and a judge for the Idols. She has a way of expressing herself and her moments on the seat as a judge have gained her popularity. She is also a Journalist and a writer and has made a name for herself in the South African entertainment industry.


The heavyweight in the entertainment industry was born on 6 November 1978. She hosts a celebration in remembrance of her date of birth every year on November 6. Unathi Nkayi is 41 years old. She was raised in Makhanda, also known as Grahamstown, Eastern Cape.


Unathi Nkayi completed her secondary school education at Victoria Girls High School, Grahamstown. Upon graduating, she furthered her academic pursuit at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. In the university, she studied for an International Media Studies degree.

After she came back to her home country, she studied for a degree in Journalism at the Rhodes University. Unathi grew up under the protective care of her parents in Grahamstown. She had always wanted to be on television as a host. She received the support she needed from both her parents and her family which built her courage to chase her dreams.

Today, her dream is a reality and she is one of the most celebrated personalities in the South African media industry. She has made a name for herself and is gaining more presence.


In 2009, Unathi Nkayi got married to Thomas Msengana, a.k.a Bad Boy T. He is a household name in the entertainment industry as well and is a Disk Jockey.

The love they shared in the marriage made two children; Sinako Msengana and Imbo Msengana. Unfortunately, their marriage did not get a till death do us part ending after they separated in 2017.

The couple called their marriage quits after Thomas allegedly cheated on his wife. According to her, she saw text messages and pictures on the phone that belonged to Thomas. This eventually led to them going their separate ways.

Net Worth

According to Zalebs, Unathi has an estimated net worth of around R8,000,000. Her source of income is from being a presenter, writer, and artist. She is described as a “village girl who found gold”.


In 2004, Unathi began her profession upon graduating from higher institution. She landed a job as a co-host on Popstars, a popular series on television. She hosted the show alongside Rowan Cloete.

In 2011, she started a job as a presenter after landing a role as one of the judges on Idols SA, a reality singing competition show. On the show, she boasts as the longest-serving judge and has appeared on the show for eight seasons and counting.

Unathi has appeared among other hopefuls to audition for Castle Loud, a show on SABC1. Upon successful auditioning, she got the role and eventually climbed to co-producer of the show.

In 2004, she joined YFM and stayed there for sixteen years before leaving in 2020. She joined Metro FM in 2014 and remained with the station until 2017. Later in 2020, she joined Kaya FM.

She gained presence in the international scene upon doing voice-over for character Rita The Cheetah in Disney’s edutainment series “Doc McStuffins”.


Unathi Nkayi was named one of the “Top Ten Personalities in Media” in both 2004 and 2005. In 2014, she received the Glamour Woman of the Year Award.


Apart from being an accomplished judge who has judged and produced many heavyweights in the industry today, Unathi is also a businessperson. She is a shareholder of Luck Bean company and an accomplished writer. She is also known for authoring “I Keep Learning”.

By Shamiso Miracle

Shamiso Miracle completed her degree in journalism and media studies at the University of Zimbabwe before honing her skills at Savanna News. She then went on to work at iHarare News, becoming a voice for everyday SA citizens who wanted to share their stories. When she's not writing news that entertains and inspires ,Shamiso is an avid reader and a wellness bunny.

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