After dazzling as Diamond, rejuvenated Ranaka rises to culinary challenge

Media personality thanks treatment for overcoming mental health issues

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Dineo Ranaka has been unmasked as Diamond in the Masked Singer.
Dineo Ranaka has been unmasked as Diamond in the Masked Singer.
Image: Supplied

From dazzling on stage as pint-sized "Diamond" in The Masked Singer SA to cooking with the best silverware in the kitchen, taking on the culinary world is the new era in the life of Dineo Ranaka.

Ranaka has done it all in showbiz including acting, presenting, radio, producing, reality TV, music and podcasting.

At the weekend, the 40-year-old multi-hyphenate star crossed yet another item off her bucket list when she was unmasked as the celebrity behind "Diamond" in the hit singing competition show.

She captivated viewers as well as the show's detectives Somizi Mhlongo, J’Something, Sithelo Shozi and Skhumba Hlope with her renditions of Brenda Fassie’s Weekend Special and Diamond by Rihanna. Now that she is hanging up her mic, whipping up a storm in the kitchen is where her heart is.

“I don’t have any regrets venturing into the culinary space. I spent so much time with God in the last quarter of 2023 where I thought long and hard about my next move,”  she said.

“Taking on this culinary transition is a very spiritual decision. It was a whisper that came from within and I had to silence my practices of the African calling to focus on this new journey that involves healing through food.

“I had to speak to the guides and ancestors within me who are all talented in different ways to give me the space to explore the world of cooking.” 

I’ve done a lot to come back to a healthy space. I’m not confused about my ADHD, temporal lobe epilepsy or my hyperthyroidism
Dineo Ranaka 

She’s taking up a big task this weekend by cooking and catering for a Father’s Day event. 

“It was as if God said to me: ‘I’ve given you a clothing and makeup business and now I’m giving you the wisdom to put everything under one umbrella to give to the consumer a seamless Dineo Ranaka experience’. And now God is helping me to show people how I was rescued through food,“ she said.

Recently Ranaka has been leading conversations on mental health. Last year she was admitted to a healthcare facility to help manage her mental health after battling suicidal thoughts. She said she was now in a better mental state. 

“I’ve done a lot to come back to a healthy space. I’m not confused about my ADHD, temporal lobe epilepsy or my hyperthyroidism. I’m not ashamed of any of these conditions that I have. I actually see them as my superpower and won’t conform to normality just to please society,” she said. 

“I’m happy to say that I’m doing well. The diagnosis of being severely depressed is not a label I took on to wear because I don’t throw pity parties nor do I expect pity. 

“The most important thing to me is my relationship with my maker and ensure that depression doesn’t steal my connection with my maker." 

Having had fun on the singing show, Ranaka prides herself on remaining tight-lipped and successfully keeping her identity a mystery to her kids. 

“I’m very good at keeping a secret. Remember I hid my last pregnancy from everyone? People only knew about my pregnancy when my last born was three months old. So, that goes to show how good I am at making sure no one knows anything,” she said.

“My children and I don’t have access to traditional mainstream TV, we catch up on things on social media. I want my kids to know that the television space is work for mom and not necessarily where we live. However, my son saw on social media that I was the Diamond, something he claims he knew all along.” 

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