Lelo Boyana (also known as Brown Shuga to her Internet readers) is a South African celebrity blogger, columnist and television presenter best known for hosting the insert "TV With Lelo" on the SABC1 gossip show The Real Goboza, from 2007-2008.
She also appeared as a weekly guest on the radio show "Break-a-sly-fast Show" on Umhlobo Wenene Fm every Monday morning, discussing the latest celebrity gossip.
Boyana was born and raised in Thabong, Welkom in the Free State and completed her schooling there.
She began working for a mining company right after completing her matric and while working for the company was trained in Human Resources while she studied part time.
She moved to Johannesburg in 2001 and is currently employed as a Human Resources Practitioner in an earth moving equipment company in the east of the city.
Boyana has four sisters and grew up in a musical family. She used to sing in church and was a member of a gospel group called Agappe Effects, which came second in the Shell Road To Fame finals in 1998.
She was keen on pursuing a music career but decided it wasn’t for her, "coz I don’t see myself booty hopping on anyone’s stage," she told TVSA. "I also woke up one day and realized that I don’t really have a great voice. It’s good but it’s not great and I want to be great!"
Boyana also tried her hand at being a beauty queen for a brief time when she was younger, winning a handful of titles in primary and high school.
Brown Shuga and Blogiwood
On 2 May 2006, TVSA was launched - South Africa's first television website that was not owned by a broadcaster.
Exactly one week later, on 9 May, a new user registered on the site called Brown Shuga (the online nickname used by Lelo Boyana). She spent about a month acclimatising to the site, posting a few replies to articles, until 13 June when she created her own blog called Big Brother Nigeria.
Shuga admitted in her first article that she was a BB Nigeria fan suffering withdrawal symptoms, as the show had ended the week before.
She started writing regular articles despite the fact that the show had ended, and soon found that there were thousands of other fans like her who needed a place to express their feelings about the show once it was over.
Ex-contestants on the show soon found her blog and she started interviewing them, in particular when the whole cast paid a visit to Johannesburg and she met with several of them.
Eventually interest in the show faded as the contestants shifted out of the limelight, but by then Shuga's fanatical BB community had dubbed her blog "Blogiwood".
Her last article in her BB Nigeria blog was posted on 24 August, and one week later - on 30 August - she started a brand new blog called Shuga's Blogiwood.
Many of her BB fans started drifting off, only to be replaced by a new readership of fanatical, hardcore fans.
Her third article in Blogiwood - a review of the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards - was read 60,000 times, and firmly put the new Blogiwood and its author on the map.
Since then Brown Shuga has blogged on TVSA almost daily, achieving record page views and replies along the way. She is well-loved for her gossipy take on local celebs and the music and television industries in particular.
She started a third blog - Shuga's G Spot - which is dedicated to the SABC1 soapie Generations, and it too has broken readership records. She started a "celebrity snapshots" blog called Shuga Snaps in 2007, which features pictures taken by her of South African celebrities.
Blogiwood has gone on to become a powerful entertainment medium in its own right. Of her own accord, and in whatever spare time she had, Shuga started interviewing some of the biggest players in South African entertainment for TVSA, from producers to directors to the very stars of the shows themselves.
Entertainment heavyweights she has interviewed include Lungile Radu, Thapelo Mokoena, Andile Ncube, Kabelo Mabalane, Siyabonga Ngwekazi, Nonhle Thema and DJ Sbu.
On Tuesday 5 June, 2007 Shuga broke the news of a new show coming to SABC1, called The Real Goboza. "Goboza" is the Zulu word for "gossip".
The show was described by producers Urban Brew as a "48-minute, late-night, live, celebrity, fashion, gossip, popular culture, social news, music, movies, talk and magazine experience".
Shuga was encouraged to audition to be a presenter on the show by Andile Ncube, the host of the music show One, whom Shuga had interviewed in February.
She auditioned and impressed producers enough to land her own insert on the show called "TV With Lelo", in which she discussed the latest TV gossip of shows airing on the SABC channels.
In 2008 City Press she wrote a weekly gossip column for City Pulse magazine entitled The Word from Ms Thang by Lelo Boyana and a Big Brother 3 column for City Press.
In November 2009 she played a guest role as herself on Society 2 and launched her own website www.justcurious.co.za on 25 November, 2009.
Big Brother Nigeria
Lelo interviewing Sizwe Dhlomo
Lelo interviewing Andile Ncube
Lelo interviewing DJ Sbu
Video gallery of each weeks "TV With Lelo" inserts: TV With Lelo