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Issue No. 1

December 2015

Thabo Makhetha South Africa’s

THANDO fastest risingHOPA female fashion designer

Thando Hopa

South African female lawyer and catwalk model with Albinism

Molemo Kgomo First female creator of South African Black dolls

South African woman running an international wine business

Mmanoga Maepa

Precious Kofi Exclusive Interview

Photographer: Justin Dingwall




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COVER FORMER PUBLIC FIGURE: Precious Kofi: Exclusive Interview








COSMETICS THANDO HOPA: Catwalk Model and Lawyer with Albinism




KHALALA™ supports the international development of the South African economy, by fostering export growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) into France, thereby encouraging economic growth and job creation.

KHALALA™ is a Sesotho word which refers to a woman of substance, power and positive influence. KHALALA™ is a woman of high moral standards and values, one who is inspirational, motivates and energizes others to live their full potential and make a significant contribution in the world.

KHALALA™ works with export ready SMEs owned, managed and controlled by South African women, thereby bringing about their involvement and participation into the mainstream economy. The focus on this group enables us to facilitate good corporate governance while supporting Government's Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE). KHALALA™ achieves this objective by helping South African SMEs to identify and make use of sales opportunities in France, thereby positioning South African exporters as internationally competitive providers to the French market. KHALALA™ focuses on FIVE key sectors, that South Africa Female Owned SMEs have comparative and competitive advantage in, namely: 1. Agro Processing; 2. Clothing, Textiles, Leather and Footwear; 3. Creative Industries (Film, Music and Craft); 4. Cosmetics; 5. Tourism.

Founded September 2015 in South Africa and published once a quarter in Paris, France, KHALALA™ Magazine is a tool we use to promote South African Female Owned SMEs into France. The publication embraces and celebrates African women’s diverse accomplishments and aspirations across the five sectors, in an intelligent, meaningful, tasteful and inspirational manner. We commemorate African success by offering an insight into its extraordinary and inspiring women who are making the most dramatic impact in the world of entrepreneurship. These influential female leaders, groundbreakers and ceiling crashers are transforming Africa from home and abroad. Many are familiar names, others not so familiar. But each of them have one thing in common: they are doers. They are resolute in their resolve to change, to build, inspire and transform. And they are out there making it happen. They are change makers, trendsetters, visionaries and thinkers, builders, and global leaders. They are at the vanguard of Africa’s imminent socio-economic revolution and its contemporary renaissance. They are African Women.

Your comments, letters and suggestions are most welcome. Write to SPONSORSHIPS | PARTNERSHIPS | COLLABORATIONS | PRESS | TO ADVERTISE IN KHALALA™ MAGAZINE: EMAIL

Find us



Y NAME IS MAHADI GRANIER and I am the Editor in Chief and Founder of KHALALA™ Magazine. Welcome to our launch edition and I sincerely hope you will find the content compelling. I would like to introduce myself to you. I am a South African (born in Lesotho), currently living in Paris with my husband and two kids. I hold a Masters degree in International Business, obtained with a Distinction (Summa cum laude), from Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France, in 2010. I have worked and lived in many countries including South Africa, Lesotho, Canada, United Kingdom, United States of America and now France. Prior to moving to Paris, I worked as a Director for the Department of Trade and Industry in South Africa, within the Industrial Development Division. Within the Public Sector, I have also worked for the Western Cape Provincial Treasury in Cape Town as an Economist. Prior to joining the public sector, I worked in the private sector both in South African and overseas, holding various business management roles across several multinational companies. These included Airbus (Toulouse, France), General Electric (Belfort, France) and Hatch Goba (Canada and United Kingdom). In South Africa, I worked within Strategic Management and Business Consulting for Hatch Goba and later for Turner and Townsend. I founded KHALALA™ Magazine in September 2015, which incorporates my interests for travel, small enterprise development, female entrepreurship, international business, African economic growth and job creation. I am passionate about female entrepreneurship and my current role enables me to promote South African women owned SMEs in France, thereby assisting them to broaden their international export base. Entreprenership is the biggest catalyst for job creation and a significant contributor to economic growth and to poverty eradication in developing countries. Through KHALALA™ Magazine, my intention is to support South African Government's broader mission of building a dynamic industrial, globally competitive South African economy, characterised by inclusive growth and development, decent employment and equity, built on the full potential of all citizens DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 5

a o l e f e Nat










HE LEFT SOUTH AFRICA IN AUGUST 2012 AT THE PEAK OF HER CAREER AS AN ACTRESS, TELEVISION PRESENTER AND TALK SHOW host. She currently lives in Colorado, USA with her husband Robert Schamel, three year old son, Urijah and five month old daughter, Zuri. In this exclusive interview, we sit down with Precious to catch up on life beyond the limelight. UPBRINING I was born on 20 March 1987 in Alice in the Eastern Cape at Victoria Hospital and grew up in Queenstown, Ciskei. When I started Primary School, my family moved to Mandela Park, Hout Bay, Cape Town where my brother, Sibusiso and I were brought up. I attended Korendal Primary School, which I finished in 2000. I then went on to attend Camps Bay High where I finished my Matric in 2005. I was raised by my mom, Brenda, a single mother, and grew up with Sibusiso and my cousin. My family was a beautiful group of individuals striving to better themselves every day. My mother is the most enlightened human being I know and she does a very good job at keeping my feet firmly grounded in all that is real. She lead that daily existence of continuous improvement, which I have adopted into my own household now as a young mother.


COVER CHILD STAR When I was young, I had many ideas about being someone great, someone who touches lives and makes a long lasting impact and contribution. I was about 14 years old when I decided to join an acting agency, and within a month of joining, I was sent on my first audition to host a TV show called Hip 2B Square. That ended up becoming my first television job. At the time, I knew nothing about the television industry. I was blessed to be surrounded by people who were open to teaching me all they knew. That was my University, except I was being paid to learn. Then at the age of 19, young, naïve, ambitious and fearless, I had my own talk show, The Precious Show, later renamed Keeping it Real with Precious. What I loved about being young is that because you don’t know rejection, you blindly have faith in all of your dreams. The Precious Show was just that. A concept I was playing with in my head during my Matric year. I identified a niche after realizing that young people needed a place where they could speak openly and with one another about issues that affected them on a daily basis. Ofcourse hosting Keeping it Real with Precious opened up a lot of opportunities in the industry, the first one being acting. Shortly after I wrapped up Keeping it Real with Precious, I was offered an acting role in Divers Down. I had always been curious about acting so


COVER ofcourse I took the job. I had the privilege of working with established actors that I respected while making meaningful and long lasting friendships. While I was happy to have fulfilled my curiosity for acting, I shortly realized that in fact, I did not like acting. So I decided to refocus my energy on projects that I was passionate about and within a short space of time, Precious Africa was conceived. Precious Africa was my dream come true. It was my pride and joy. Until my children, Urijah and Zuri were born, Precious Africa remained my only child. I have a deep love for Africa and I see great importance in meaningful female friendships and that program gave me all of that and more. I can’t tell you how proud I am of that program. If I never do anything else on television, I would have no regrets because that show made it to your TV screens. It opened the conversation amongst the youth in South Africa about who we can be as a continent. I cannot ask for more. Doors kept on opening. One of my biggest TV highlights was having my voice affirmed by Mrs. Obama. This is something I will never forget. And of course being afforded the opportunity of calling millions of South Africans my friends. Without the viewers’ loyalty, I would not have experienced all that I have. And this is not something I take lightly. I realize the magnitude of such a blessing. Other projects I would later on get involved in included: DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 10

Bay of Plenty (Actress); Without a Trace (Actress); Tsha Tsha (Actress); Zone 14 (Actress); Divers Down (Acress); Summer Games show on SABC2 (Presenter); EMS Music show with Wright Ngubeni (Presenter); The Mgongo Show by Sony (Presenter); URBO - The Adventures Of Pax Africa (Lead Voice Character). CUT THROUT INDUSTRY People would often ask me, “How

did you survive such a cut throat, male dominated industry” and my answer was always simple. Stay in your lane and run your own race. Don’t try and compete or compare yourself to others. Focus on your craft and stay true to yourself. Was the industry cut throat? Absolutely. You need an elephant skin but most importantly, if you don’t believe in

COVER yourself, I would say it would probably be best to follow a different career path. Television is about determination and dedication through and through. I had doors constantly close in my face, but I chose not to concentrate on those who said no to my concepts and ideas. Challenge is a relative word which largely depends on whether you choose to see your

glass as being half empty or half full. When in a situation of trial, either you move forward or just accept defeat. And life is so great, why wouldn’t anyone want to do better. There’s a Buddhist saying, which I like, which goes something like “Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional”. People also have a misconception about the TV industry, that

it is mainly about the stations buying or producing compelling content for the viewers and using that to generate income by selling advertising space. This may be the business aspect of it, but for me, it goes a little bit further. It is about generating energy that can affect people either positively or negatively. When you work on TV, you need to choose which energy your career will represent. I discovered the power of television and chose to use it to do good. LIMELIGHT AND FAME YOUNG AGE



Life as a child star is a dream of many people, mainly because of the perceived rewards that are associated with being famous. These include money, glamorous life, travelling the world, respect and favors from the public and a successful career. Being a star can give a child the confidence to realize that they can achieve anything in life. Some child stars go on to become very successful and seemingly well rounded individuals. At the same time, the loss of privacy can be overwhelming. Suddenly everyone knows way too much about your life. Then one has to deal with the press and tabloids that tend to focus on gossip and negative publicity aimed at catching people’s attention so as to attract a bigger audience and improve the bottom line. The lifestyle, if not well managed, can put tremendous amount of PHOTOGRAPHERS: JUDD VAN RENSBURG, DAZ TAK ART DIRECTOR: GEORGE GLADWIN MATSHEKE | MAKE-UP: DIANA


COVER pressure on the child, which in some unfortunate circumstances, can lead to dysfunction. While busy working on stardom, the child may also be lonely as they often will not have time to socialize with other kids or do other ordinary, entertaining things that same age kids do and like. It’s a difficult balance to strike, and things can really go either way. With that being said, I was blessed to not have had much negative publicity. Even if journalists did waste their time writing negative things about me, that would not have mattered much in my life because I knew who I was. I still know who I am. LEAVING THE INDUSTRY There’s no denying that the A-list lifestyle does look enviable, especially from the outside. What most people do not know though is that the industry can place one under tremendous amount of pressure, to the point of wanting to give it all up. Although my career on television was highly successful, towards the end, everything crashed. At that point, I packed my bags and left the world of stardom behind. There were a number of different reasons why I left . To a certain extend, I felt like the support system I needed was not necessarily in place. There were things about myself, personal-growth things, that I had to go through in order to feel like it was worth it for me to stay. Sometimes when its time to turn the page, DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 12

that is the only thing that needs to be done. I knew my time was up, so I left.


A few weeks later, he completed the mission and returned home to the US. And after getting back into the dating game, he realised that I was the one. We then dated over skype and got married at the Denver temple six months later.


It was love at first sight, from my angle anyway. We met at my mother’s house in Cape Town, where Robert was serving a mission for church. He was volunteering two years of his life to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. After quitting my career in television in Johannesburg, I had decided to move back to living with my mother in Cape Town . Five days after arriving in Cape Town, I met the man whom I knew I wanted marry. He will now admit that he thought I was a pretty girl on the day of our meeting (his words, not mine), but at the time, he couldn't say much as he was in South Africa on a different mission, not to find a girl.

unhappiness. I was in an unfamiliar space, with new people, new traditions and just a different way of life. So for about three years, I chose to point fingers for why my life wasn't going anywhere and never once took responsibility.

LIFE IN THE USA When I moved to the USA, I left my immediate family back in South Africa and entered a new life with a new family. For a while, I stayed in a very dark emotional space, blaming every body else for my

I had left everything behind, my country, my job, and my comfort zone. The change was enormous and the culture shock was a real shock. Moving to live in a first world country does nothing to prepare one for the change. You arrive in the country and suddenly it makes no difference what you did previously or what privileges you had back home because once that plane lands, suddenly, you are at the mercy of your personality. One goes through many ups and downs. There is the


COVER the change in the external culture as well as the internal change of living with someone of a different culture. One loses ones own identity because your country, your job, your friends, your home, all of these things go into giving you an identity and you loose these all at once. You really go into shock. Losing friends is bigger than one truly realizes. Yes, you can skype away but you start losing base a bit since you will be growing more than them. It's even tough to stay in touch with family, everyone is super busy and the days fly past so fast.

They had no concept of how my life could be or how dramatic the changes I was experiencing were. I missed my work, my independence and the feeling of 'being someone'. My mother had raised me to follow my own dreams, to be strong and independent and not follow a boy, so all of this was

I began to miss myself, I missed who I used to be prior to moving to the USA, the work, the schedule, the mental space. I missed my highly driven and wildly successful circle of friends back home. I no longer had that type of mental stimulation. I no longer found myself interesting, not for others, but interesting to me. This all sounds rather self involved, but it's the truth. In focusing so much on my marriage, I forgot myself. I made my marriage my life and didn't care to make a life for myself too. Then I started thinking and scrutinizing which made me realize that even though I was happy, there was room for improvement. I wanted more. I wanted to be good company for myself. Friends back home could not understand these emotions. They all thought I was living this wonderful exotic life in a magnificent country. PHOTOGRAPHER: IAN GOODES


very new to me. It takes a lot of courage to take a chance alongside a spouse and be exposed to all foreign cultural overflows. Although I knew how incredibly lucky I was to have all those wonderful options in life, I also knew how important it was for me to make a contribution

COVER to the world outside my household. At that point, I knew I had to make some drastic life changes if I was truly in pursuit for happiness. URIJAH A month after getting married, we found out we were pregnant with our son, Urijah, who was born 17 October 2012. I still remember his birth like it only happened yesterday and how Robert had been attentive and very useful. I guess I had given him a fright earlier that day by demanding that he came home from work because the baby was coming. Well, he got home and I hadn't even showered. Since feeling slightly woozy that morning, it seemed smarter to not use the shower on my own. I had done some spring cleaning the week before but I still wanted to make sure things were tidy for when the baby arrived. I wanted our baby to feel that we had prepared for him. Or maybe I just wanted to come home to a clean house. It can also be said that I was just pregnant and finicky. Whatever the reason, Robert let me be. We arrived at the hospital at around 6pm and the nurses immediately recognized us from the night before when we were sent home after hours of thinking the baby was coming or rather willing the baby to come. And looking back, I see it as a dress rehearsal. It's quite possible that the false alarm made way for a much calmer "real day". The control freak in me even had us do practice drives to the hospital as everything needed to be perfect. I assume like most women, I have a big fear of birthing in the car on our way to the hospital. Who the would want a car birth!? Certainly Not me. My goal I was gonna make it to the

hospital in time for the epidural shot. The hours that followed were a dull pain of silent moans with intervals of tv noise. After watching Obama and Romney election debates, we were moved into the delivery room where the greatest nurse on earth continued to take care of me. She went as far as making a bed so Robert could stay the night with me. And so we slept, only to be awoken by 5 nurses bursting through the doors announcing that It Was Time. And thanks to that incredible invention called an epidural, I was as chilled as a butterfly on a summer day. The next thirty minutes were a rush.

Surreal, dreamlike. A calm WOW. The doctor was called, Robert was woken up, he came to my bedside to let me know that he wasn't feeling well. One of the nurses overheard and got him some medicine from her purse, the doctor rolled in looking dead asleep, I teased him asking of he was awake (somebody had to) he pointed his finger at me and with a wry smile he said "you just push, ok". And I did. Twelve minutes


COVER later, the most gorgeous baby boy was born. Once Robert started feeling better, he coached me right through the birth, while holding my hand he let me know that I was a champion. And now as I watch our little champion sleep, I can't help but feel a wave of emotions for my two men. The love of my life and our baby boy. Love was good. Life was good. MY LOVE FOR URIJAH Attempting to talk about how much I love Urijah would be silly. It's just too intense. A

mother reading this understands exactly what I mean. That feeling, that no words can do justice to, that's my love for baby boy. He's such a joy to be around. He's super busy, mischievous at times, talkative like his parents, laughs easily, stubborn, a charmer with a winning smile. One word that describes his little personality is colourful. I love being his mother. He challenges me to be better each day. He's exciting to be around and keeps us

busy every day. I think it's easy for us to get lost in what's not perfect and who's not perfect, forgetting what is most important. Baby boy's hugs are perfect. What more could a girl ask for? I am grateful for the challenges that we've been given. I pray that we be kind to ourselves and not mope around because life has offered some detours. And remember that there is a plan greater than what we could conjure up. And that plan helps us to know that trials are but a privilege to increase our faith. "The happiest people are those who lose themselves in the service of others"

and that's a good way to step outside of yourself and realize that you are needed. Raising a boy is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I would like him to grow up to be a good man, like his father. Even though I may have many dreams for baby boy, I also know and understand that he is his own person. He will make his own decisions. The best I can do is be a mom who is present. One who sees value in living by example. My position as a primary influencer will probably expire somewhere between 18 and 21. After that I suppose it is likely that I'll be placed in a consultant role. Hopefully the grown up in me will not take offense to such developments but instead realise that children grow up. And when they do, I should also remember that it is ok to allow them to be adults. Certainly, this is no easy adjustment for any parent, as some of us moms are closet micro managers. We want everything done our way right now because I said so and I've lived for such and such number of years so I know better. Well, we might know some things but I don't think that DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 16

COVER we can confidently say we know better. Because your life, even with similar experiences, could never really tailor fit mine. The generational gap in parent and child alone says so. Is it possible that an often overlooked element of good parenting is a decent chunk of some good old humility? Maybe if we step outside of our know it all persona, we will find opportunities to learn a little bit more about ourselves and others. Being someone's mother does not mean that your growth has reached its peak. Our children are here for a reason. Not just to populate the earth and drink up all the milk in the fridge (or in my case, all the milk in my breasts). Could it be that we are given these kids for our own betterment? This is by no means a fresh idea, it's as stale as frozen bread. But an idea nonetheless ZURI In October 2014, Urijah turned two years old and at the sametime, we found out I we were pregnant with our second child. Nine months later and on 14 July 2015, I gave birth to our daughter, Zuri at 8:30am at Sterling Regional Hospital in Colorado. At that point, I was about 39 weeks pregnant and had settled into

the thought that I'd be pregnant forever. That very point in your pregnancy when you have resigned yourself to the fact that you'll be overdue. The day before the delivery was a strange one. Robert decided to take Urijah swimming so that I could rest. But instead of resting, I took to cleaning up the house. Then I had a crazy urge to shop for things I did not really need. So when they returned, we went grocery shopping, followed by hours of home decor shopping, where I did my best to pursue myself not to be wasteful. That ended up in us getting home late, cleaning the downstairs, eating sandwiches for dinner and baby boy going to sleep at 10pm. Robert and I stayed up a little bit until he decided to head to bed as I was finding more and more things for us to "fix" or "clean". Sometime around 1am, I decided that maybe it was time to rest. That rest time didn't last too long as I was violently awoken by sharp pains on my back. It all started near 3:30am. Even though I knew these were signs of labor, I did my best to relax as I wanted it to be morning so that we wouldn't have to drop baby boy off at someone's house so early. I didn't want



COVER him to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced. So I waited. And then finally at around 4:30am, I couldn't wait any longer. We got in contact with my visiting teacher who agreed to watch Urijah while we headed to the hospital. She thankfully suggested to meet us half way, which was very thoughtful of her as she lives on a farm and getting to her home would mean braving a bumpy road while suffering through some mean contractions. During the drive Urijah, in his sweet little morning voice asked "where we going mommy?". I told him that he was going to Janae's house to play with the horses and that mommy was going to go have the baby. "At the doctor?" was his next question. To which I replied "yep". He then closed our conversation with "ok, see you later mommy". And that was it. We were pleasantly surprised at how well he took to the whole situation. We then arrived at the hospital at 5am and I became like one of those deranged pregnant women you see in the movies making a complete scene. At least if I ever have to act the part in a movie or tv show, I'll be fully prepared with clear life experience to draw from. Luckily, there were no other patients DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 18

around, just nurses and Robert. I later heard that the nurses suspected that I'd have the baby right there in the check in area. The pain was that loud and that real. And then began the grueling 3 and half hours before she graced us with her presence. A wheelchair was called in and off I was wheeled into the labor and delivery department. Once we got there, I was asked to get changed into one of those very attractive hospital gowns that opens up at the back. Still feeling somewhat brave, I announced to the nurses that I wanted a natural delivery. I'm almost certain that neither one of them thought I'd be able to handle the pain. Who can blame them? And then for what seemed like forever, I was asked some crucial yet ridiculous "check-in" questions when you consider the fact that I was in active labor. An angel of a nurse appeared. She was one of those pro natural birth people I'd read about in my extensive online research. Her voice was soft. Every time she spoke, I felt like I was in a yoga retreat. She then taught Robert how to do the same thing and his manly version of "breathe, breathe, nearly there, nearly there, imagine you're somewhere calm and're doing so well, nearly there" was just downright hilarious. Maybe it was only funny to me as I knew how awkward he probably felt. Either way, they both helped to keep me calm and whenever Robert

forgot to call on his yogi voice, I'd yell something like "you gotta TALK ME THROUGH IT!!!". At this point, I was still only 4cm dilated. As with Urijah's delivery, I had coached my husband into fully understanding my needs during labor. With Urijah, I made it very clear that an epidural was an absolute must and therefore the mission was to get to the hospital on time. With this delivery, I had made a huge mistake in asking him to talk me out of requesting an epidural, should I cave in the sight of pain. So that's what he did. I'd ask for an epidural and he'd remind me that I had told him to not allow me to get one. This back and forth regarding the epidural got old real quick as I no longer cared about my previous wishes for a natural delivery. And anyway, the nurses kept telling me that I couldn't get one until I progressed in dilation. I remember my frustration. Then it was suggested that we take a walk in the hallway to move things along. And so we did. About 3mins into the walk my dinner landed on the floor. I was raced back into the room where I chose to take a very long shower, which was mostly me sitting on a chair and enjoying the hot water beating on my back. The pain was still

COVER there but somehow it felt well controlled by the power of water rushing down my body. After a while, I wondered whether I should step out as I didn't want to completely waste the hospital water. Getting out was a good idea in theory, I guess the warm water made my brain soft as I landed on all fours, naked, dizzy and completely exhausted. At that point, Robert rushed in, followed by a nurse. They escorted me to the bed where the doctor announced that I was 8-9cm dilated. This was an answer to a prayer.

around delivery. Almost like a coach motivating from the side lines with great enthusiasm and a huge smile. We had chosen to wait until delivery to find out the gender. The doctor was so busy handling things that she forgot to announce whether the baby was a girl or

boy. After she handed the baby to me I waited for a moment before asking "Well?". She absentmindedly peaked and said "oh, it's a girl" before going about her business of doing what doctors do. And that is how Zuri arrived. The end or rather, the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.

Things progressed fairly quickly from there. I was mute throughout the following moments as the intensity of my contractions were just unreal. Neither Robert, nurses or doctor could get a word out of me. My heart was also in pain as it was announced that it was far too late for an epidural. They were able to give me some pain killer that took the edge off that pain killer brought my voice back but didn't succeed in masking the physical pain. And then after a manicelongated-drawn-from-thedepths-of-my-soul-like scream came our sweet little daughter. Robert was a champ at motivating me PHOTOGRAPHER: HANNAH PIAZZA


COVER BREASTFEEDING I love breastfeeding. I breastfed Urijah until he self weaned at 18 months. With him, the breastfeeding journey started easily with no issues at all. I had never had a milk supply challenge, so for that I was grateful. I did however soldier on the last 8 months using one breast. Yes, I was that girl with lopsided breasts for 8 whole months. Sometime during month 9 and 10, Urijah started biting me real hard until the one breast became so haggard I refused to let him nurse on it. The pain was unbearable, and I had a very, very low tolerance to pain. For a few days, I tried to wean him off but that didn't work because a) making a bottle was just too much work and b) I was sensitive to smell and the smell of formula reminded me of a milkshake that was often given to us at Moreivin Primarie Skool - that's a Primary school in Hout Bay where I attended the first 2 years of my schooling and the spelling is probably wrong as I didn't study there long enough to properly learn the spelling of the school name. And c) we were about to travel more than 24 hours on a flight to South Africa and breastfeeding was my go to response whenever Urijah felt uncomfortable on DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 20

a flight. And now with Zuri, I’m doing it all over again. She is five months, now and exclusively breadfed. I hope to continue on until she decides she no longer wants to. I’m a big breastfeeding advocate. There are so many benefits to it. For example, with both of my pregnancies, I was able to continue eating the same and sometimes even more than before and yet continued to lose weight faster, which helped me get back to my pre pregnancy shape a lot quicker. Breastfeeding is also easy and convenient. There is absolutely nothing to buy or prepare. The breasts are always there and the milk is always warm and ready. That gives me so much freedom. There is also a very special bond that forms between a mother a baby. I also noticed with both of my children that there was always less spitting up, no stains and the poop does not smell at all. The doctors will also tell you that breastfeeding protects against some breast and ovarian cancer because while breastfreeding, estrogen levels are very low, which means that the longer one breastfeeds, the lower the risk for cancer. The benefits for the baby ofcourse is that breastfeeding protects against ear infections, colds and viruses. If the baby does have any of these, apparently the severity does lessen because of the protection from the breastmilk. Doctors also do say that breastfeeding helps the baby’s brain to grow and develop faster, leading to less learning and behavioural difficulties. The

baby cries less, is less colic and has less diaper rash and other skin problems, digests the milk a lot easier, that infact, it is almost impossible to have a constipated breadfed baby. Both of my kids seemed to enjoy the taste, not that I would know the opposite, as I have never tried. They seem to have less diarrhea, I’ve had much fewer trips to the doctor and hospitalization and it is also argued that breastfeeding protects against sudden infant death syndrome, leukemia, some child cancers as well as juvenile onset diabetes. MOTHERHOOD Being a parent of two is pleasantly challenging. It grows and stretches you. And no matter how much advice you seek, you still have to do the work yourself. And this is important work as you are helping shape and influence thoughts, ideas, dreams and potential. I have a feeling that my son, although only three years old, already knows who he is. Life will happen and he might forget. But luckily he has parents who care for him and it is my wish that he remembers how he was brought up. Every day we put in our best efforts to assist our children in having the freedom, guidance and love to comfortably be themselves. I continue to watch how Urijah

COVER This might be even more of a reason to respect their space and allow them the time to freely express

themselves before that freedom is condensed into wearing a daily life mask.


has become a touch more assertive. He gets his point across with the new found words and when one isn't at hand, his actions are loud enough. He is also more aware of his personal space, which is something I am learning to respect. I've found that when he doesn't want a hug, he doesn't want a hug. And as a parent, it's possible to assume a superior position and force a hug regardless of the obvious objection. That forceful approach doesn't sit well with me anymore. I'm no authority in child behavior or communication but when it comes to my children, I feel that such a forceful act, even out of love, is teaching the child the wrong message. It says that their little voices don't matter. And because an individual is older, they have a certain power over them and in this case, over their body. I understand that I'm not the first person to raise children, but it's nice to remember that these are my children and I will raise them the best way I know how. And by that I guess what I'm saying is that, if my children do not want a hug, they don't want a hug, and I won’t force it. In the same way we as adults get to choose who is or isn't allowed in our personal bubble. I would imagine that a baby or toddler's personal space is even more sensitive than ours because they haven't yet learnt society's "polite" ways.


COVER HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE It's always fun to know that no matter our life circumstances, we're all on the same boat, just trying to do our best for those whom we love. And that includes ourselves. As we grow, we seem to forget the importance of caring for ourselves too. For parents, this is often seen as a selfish thought. Simple example, I find it important to exercise for 30 minutes, every single day, so that I can be physically strong and fit enough to keep up with my kids. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but it is to me, not only for the health benefits but because it allows me some me time.



Taking care of oneself is often the last thing on a parent's mind and it might not even make it to the 'to do list'. Something Robert likes to say is "happy wife, happy life". And it's true. Women have many talents, and one of these is the ability to bring light into a home but we are also capable of creating an unhappy space. This doesn't mean that the happiness of all depends solely on us. At the end of the day, we all have the responsibility to choose a positive emotional state of mind. But because of our great responsibilities, which are hopefully shared with the husbands, we owe it to ourselves to be the best that we can be. A good place to start is by thinking back to positive things that you may have enjoyed before the current life. Revisiting these ideas will help map out a route to bringing back your personal spark. It might be hanging out with friends minus baby and husband, going shopping, taking up a sport, a weekend away, whatever tickles your fancy or rather whatever your wallet can allow. Moments alone are good. They are healthy. They are necessary. And nobody is going to schedule that time for you. In all life's busy days, you owe it to yourself to reconnect with you. And you'll find that as you make yourself a priority and treat yourself with more kindness, you'll have more love for those who depend on you.You might even experience more appreciation from those around you.

COVER WHAT MATTERS THE MOST IN LIFE FAMILY. I have made a conscious decision to put my family first. Everyday, I strive to reach the balance of love. Too often in the fast paced world we live in, we tend to overlook the importance of nurturing our relationships. Everyday, I get to learn about the importance of recognizing the love in our lives and choosing to reciprocate it. You probably will not believe me if I told you that at this particular moment, I have no idea what's happening out there in the world as I no longer watch television, besides the fact that it's nighttime and I'm waiting for my husband


COVER to come home. But that's not the world. It's my little protected world. I mean, I haven't got a clue as to what's happening in Washington, no idea regarding the going ons in the Middle East, no knowledge regarding news in South Africa. Once upon a time, world matters were at the center of my thoughts. During that life phase, it was important to be in the know, engaged and opinionated. I guess I thought I could make a difference and fix some of what appeared to be wrong.

that I do not take lightly. It's an indescribable privilege of a seeded love. It means that I have been entrusted to care and mold two young minds. What an honor. And yes, I may not know who the current president of France is (unless it's still Nicolas Sarkozy). Nor am I publicly active in the betterment of the future of Africa. Luckily for us all, there are thousands and hopefully millions of brilliant young minds making a positive impact in our world.

I tried. I tried really hard. There were many failures but just as many successes. That's the thing about youth, your naivety gives you courage. And for that beauty, I will risk the chance of coming across as "ignorant" by discussing my new direction of thinking. After a few months of eating up self enforced guilt of no longer being evolved in a "worthy cause", I realized something. My two children are a cause enough. I can influence them. And I feel its important to do all that is within my knowledge and power to bring good into his world. Being a parent is hard work. Soon the world will try to tell them who they are, and when that day comes, I hope that they will both remember who they truly are.

There's something beautiful about having obtained a peace of mind. The kind of peace that allows me to sigh with a smile.

This insane yet wonderful opportunity to be a mother is one



That's exactly what's been on my mind lately. Making decisions that leave me sighing with a smile. It's not as automatic as I'd like it to be but I'm grateful for the effort. I read somewhere the other day about how you can choose what kind of a day you'll have. And thus meaning you can choose what kind of person you want to become. Often we use the excuse of habit to justify the not so great elements in our personalities. And even worse, we blame others for our shortcomings. If you look a little deeper and set aside pride, you'll be able to see the cowardice behaviour behind those excuses. And if there's one thing I know, it's that a bad attitude simply means you're

COVER the problem. It's hard for people to change, not because change is difficult, but because change of personality equals critical self evaluation. And that requires effort and compromise. I used to hate that word - compromise. It has taken a long time to understand that compromise does not mean you are losing out on something, it's an opportunity to gain a better relationship with those around you. Once you set aside selfish desires, you will find that it's easy to compromise when you're in a loving relationship. The comfort and security of an eternal companionship helps you want to be better for one another. I love being married to Robert. As imperfect as I am, he helps me work towards becoming the kind of woman I've always wanted to be. I'm not there yet but that's ok because with daily small steps, I know my efforts will lead me to the destiny. I’M FREE This year has been a follow your heart, do what feels right and complete a task kind of year. And I can’t tell you how great it feels like to follow through. As a mother of two, it is extremely important to walk my talk to make sure that my children learn by example. Children don’t do what we say but rather

imitate our actions and echo our words. If one thing will have you check yourself, it's carrying a little mirror on your hip. About a year ago, and just before Urijah turned two, I was busy with his birthday party preparations while holding his hand. I worked in silence as him and I are often comfortable with our quiet moments. All of a sudden, I felt this tiny hand turning my chin to his wide grinned face. He looked at me as if to say "mama look at me". I was overwhelmed by my emotions. Both in love and embarrassed. Embarrassed that I had zoned out long enough for him to reach out.

And in love with this growing maricle teaching me more than I could ever know on my own. So I smiled back and embraced the hugs and kisses while basking in the love that he has for his mama. I don't want to forget these moments, while I still look forward to all that's to come. As both of my children continue to grow, I too have become more comfortable in my own skin. I have become kinder to myself and availing the emotional space that allows us to be present and free to emerge more.


COVER Life is fantastic, it really is. We all have the power to create our life experiences, good or bad, and it’s all there to teach us something about who we were sent here to become. SOMETIMES WE STUMBLE Life sometimes throws lemons our way, and how I often chose to deal with lemons is by turning them into lemonade. Whenever I’m faced with what society would refer to as difficulties, I chose to view such as an opportunity to learn a lesson. The landing is never soft but it does allow for a moment of reflection. Yes, I'm a sensitive soul. That means that I have to fight to keep my space pure. Clean from negativity. This is not easy. And I don't always achieve the desired results. But life isn't always easy. Yet it is so good. By remembering the privilege it is to wake up and be allowed to yet again 'give it a shot', we can gain perspective. A friend of mine once mentioned that kids can throw tantrums as if it's the end of the world because they don't yet have perspective. The same can be said for a young wife and mother in her twenties. We give children opportunities to grow. Allowing them to make mistakes so they can learn. We are sensitive to their needs to explore and discover. Sometimes we hold their hands as they learn to walk. And other times we watch as they stumble. DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 26

Not because we don't love them. It is because we love them that we say "go on, you can do it". We know that not every floor can be padded and sometimes the landing will be hard. But sooner or later they learn to walk. And after that they'll be running. It is comforting to know that I have a strong

support system always there to tell me "go on, you can do it". Even when I feel like I can’t, the support is always there, reminding me of second chances. The promise of a new day. The promise of better choices. ENTERPRISING MOM Every mother is not the same and it is important to look within and be the best that you can be. You need to learn to understand yourself and what makes you happy. I love being a stay at home

working mother. Before I had Zuri, I concentrated solely on my little Urijah and that was glorious. Yet, there was a part of me I was missing. Some moms don't have that feeling. But I had to admit to myself that I'm the kind of person who likes to have an influence

outside of my home. I enjoy working and connecting with other women. I'm a born change agent and when I tuck that talent under the rug, then I fizzle into an unhappy little prune. A fire dims and this year, I decided to ignite it because I want my children to grow up knowing who their mother really is. I want to teach them by example so that they too can have the confidence to live life by design and not by default.

COVER ONLINE HEALTH AND FITNESS BUSINESS My most important work is that of being a stay at home mom and a wife. With that being said, alongside taking care of these three very important people to me, I’m an enterprising woman, running an online health and fitness business from home. This entails helping people reach their fitness goals through support, accountability and motivation. I have only been running this business since February 2015 and the growth I have experienced, both personally and financially has far exceeded my expectations. Within this short space of time, not only have I acquired the skills needed to operate a business such as selling and managing time but I have mastered the art of keeping myself motivated in the face of business cyclical adversity. When I first started, I was simply looking for a multilevel marketing opportunity that would allow me to work from home caring for my kids, yet still enable me to touch lives in some way. I was also looking for a business that had low start up costs, relatively small amount of risk, that involved no inventory to buy and store, had unlimited earning potential, a huge product demand, no employees to hire, low operating costs but most importantly, that would provide me with a lifestyle that allowed me to earn good income while working from home, raising my kids. When I fell pregnant with Urijah, I had only been married for a month. Shortly after finding out we were pregnant, I started looking and thankfully landed an 8 to 5, working outside of home, day job. Although it helped pay the bills, the commutes to work were long and there were many times when I had to travel in the cold, snow and rain. Coming from sunny South Africa, I was struggling to adapt to the weather. While many would see that job as security and a means to make ends meet, I saw it as everyday torture, holding me back from growing and chasing after my goals and dreams.


COVER Towards the end of my first pregnancy, I was constantly tired and was lacking in energy. Most of my happiness came from getting home from work, turning on the TV and laying down on the coach for a few hours every night with Robert, before going to bed, which is how the majority of my colleagues at the time were living. While I was earning a decent salary, there was nothing I could do to make more money except to work more hours, and unfortunately there are only so many hours in a day. With my second pregnancy, I made a commitment to make the experience more pleasurable and enjoyable, while also


having enough energy to keep up with little Urijah. So in February 2015, I decided to go into a network marketing business. In the ten months that I have been in the business, I have learnt more than I have ever learnt in all of my previous professions, the most important lessons being the following: 1. One of the most amazing things about network marketing is that it focuses on developing your emotional intelligence as well as your business skills. It is often said that the ability to delay

COVER gratification is a sign of higher emotional intelligence. I never quite understood this until I became part of this network; 2. Two essential reasons for anyone to join a networking marketing business should firstly be to help yourself. Reason number two should be to help others. If you join for only one of these two reasons, then the system will not work for you; 3. Unlike traditional corporate systems which allow only one person to reach the top of the company, the top of the network marketing system is open to everyone. The reason most people do not reach the top is simply because they quit too soon; 4. Most people join only to make money and if they don’t make money in the first few months or year, they become discouraged and quit. By joining to make a few quick dollars is not the reason to get into the business As a parent of two, it is important that I spend time with my two children. At the same time, I love enterprising, being my own boss, working from home, and setting my own schedule. I left life in the limelight at the height of my television career, hoping to one day experience the privilege of being my own boss, with no limits on how much I can earn. Having attained such freedom, I now no longer have to wake up to an alarm clock, I wa-

It gives me great joy knowing that I will be there to hear my daughter say her first words, and see her take her first steps. I love knowing that when my kids will start school, I’ll be able to walk them to the bus stop every single day, and I’ll be there to pick them up. I’ll be able to attend all of their school plays, field trips, and sporting events they will get involved in without having to ask for time off. All this while making more money than I ever thought possible. Being my own boss gives me the freedom to never have to miss any of these special moments. Most moms will have to miss out on these because they will be at work. My business gives me the opportunity to schedule work around life, instead of schedulin g lif e around work, like the majority of people are forced to do. I truly feel like I’m finally I’m living a dream. █



Agro Processing Sector involves the transformation of products that originate from agriculture, forestry and fisheries into a different physical or chemical state. It encompasses technical and mechanical processes that range from packaging to the transformation of raw material into final products, converted into a different physical or chemical state. Agro Processing Sector is one the largest manufacturing sectors in South Africa. It is labour intensive and is a significant contributor to the manufacturing value add as percentage of gross domestic product. Khalala™ facilitates French market entry of South African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the following Agro Processing Sub Sectors: Aquaculture (marine and fresh water sub-sector) | Floriculture | Fruit and vegetables | Dairy | Meat (poultry exotic meat, ostrich, equine, sheep, beef and goat) | Grains (maize, barley, wheat , sorghum and rice) | Beverages (tea, non-alcoholic beverages, fruits juice and alcoholic beverages) | Edible oils (soybean, sunflower, canola, olives, dry bean, ground nuts and other nuts (macadamia, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.) | Sugar and confectionery sector | Tobacco.









BETWEEN SA AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA), Mmanoga Maepa is the Founder of VEEVINOS™, a company she fully owns and controls. VEEVINOS™ is in a strategic partnership with VALPANERA™ winery, an ancient native vine from the Northern Italian region, Friuli Venezia Giulia. Valpanera decided to invest its resources in the production and enhancement of Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso


and recently selected VEEVINOS™ as its sole distributor of Valpanera wines to African countries, mostly Ghana and Nigeria. VEEVINOS™ is currently looking at expanding and adding to its portfolio of wines from other wineries in South Africa. KHALALA™ Magazine sits down with Mmanoga to conduct her first ever media interview since the company launch, and finds out what triggered her to penetrate this somewhat closed door wine industry. KHALALA™: yourself



MMANOGA: I was born and raised in Tlhabane, Rustenburg. I am the last born out of five children, making

me the baby of the family. I attended H.F Tlou High School in Tlhabane. After completing high school, I enrolled for a Bachelors Degree in Marketing at the University of South Africa. Halfway into my studies, I enrolled in the casino training program to become a croupier with Tsogo Sun in Johannesburg. I made lots of friends and connections which led to a great opportunity to apply for an opening with Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL). Being a young girl from a small town in South Africa,


the prospect of travelling the world at that age was exciting while at the same time scary. The furthest I had been outside of South Africa at the time was to Botswana. Needless to say, my mother was not very thrilled with the news. It was almost like a recurring nightmare for her. I had always wanted to travel and see what the world held beyond the borders of my country and working with the cruise lines presented that opportunity. My first destination was Miami. The only thing I knew about Miami at that time was a show called Miami Vice. So I arrived in Miami and commenced work at CCL, a company I stayed with for seven and a half years. During this work period, I had the opportunity to visit hundreds of destinations around the world.

KHALALA™: Where do you presently reside? MMANOGA: I currently live between South Africa and Illinois in the USA. KHALALA™: What were you doing before you got into the wine business? MMANOGA: Shortly after my daughter was born, I found myself at a crossroads and needed to decide the role I would play as the mother of my child. Would I be a working mom who would continue to provide for my family and further advance my career, or would I stay at home as the full-time care provider? In my decision making process, I listed all the pros, cons, and when the pros section of the list began to grow exponentially, I quit



my job at CCL and decided to be a stay at home mom. KHALALA™: Did you enjoy being a stay at home mom? MMANOGA: Tremendously. After traveling around the world and being away for sometimes weeks and months at the time, it was good to have some stability and normalcy. I enjoyed spending time with my daughter, watching her grow everyday and wouldn't change that for the world. The most profound gift by far that this role also provided was the opportunity to explore new career possibilities which led me to the wine industry. KHALALA™: Not every woman can afford to be a stay at home mom though. MMANOGA: Ofcourse not. When I was at CCL, I made a good living


and I had quite a bit of discretionary income. I was able to buy pretty much whatever I wanted. After I quit, I had to make many adjustments to my spending habits. It was humbling for me that I no longer brought home a sizeable paycheck anymore, and it was humbling to not be able to spend money because I was on a strict household budget. However, I truly believe that humility is good for the soul, and I have become a better person because of it. Through this experience, I learnt the difference between needs and wants, as well as how to deal with income inequality in a household. KHALALA™: What made you decide to get into the wine industry?? MMANOGA: I had been thinking about getting into the wine business for quite a while, because of my love for wine.

Wine tasting and discovery had always been my hobby. Through my business travels around the world, I realized the disparity in the pricing of good wines in Africa. I actually spent several years thinking about that and finally decided to build upon my passion of wine. So when an opportunity presented itself, I pursued it and decided to turn my passion, hobby and love for wine into business, hence the birth of VEEVINOS™.


KHALALA™: Tell us more about VEEVINOS™ MMANOGA: VEEVINOS™ selects and sells the finest wines from unique wineries around the world. We work with exclusive producers - mostly small, family owned and with emphasis on high quality. KHALALA™: Who is VALPANERA™ and what is the nature of your business? MMANOGA: VALPANERA™ winery decided to invest its resources in the production and enhancement of Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, an ancient native vine from the Northern Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia. VEEVINOS™ is the sole distributor of VALPANERA™ wines to most African countries. KHALALA™: In 2014, Italy was the world’s second largest producer of wine (by volume, after France) with South Africa coming in at number eight. As a South African, what influences you to promote and market Italian wine instead of working with South African wineries? MMANOGA: VEEVINOS™ is currently looking at expanding and adding to its portfolio of wines from other wineries in South Africa, France, Spain and the United States of America. VALPANERA™ just happens to be our first strategic partner. Part of our greater vision is to conclude a distribution DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 35


deal with a South African winery. KHALALA™: Wine is a tough, competitive, saturated and expensive business. What is your success strategy? MMANOGA: Networking, making and utilizing new connections to extend VEEVINOS™’s reach into the markets where we have an interest. VEEVINOS™ is not only about sharing wine, but diversifying the offerings that people have in their countries, bringing them good quality wines that are not necessarily saturated in their market. KHALALA™: With so many wine brands out in the market, how do you differentiate VEEVINOS™ wines to make sure that they stand out from competition? Secondly, how do VEEVINOS™ wines attract the interest of top retail establishments, wholesale distributors and restaurants? MMANOGA: We use price and quality as a differentiator. VEEVINOS™ is centred around building a strong reputation for identifying unique wineries around the world that produce world class wines at an affordable price. We focus on diversifying our offerings. In a business such as this where the market is so full of players, bringing something new which is focused on quality and price positioning as a central part of the business model is integral and proving to be successful in attracting retailers and distributors. KHALALA™: You previously mentioned that you reside between South Africa and the USA. In South Africa, the local currency, the Rand, has depreciated substantially in the recent months. Has this depreciation affected the import and export performance of your wines? MMANOGA: Luckily, living between the two countries has afforded me an option to


purchase Euro priced Italian wines with my American earned dollars. So in a way, my business is immune from Rand currency depreciation. The immunity is also due to the fact that VEEVINOS™ is currently focusing on wine distribution outside of South Africa, and largely in Ghana and Nigeria. KHALALA™: The top barrier and driver to Small Medium Sized (SME) internationalization is limited firm resource, lack of international contacts as well as the absence of requisite managerial knowledge about internationalization. Would you agree? MMANOGA: I do and this is an issue that cuts across most SME’s. With that being said, through perseverance and networking, most businesses are finding innovative ways around it to grow, expand and become profitable. While I believe that networking is a fundamental part of every business to realize growth, we also have the tools of marketing through word-of-mouth and social media which have become increasingly influential in product reputation and driving popularity. KHALALA™: Another barrier and driver to SME internationalization is soft

factors within the external environment, such as limited network and supply chain links, social ties, immigrant links, limited global trade infrastructure and export and region-oforigin.


MMANOGA: Absolutely. However, every SME has to identify its strengths and weaknesses, be prepared to pitch its business to potential investors and be willing to take risks. It is imperative for a business to be willing to take those risks and adapt to different trading infrastructures in every environment in order to realize success. It is never easy and it demands a great deal of commitment and patience, but it can be done. KHALALA™: What does E -Commerce mean to you and your business? MMANOGA: E-commerce is integral to our core business. It has opened a door to a myriad of new business opportunities. Because of it, all of our marketing efforts end with one goal, which is to drive target to our business website. E-business has also broken down the time barriers that locationbased businesses encounter. Because the Internet is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,



VEEVINOS™ never closes. I literally make money while I am fast asleep. It has also reduced the transaction cost as I require less manpower to complete an online transcation. Most imporantly, it has completely eliminated geographic boundaries and broadened my reach. All of these benefits are extremely important to us considering our business model, goals and the international landscape within which, we operate. KHALALA™: What are your plans for the future? Specifically, where do you see VEEVINOS™ in the next five to ten years? MMANOGA: I want VEEVINOS™ to be a name synonymous with quality, trust and a leading brand associated with world class wines at just the right price █


Photographer: Justin Dingwall


The South African Clothing, Textiles, Leather and Footwear (CTLF) uses all the natural, human and technological resources to make it the preferred international supplier of textiles and apparel. There are a variety of enterprises across the industry, ranging from companies producing natural or synthetic fabrics and creating home décor, as well as those involved in the manufacture of leather goods and clothing. Although the sector is small, one of the main reasons it has been assigned high priority by the South African Government is its labour-intensive, job creation character. In 2013, CTFL industry accounted for about 14% of manufacturing employment and represented South Africa’s second largest source of tax revenue. The industry facilitates an estimated 60,000 to 80 000 jobs (down from 120 000 jobs) and contributes around 8% to the country’s GDP. Khalala™ facilitates and assists French market entry of South African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the following CTFL Sub Sectors: Natural fibres, including cashmere, wool and mohair value add | Synthetic fibre production | Spinning of yarns, knitting and weaving of fabrics | Dyeing, printing and finishing of fabrics | Non-woven textiles | Household textiles | Clothing manufacturing | Footwear | Leather tanning | Leather products







Lesotho-born South African designer, Thabo Makhetha, who is 26 years old, makes a series of women's capes and jackets from the blanket to create an African luxury brand rooted in heritage and culture and integrated with modern design. In her own words, “to own a Thabo Makhetha garment is to make the statement, I'm beautiful, I'm sophisticated, I'm African!'' In this exclusive interview, KHALALA™ sits down with the creative, intelligent and passionate South African fashion designer and founder of the eponymous fashion label THABO MAKHETHA™. KHALALA™: What are your qualifications as a fashion designer? THABO: I studied National Diploma in Fashion Design at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. KHALALA™: Tell us about THABO MAKETHA™, your empire. THABO: I founded THABO MAKETHA™, my fashion company, in 2009, as a wideeyed 21-year-old graduate. After graduating from NMMU, I could not find work for an extended period of time. I applied everywhere, not just in South Africa but Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and even Overseas. Six months into unemployment, I was faced with three options: 1. Continue applying and hope for a different outcome,


Photographer: Ontha Bang Photography

2. Like many of my fellow graduates, take up a menial job or volunteer within a big fashion house for free or 3. 3. Allow my entrepreneurship instincts to take over. I opted for option 3. Either way, I had nothing to lose and as a young graduate, this was an opportune time for me for take risks as I had less responsibilities at the time.

SECTOR: CTLF KHALALA™: Why did you decide to become a fashion designer? THABO: I’ve always had a love for clothes, not because I’m a material girl or because I love to shop (which I actually do). I’ve always had a love for clothes because it is a perfect way to express myself. It’s a form of wearable art. You can really stand out from a crowd because of the clothes you wear. Clothing is a physical and external way of expressing your personality. I decided to become a fashion designer because I want my style to be purely me and not what a brand, label or anyone else thinks it should be. KHALALA™: Who do you design for? Are you targetmarket driven? THABO: I have three client categories (a) walk in, unsolicited clients, who typically come into my shop, already with an idea in their head of what they would like me to design for them. Often, they even walk in with a sketch or a magazine clip for me to emulate from scratch. (b) There are clients who just require adjustments or redesign of an already existing piece of clothing. I like to refer to them as mass market clientele. Both a and b are very price sentitive. (c) These are my high end fashion clients, who are less price

sensitive and that I target proactively. In their case, I sketch the initial clothing, conduct fittings and adjustments on prototypes and market the product to clothing retailers or distributors. For the three categories, I get to oversee the entire garment production from initial sketch or adjustment to final manufacturing. As you can see, I’m not target market drive per say, it all just depends on this business model which I’m currently executing. KHALALA™: What are your preferences? Being a generalist designer or highly specialized? And why? THABO: Category c above constitutes around 50% of my company’s revenue, generated from the creation of Kobo garments and this is the area I’m most passionate about. However, Categories a and b are equally important for my business as I get to work directly with clients, whether that is through personal styling or sales. This helps me learn how to address client needs and improve my sales skills. The downside is the lack of predictability. This is casual or occasional work which I cannot forecast. Therefore, as my company grows, and I have more recurring scheduled orders from retailers and distributors on what I supply to my C clients, I will either phase out this portion of the business or outsource it.


SECTOR: CTLF KHALALA™: What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer? THABO: Having a concept on paper and seeing it come to life. Seeing the final products is the most rewarding part of the job. The industry can be a lot of time at times, and it is a really tough field to work in. The pressure can sometimes be really high, and it is very competitive. One needs to remain focused and extremely dedicated.

KHALALA™: Is the production of your garments outsourced or done inhouse?

THABO: There have been many great milestones but I’m nowhere near where I would like to be yet. To mention a few, in 2013, I showcased my Kobo Ea Bohali Blankets of Prestige Collection at the Design Indaba Expo in Cape Town under the Emerging Creative Initiative. The Basotho blanket-inspired coats where met with widespread critical acclaim and I was featured as one of the top 10 designers at the expo. Kobo Ea Bohali Collection has also been featured in the lifestyle sections of newspapers: The Herald, City Press and Sunday Times and the glossy pages of Elle Decor SA and Marie Claire SA magazines.

THABO: Every single garment is made inhouse. This gives me complete oversight over the entire manufacturing process and allows me to control quality. I can see the garment as they come to life and if there are alternations that are required, they can be done right there and then. I realize that there may be some cost savings associated with outsourcing certain areas of production however, the drawbacks to this practice are not justifiable for my business model. For quality control reasons, it is extremely important for me to have total control over all aspects of my design, production and manufacturing process. I could consider outsourcing the more labour intensive activities such CMT (cut, make and trip), but this also adds a transport cost element as it introduces geographic complications.

In September 2013, I was one of the semi-finalists of the

KHALALA™: Everything you create is 100% produced

KHALALA™: What have been some of your greatest achievements?


South African Fashion Week's Renault New Talent Search and I topped off the year by being named as one of House and Leisure Magazine's Top 51 Rising Stars of SA Design. I was also listed as one of the 2014 Top 40 under 40 business leaders and entrepreneurs, by the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Business.

SECTOR: CTLF in South Africa. Why is that? THABO: My clients are not necessarily sensitive to local production however, this aspect of my business is very important for various reasons. CTLF sector remains a very significant source of employment, particularly for women. In its rural concentrations, the sector is often the only source of formal employment and many families are dependent on it for their survival. Therefore, exporting jobs to other countries would be similar to exporting bread and butter for these families and I simply cannot do that. Since 2002, the value of the local currency appreciated substantially. This, coupled with massive liberalization of trade since the World Trade Organization’s accession made possible a very rapid and sustained surge in cheap imports, particularly from China. This has and continues to threaten my production capacity, revenue streams as well as the number of jobs I create. This is why it is extremely important for me to continue to focus on quality as this is an area that differenciates my work from that of my competitors. KHALALA™: There is a trend right now of using organic fabric. And there is all this talk about eco fashion. What do you think about it? THABO: I think it is nothing more than a cynical marketing ploy.

For me, eco fashion is a very intelligent marketing exercise designed to appeal to shoppers’ consciences at a time of heightened eco awareness. Although many brands spout the green message, I question whether a business model based on disposable fashion is capable of truly being environmentally friendly. After all, some 7.5 billion items of clothing are sent to landfills each year. I am yet to see evidence to the contrary of my belief since to date, I have not seen anything to justify that it is saving the world in one way or the other. KHALALA™: Is there significant interest for your designs internationally? THABO: I have a huge international footprint. However, as I use ecommerce to reach this customer base, delivery times and shipping costs have been a challenge in the past. These days, even four to six days delivery can be too long of a wait for customers who are used to next or same day deliver options. Modern international consumers are accustomed to instant gratification when they shop online or on their mobile device. Unfortunately in the fashion industry, we custom make some garments and this takes time. Then you still have to factor in shipping time. I have also had international clients abandon their shopping carts because of shipping and handling fees. Because of all of these challenges, I’ve had to DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 44

SECTOR: CTLF review my shipping strategy and determine a solution that cuts into my margins as little as possible yet remains attractive to my customers. KHALALA™: How many fashion shows have you participated in? THABO: Domestically, I have showcased twice at the Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in Johannesburg. Internationally, I have showcased at the Vancouver Fashion Week in Canada in 2014 as well as in London. This month, I will be participating at the L’Artigiano in Fiera trade show, to showcase the designs I exhibited earlier this year at the South African Fashion Week in Johannesburg. I’m so excited because unlike the trade show in London I went to years earlier, L’Artigiano has more of an


indaba feel where people can buy from you instantly instead of placing orders. The timing is perfect because it is winter that side and my collection is for autumn/ winter 2016 and it just works because potential buyers can see what I’ve got to offer. If you can make it in Milan, you can make it anywhere as it is the uber city on the international fashion circuit. KHALALA™: How much does it typically cost to pull together that type of a show? Can an emerging SME do it without external funding (sponsors, etc)? THABO: The cost depends on whether the show is private or shared with other designers. Funding opportunities are there, but limited as competition is intense. In most instances, SMEs cannot afford to fund their participation from their own cash flow, especially for international trade shows. There are exhibition fees, travel and accommodation expenses, the cost is massive. But luckily, South African Government Departments such as the Department of Trade and Industry offer various trade show assistance programmes to support international trade show presence. Private funding is possible as well, but one has to be aggressive and proactive. Participating at international trade shows is one of the most effective ways for me to enter into new international markets or expand my brand

visibility into existing markets. KHALALA™: In general terms, how has participation at the various fashion weeks impacted your bottom line? THABO: Fashion weeks are a great platform for me to showcase my talent to both my peers and to potential consumers. It’s a great way to promote the THABO MAKETHA™ brand and gain the much needed exposure to attract potential direct customers and potential retail buyers. However, exposure is just a small part of the business. Having greater market access has been phenomenal especially when one has their manufacturing capability in place. Quality, reliability, on time delivery, price and original, innovative designs are all part of what is needed to be successful in the real world, following this incredible exposure. KHALALA™: Do you have any special goal with your clothes? (Inspire anyone? Be famous? Basotho Cultural exchange, etc)? THABO: I have a mix of goals. Firstly, you must remember that I ended up in this business as a result of unemployment. At the beginning, there was never any grand plan to build an empire or to have fame. I was purely at an intersection and needed to put food on the table. I had to come up with a plan, and come up with it fast. Everything changed for

me after attending the Durban July back in 2012 where I showed up dressed in one of my signature Kobo blankets coats. The media interest around my attire took me by complete surprise. On that day, I was named by Metro FM Radio Station as Best Dressed Female. Media interest grew intensely after that, labeling me as an upcoming designer to watch. I had no idea why they would say that, but now I understand. What I now aim to achieve with my designs is to give my own interpretation of how I think Basotho people would be dessing today if Africa was never colonized. I believe that the Western, modern influence would still be there, but Basothos would have largely kept their own unique aesthetic. KHALALA™: Which fashion designer inspires you? And why? THABO: Laduma Ngxokolo, who in my view, is one of Africa's finest knitwear designer and innovator through his Xhosa inspired knitwear brand MAXHOSA BY LADUMA. We both studied at NMMU in Port Elizabeth, however his concentration was on textile design and he was also one academic year behind me. He is massively successful both, domestically and internationally. He is a true agent of change. He keeps shifting and evolving with the changing times and further engaging in the dialogue that

SECTOR: CTLF pushes traditional culture to the future. KHALALA™: What are your plans for the future? Where do you see Thabo Makhetha in the next 5 – 10 years? THABO: I want to grow my brand and take my business to the next level. I’m building an empire, I’m working on leaving a legacy and I have only just begun. I have had great international exposure, I’ve tested different markets and the appetite is definitely there. My next focus is to diversify into other facets of design so that I’m not only known for catering for women clothing. I will, however, stick to the heritage signature. As Africans, it is very important to rewrite our history, as the bulk of it has been written from a colonial perspective. We have a duty to define who we are, as authentically as we possibly can. KHALALA™: What’s next in the near future? THABO: Apart from taking big strides internationally, I will be relocating to Cape Town early next year in the hope of growing the brand and moving more towards retail. I have pushed as far as I can in Port Elizabeth and lately, I have been getting the feeling that I’m missing out on bigger opportunities from people who want to collaborate on projects with me. But even though I


SECTOR: CTLF will be based in Cape Town, my seamstresses will still be in Port Elizabeth and they will continue creating quality items because they know how it is done and how I want my garments to look █





The creative industries have long been neglected in mainstream trade and industry policy in South Africa even though they have been recognised as a significant contributor to the economies of developed economies such as Canada, the UK and Australia. In its broadest conceptualisation, the creative economy in OECD countries grew at an annual rate that was more than twice that of the services industries and more than four times that of manufacturing. Estimates are that the creative economy is growing annually at 5% per annum and is likely to triple in size globally by 2020 (Howkins, 2001). Through various Government policies, the creative industries, particularly craft, music and film sectors, have been identified as one of the drivers of sustainable economic opportunities and livelihoods for local communities whilst expanding business opportunities for small, medium enterprises (SMEs). Khalala™ facilitates and assists French market entry of South African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the following creative industries sub sectors: Film | Crafts | Music | Performing Arts | Visual Arts







ACE, SELF ESTEEM AND DOLL SELECTION have always been inextricably linked since the "doll tests" conducted by Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark in the 1940s. For these tests, Black

children between the ages of three and seven were shown dolls with different complexions and asked which race best reflects their own and, second, which race they preferred. Most of the children identified themselves as the Black doll but most preferred the White doll and attributed positive characteristics to it. The study concluded that the "prejudice, discrimination, and segregation" of that era caused Black children to develop a sense of inferiority. Few people get to change the status quo and make a stand for Africa as much as MOLEMO KGOMO has. As founder of NTOMBENHLE DOLLS™, she has literally changed the face of the toy making industry by introducing a set of Black African Dolls, aimed at the empowering children of African descent and their counterparts to be confident and matured ethically. She has worked tirelessly on this initiative, and today we get to spend some time with her and find out more about her business. KHALALA™: Please introduce yourself MOLEMO: My name is Molemo Kgomo, I am the creator and founder of NTOMBENHLE DOLLS™. I am an entrepreneur, a business woman with a tremendous drive to succeed and a mom of two girls, Relebogile 12 and Tshepo 8. I grew up in Johannesburg and went to school here. When I’m not manufacturing dolls, I watch movies, read or go to church. I also derive great deal of joy from helping the grade 1 teacher with teaching kids how to read at the school where my children attend.


KHALALA™: What were you doing before you got into the doll business? MOLEMO: I worked as a flight attendant for Comair for about six years then moved on to work for South African Airways as a flight attendant for about five and a half years. I loved traveling and seeing the world and the experience was amazing. I also ran my own business as a Steel merchant. This was a

SECTOR: CREATIVE INDUSTRIES (FILM, MUSIC & CRAFT) very male dominated industry but I did quite well. KHALALA™: What ignited the spark in you to embark on this unique business adventure? MOLEMO: After looking and not really succeeding in finding a nice doll for my daughter in South Africa, I asked family in the USA and my mum who did a lot of traveling to Germany, to look for me in her travels. When that attempt also failed, I identified a niche which had been created by the lack of pretty black dolls which my daughter could relate to. I took it upon myself to create the type of doll I could not find for my daughter. I embarked on a search for manufacturers at home and overseas and found one in China. I boarded a plane to China to go and physically meet with them to explain the concept. I demonstrated what I needed and I even posed as a model for the dolls. I showed them books so that they could even visualize my vision. I was adamant and refused to give up on my dream even after being told that there was no market for Black Dolls in SA, that the only distribution option was to sell my creations from my garage. I conducted extensive market research, which infact revealed that most Black parents were keen to move away from Eurocentric beauty standards as depicted though a doll with silky straight blonde hair, super skinny with blue eyes dolls. By creating this range, little did I know that I would be answering the call of millions of other moms around the world who wanted their children to have dolls that represented them. The dolls have beautiful brown skin, brown eyes, short hair and curves. In addition, they celebrate the heritage of each of the South African cultures. They are dressed in apparel



representing eight South African cultures, namely, Zulu, Sotho, Pedi, Swazi, Ndebele, Venda, Tsonga, Xhosa. The goal of NTOMBENHLE DOLLS™ is to provide little girls with a play doll which they can see themselves in and therefore start the process of redefining the definition of beauty in South African girls. The dolls can be played with by all races, as we see with white dolls. They help foster tolerance, understanding and friendship between children from different cultural backgrounds. KHALALA™: How big is your organization? What is your primary role in the company? Describe what might be a typical week or day MOLEMO: I am the only director in the company but I am assisted by Tsholofelo Dietsiso who helps me with the logistics as that is her field of expertise. Our days are really mostly relaxed as we plan what needs to be done so that we are not rushed in trying to deliver the dolls. We also work with an amazing courier company that handles our deliveries. Very often, I make deliveries myself on days when the workload is not too heavy. This is crucial for my business as I get to interact with clients who are consuming my brand. I get instant feedback and this is fundamental for organizational growth and success. KHALALA™: Which channels do you use to sell the dolls? MOLEMO: In this modern world of technology, the internet is probably one of the biggest and most significant inventions to have come about. We would be foolish to ignore it as a channel with a substantial route to market. Beside direct customer purchases, that’s the route we are using to distribute the dolls. It’s much easier and cheaper to setup compared to a physical store. There is no loss to theft, DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 54

SECTOR: CREATIVE INDUSTRIES (FILM, MUSIC & CRAFT) we operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. KHALALA™: Out of the range of eight, which are your most popular dolls so far? MOLEMO: It's a mix of popularity, however the Zulu and Ndebele dolls are popular amongst international purchasers and I think it has a lot to do with the ethnical bead work. South Africans, on the other hand tend to buy according to their cultural groups. KHALALA™: Besides selling domestically, have you managed to penetrate other markets? MOLEMO: Yes, I have. The media exposure coupled with our online store has given me access to a much wider geographical pool of customers. I now sell to people all around the globe. I have managed to increase my company sales as there is a higher amount of people who buy from me, which might not have been the case if I only focused on my local catchment area. KHALALA™: Domestically, which well known chain stores distribute your merchandise? MOLEMO: My immediate goal is to have the dolls held by various retail stores across South Africa in 2016. In the medium to long term, I would like to have the dolls fully manufactured locally, not just for my brand, but for other players in the industry. The resultant economies of scale will help drop the cost of production. KHALALA™: NTOMBENHLE DOLLS™ are manufactured and assembled in China instead of in South Africa. Why is that? MOLEMO: NTOMBENHLE DOLLS™are manufactured in China simply because there was or still no doll manufacturer in SA . Hopefully



I will change this soon to ensure that we use local content to create sustainable economic development, be it creating jobs and developing local businesses or building skills and improving technologies. Through such import replacement efforts, we can hopefully contribute towards our Government’s set public policy objectives, geared towards enabling economic capital at the national and subnational level. Some of the dolls are, however assembled locally as they are dressed in Hammanskraal through a cooperative. I am constantly on the look out for great female talent, with immacable quality to handle sewing for me. We are constantly looking at empowering our women. And although manufacturing in China has helped us maintain international competitiveness through lower manufacturing costs, it is not without challenges. The long turnaround times can be a huge impediment, especially if one is handling a big or multiple orders with specified deadlines. Then ofcourse one has to overcome the language and cultural differences, which can be hard when trying get messages across. The biggest issue however is quality control. We are not there to oversee production throughought the entire manufacturing process. All of these hidden costs can be eliminated through an introduction of a local manufacturer. KHALALA™: What’s your reaction to some of your competitor’s remarks that African Dolls dressed in traditional attire do not appeal to children as they don’t reflect the reality of today? MOLEMO: People have a choice of which doll to buy, and from where. This is the beauty of competition as it introduces choice for consumers. Ultimately, it goes down to the message you want to instill in your child, in an African child. I strongly believe that self image is DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 56

SECTOR: CREATIVE INDUSTRIES (FILM, MUSIC & CRAFT) one of the biggest contributing factors to identity crisis issues amongst young black African women and it is imperative to expose this audience, from a very young age, to our rich heritage and diversity. I believe that through the dolls, we are driving a greater agenda for radical social change. The dolls are not skinny, they are more realistic of what a woman on the street looks like. Strangely enough, children and adults also seem to like the fact that the eyes on our dolls can move. KHALALA™: The African Doll industry is becoming tough, competitive and saturated. Local competition includes Momppy Mpoppy, coupled with stiff competition from around the Continent, including the likes of The Queens of Africa and Naija Princess dolls, produced by Nigerian businessman, Taofick Okoya. With so many emerging manufacturers of African Dolls in the market, how do you differentiate your dolls to make sure that they stand out from the competition? And most importantly that they attract the interest of top retail establishments and wholesale distributors? MOLEMO: I met Taofick Okoya at the 7th Black dolls expo held in the UK in June. No, I do not view him as my competitor. We are all driving the same social agenda of redefining beauty standards for African girls. Even though our products are not quite the same, competition is good because it pushes me to think more innovatively, which is necessary for the growth of my business. If I was the only player in my field, it could be difficult to improve. Healthy competition is helping me diffenciate my product offering and concentrate on distinguishing our dolls from others.



KHALALA™: What small wins can you celebrate right now? MOLEMO: People from the United Kingdom, Australia, USA, France, Netherlands are placing orders on a daily basis. Even from countries such as Hong Kong. Who would have throught? This shows that my brand is out there, and I can now focus on using this awareness to create a long term position in the market place. KHALALA™: What have been some of your mistakes and what have you learnt from them? MOLEMO: Mistakes are unavoidable, but the truly successful learn from these setbacks and move on to become wiser. The goal is to increase your chances of success. Being an entrepreneur is hard. It takes sacrifice. There are no overnight successes (well, maybe one or two), but for most successes out there, the real backstory is much more tumultuous. Success is almost never linear. Sometimes there are ups and downs, rights and lefts, forwards and backwards. The goal is to take one or two steps forward every day, with the understanding that there will be setbacks. Building a business takes time. You need to be able to weather the storms and take advantage of serendipity. KHALALA™: What advice would you give to South Africans thinking about pursuing entrepreneurship? MOLEMO: The key question for people wanting to venture into entrepreneurship is what are you willing to do in order to be what you want to be? It's not enough to say you want to start a business. You have to want to do all the necessary difficult things that are required to support that goal. DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 58

SECTOR: CREATIVE INDUSTRIES (FILM, MUSIC & CRAFT) KHALALA™: Sometimes it feels so easy to give up. How does one remain persistant and perservere in the sea of obstacles? MOLEMO: First of all; you must remain rationally optimistic. Okay, so maybe things don’t always go exactly as you planned. Maybe you sometimes face unanticipated challenges or things just don’t happen as fast or as easily as you’d like them to. That’s OK. Because the more you live life, the more you’ll see that things usually happen differently than we expected. But they do happen for the best and usually they turn out quite well. So take it easy and stay rationally optimistic. Secondly, embrace your setbacks. You willfind that most millionaires, billionaires, and hugely successful people in general say that some of their greatest “setbacks” were actually indispensable components of their success. Often, without these so-called “setbacks” they would not have learned what was necessary to achieve their success. So be sure to embrace your so-called setbacks as opportunities to learn more. It’s very likely that these frustrations are indeed vital elements to your ultimate happiness and success. Thirdly, take Breaks. Really…Don’t work yourself to death as you try to reach your goals. Take breaks. Meditate. Read. Sip some tea. Live a little. Sometimes our greatest insights and creative solutions come during those moments when we give ourselves a break. We now know that Einstein achieved many of his ground-breaking creative insights during his “down time,” when he wasn’t in the lab hard at work.


SECTOR: CREATIVE INDUSTRIES (FILM, MUSIC & CRAFT) Lastly, realize that you’re aways right where you need to be. No matter how close you are to your next goal, chances are you already have another one in place. So don’t beat yourself up about not being “there” yet, because the truth is that right now at this very moment, you are exactly where you should be on your journey towards success. KHALALA™: Fast forward five years from now, what do you hope you would have accomplished? MOLEMO: I would like to be in all major stores all over the world and attain one hundred percent local content in the manufacturing process of my dolls █


CONTACT US KHALALA™ MAGAZINE Office: +33 (9) 53 56 93 82 Mobile: +33 (6) 95 58 88 07 Email: Paris, France





Cosmetics are substances or mixtures of substances intended to be placed in contact with external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, etc.) or with the teeth and mucous membranes of the oral cavity to clean, beautify, perfume or protect them, change their appearance, keep them in good condition or correct body odours. The South African cosmetic and personal care industry is vibrant and dynamic, comprising an interesting mix of multinational giants, small, medium and large local brand owners, and entrepreneurial companies. The industry is selfregulated, ascribes to high quality standards and is well placed to make its mark in the international arena. The total size of the South African cosmetics and personal care products market for 2010 was estimated at R25.3 billion at retail level and contributes 1% to the gross domestic product (GDP). Khalala™ facilitates French market entry of South African Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the following Cosmetics Sub Sectors: Fragrances | Hair care | Skin care | Deodorants | Bath and shower









Photographer: Justin Dingwall

and Catwalk Model, Thando Hopa - deemed the “new face of fashion” in 2015 - challenges prejudices with her beauty, albeit as a woman with albinism. Beauty with brains, this 25 year old with a law degree is tackling male chauvinism as a prosecutor at the National Prosecuting Authority, located in the heart of Johannesburg, not far from the offices where Nelson Mandela worked as an attorney in the 1950s. Thando suffers from a condition called albinism, where her body is unable to produce melanin, the pigment that determines skin, eye and hair colour. Growing up in Soweto, with snowy skin and blonde hair, Thando physically looked different from her peers and endured her fair share of teasing and torment. Her condition also weakened her eyesight, making reading and studying difficult for her at school. Not only did she have to apply sunscreen every two hours but also had to ensure that

she was always covered up to protect her pale skin from direct sunlight. Defying all the odds against her, Thando become a ceiling crusher of note through tenacity and strong family support. The trigger for her success

occurred in 2012, when her striking looks earned her a spot in the glamorous modeling industry after being spotted by a top South African


SECTOR: COSMETICS Fashion Designer, GertJohan Coetzee at a commercial mall in downtown Johannesburg. Following this random encounter, Thando and Gert-Johan started speaking about changing conventional standards of beauty by addressing social ills surrounding the perceptions of albinism. They then decided to form a collaboration, which has since opened many doors for her. She is now among a growing number of models with albinism, who are gaining international recognition. This recognition includes being appointed as the flawless face of Vichy’s newest sun care range, Capital Soleil.

KHALALA™: Where did you study law? When did you graduate and what was your area of concentration?

Photographer: Justin Dingwall

We chatted to Thando to learn more about her double career.

THANDO: I studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. I graduated in 2011. I did not specialise, I was more of a general law practitioner. KHALALA™: In the legal fraternity, specifically, DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 66

many women still face several obstacles in the workplace due to stereotyping, inequalities, prejudice particularly. What strategies do you think they can use to overcome these challenges, drawing

from your own personal experiences? THANDO: In my opinion, a code of conduct between

SECTOR: COSMETICS colleagues is necessary. Women should not be expected to unilaterally conquer these challenges without the assistance of their employers, laws and policies. In my experience, colleagues judge you on the merit of your work; I have rarely found myself in a situation where I felt undermined particularly because of my gender. I further know that labour law in South Africa makes a genuine effort to address these issues. Thus if there's cooperation from the employer and a conscious effort to nurture professionalism, these obstacles will have a better chance of being overcome.

Photographer: Justin Dingwall

KHALALA™: Human Rights attorney, Richard Spoor, set the cat among the pigeons recently with his offhand commentary that highlights the glaring racial privileges and disadvantages in SA’s legal fraternity. Responding to a Facebook post that noted the conspicuous racial make-up of legal counsel representing both mine workers and mine in the Silicosis class action lawsuit where just about all the attorneys and advocates are white, Spoor controversially justified the absence of any black

advocates were unwilling to work for reduced fees and were generally not on par with their white counterparts. What’s your view on Spoor’s observation?

THANDO: It is extremely worrying that such statements are made so loosely by legal professionals. It stands in opposition, not just to one particular group,


SECTOR: COSMETICS but it is an impediment to the progress of the country. There needs to be a departure from the ideology that the monopoly hold of the previously advantaged is sustainable and compatible with the South Africa we are trying to build.

THANDO: In the public sector I have not personally seen a representation of the DECEMBER 2015 KHALALA™ | 68

Photographer: Justin Dingwall

KHALALA™: While many companies are investing heavily in female empowerment, gender diversity in business leadership is still sorely lacking. According to Grant Thornton’s 2015 International Business Report on Women in Business, only 22% of senior management roles are held by women and almost a third of businesses have no women at all in their senior leadership teams. Furthermore, SA has one of the largest gender pay gaps in the world – an estimated 35% disparity between the wages of men and women. What, in your view, is the contributing factor to firstly, lack of gender diversity, specifically within the legal sector where you currently work as a Public Prosecutor? And secondly, to the widening gender pay gap?

statistics you quote, and I cannot elaborate from a point of authority. However, one should question the extent to which tools of upward mobility are enforced in the efforts of achieving gender equality in both the

public and private sector. KHALALA™: Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your albinism? THANDO: I have, that is why we need the media icons such as


Photographer: Nick Boulton

“ I have been approached to do modeling before, but I didn't go for it because I never saw the benefits. I thought, 'It's such a shallow profession -- why would I want to do that? I am a lawyer.'" Gert-Johan, and international brands such as Vichy and to help educate and form different and positive perceptions about albinism. KHALALA™: How do you feel about the controversy of the size zero debate in the industry? THANDO: South African media seems to embrace the more curvaceous woman and even in the modelling industry girls are allowed to have curves. The size 0 issue isn't a topical debate in this country. I try to be healthy and not chase a certain

KHALALA™: If a young girl / boy had a choice between being a model and a Public Prosecutor, what would your advice for them be? THANDO: I would tell them that both professions have a lot to offer. To a large extent, the choice depends on security, passion, age and so on. Modeling is better done at a younger age because it offers significant financial return with very little security and relies on your image.

hand requires your intellect and skill, so it's a profession that can wait for you" KHALALA™: Would you date someone who was overweight? THANDO: I would date anyone whom I found intellectually attractive. KHALALA™: Have you done anything to your hair or is it naturally colored?



THANDO: My hair is naturally blonde and I wear it in its natural state. KHALALA™: Do you eat nutritiously? How often do you exercise or go to the gym? THANDO: I am not a health fanatic, but I try to eat healthily, and I’m afraid I don’t exercise often enough! KHALALA™: How do you prepare for a modeling shoot? THANDO: It depends what I am shooting for and what is required for the shoot. Generally I make sure I am well groomed so that I can be a blank canvas for the make-up artist. KHALALA™: What is fun and rewarding about modeling? What do you dislike? THANDO: I love photographic modelling – working with photographers, seeing different styles of shooting and lighting. I love seeing how their vision translates into a beautiful image on the screen. I am not too fond of walking on the ramp in uncomfortable shoes and with bright lights in my eyes, because my eyes are very sensitive. Photographer: Justin Dingwall


KHALALA™: How has modeling changed other aspects of your life? THANDO: Oddly enough, it has made me love myself more. I am more comfortable now going out without wearing make-up, for instance, and leaving my hair natural in its uncombed state with little locks. Before I started modelling, I was shy about how pale I am without make-up. And working with make up artists have taught me what shades complement my colour when I do want to wear make up █

“Limitations cannot define your will. No matter what obstacle or hardship you are faced with, you can still find your spot in the sun and continue to shine�

THANDO HOPA Lawyer | Model

Photographer: Justin Dingwall

CONTACT US KHALALA™ MAGAZINE Office: +33 (9) 53 56 93 82 Mobile: +33 (6) 95 58 88 07 Email: Paris, France




Khalala™ Magazine December 2015  

KHALALA™ Magazine is a tool we use to promote African SMEs internationalli. It is a FREE digital publication, released quarterly by KHALALA™...

Khalala™ Magazine December 2015  

KHALALA™ Magazine is a tool we use to promote African SMEs internationalli. It is a FREE digital publication, released quarterly by KHALALA™...