Stories of South Africa

Image: Instagram

South African Formula E driver Kelvin van der Linde gets ready to represent Africa

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

History will be made on February 25 when the ABB FIA Formula E Championship takes to Cape Town city streets in what will be the first ePrix held in Sub-Saharan Africa. South African Formula E driver, 26-year-old Kelvin van der Linde is set to race, making him the first African to participate in the race.

The fifth instalment of this year’s 16-round series promises to deliver a high-speed spectacle as 11 teams and 22 of the world’s best drivers, including Mzansi’s own Kelvin, tackle a 2.94km circuit in the series’ ultra-fast Gen 3 racing cars campaigned by manufacturers such as Jaguar, Porsche, Nissan and Maserati.

Born & raised in South Africa, Kelvin started his racing career in Karting at the age of 8 in 2005. Since then, Kelvin has won multiple National and International Titles, as well as one of the Worlds biggest Endurance races, the 24H of Nurburgring.

In 2011 Kelvin became the youngest ever driver to compete in a National South African Circuit event at age 14 and then went on to become South Africa’s youngest ever National Champion at the age of 16 years and 128 days the following year.

2013 was a breakthrough year for Kelvin as he made even more history when he won his first International Championship. At the age of 17, Kelvin became the youngest ever winner of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup and earned his place as a Volkswagen supported Junior driver for the 2014 season. Leading on from the previous year’s success, Kelvin wrapped up back to back European titles when he became the youngest ever ADAC GT Masters Champion at age 18 driving an Audi R8 LMS Ultra.

Kelvin’s success at a young age, promoted him to the role as an Audi Factory driver and since 2015, he has been competing as a Professional racing driver for the brand, winning some of the world’s most prestigious events.

South Africans and Africans at large are super proud of Kelvin for making it this far and have been showing him support since his participation in the race was announced, wishing him all the best.

Now that’s the true South African spirit!

Image: Instagram

Brother and sister duo, Biko’s Manna melt the world’s hearts with their talent

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Biko and Manna Nhlangothi are a sister and brother duo raised by musician parents that perform as Biko Manna. They’ve been dazzling crowds with their street performances in their home county of South Africa for several years but have recently hit it big by covering popular songs on Tik Tok and Instagram.

From Jazz to Pop, this amazing duo’s musical range is versatile and has won the hearts of many. Of course, if you’re familiar with their videos, you would’ve repeatedly seen their little brother who busts out some of the coolest, most hilarious moves – talk about true choreography!

Biko’s Manna was recently celebrated by American actress, Gabriella Union’s daughter, Kaavia James Union Wade on her Instagram account, writing, ” Biko Nhlangothi has become an internet sensation recently and I can’t get enough! Biko and her brother’s, Manna and Mfundo, are a family band that perform as where they’ve been wowing crowds with their street performances in their home country of South Africa. The band has been performing for several years now, but Biko has been singing since she was five. You can tell she is such a natural at it! This cover of ‘Put Your Records On’ has been on repeat lately and I urge you all to take a listen. Keep shining Biko I can’t wait to see what you cover next!”

Here are some of our favorite covers by the talented brother-sister duo:

Image: Instagram

Noxolo Fani on her successful concrete company and entrepreneural journey

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Noxolo Fani is a black entrepreneur who owns a construction company, and everyday she’s breaking new grounds and making history – paving the way for younger generations, proving that taking calculated risks can be very rewarding.

Phenomenal Light Construction specializes in concrete and is Noxolo’s pride and joy. Some of the work they do includes door hanging, kitchen cupboards, built-in cupboards, shop fitting, ceilings, and general woodwork. They even give out DIY tips to make your home, office or any space more aesthetically pleasing.

In March 2022, Noxolo was announced as part of the 15 female entrepreneurs selected for the Sasol Women in Engineering Incubator Program.

“It’s really taken me back to thinking on how many years of crazy loads of work, early mornings, stress and sleepless nights it’s taken to get to where I am as an entrepreneur and as a businesswoman. The journey is ongoing and still full of those elements every now and again,” she said about her achievement.

“But you know what!? Every now and again the universe/God reassures us that our work does not go unnoticed! That we can succeed and that our dreams and efforts are valid! All the work I do may be a love letter to my boys that they might know and understand that it’s important to push oneself despite doubt, despite societal norms, cultural and worldly noise, despite challenges internal and external…

That one can achieve and reach more than they once thought possible simply because they believe in themselves and their wild & crazy dreams… and that I too believe in their crazy wild dreams because I lived it out in my own life!

But it is also a love letter to every young person especially those who are coming from small townships such as myself and affected by our history as a country through poverty etc. That you matter, you’re able and capable and you’re resilient enough. You have everything you need within and a bit externally as well in inspiration from those who pave the way for all in transforming our country and changing the narrative!

I’m always excited for the journey ahead but mostly to see more young women truly live out their dreams and shine! Nothing makes me happier than watching young people thrive especially women

Keep at it and if you haven’t started start where you are, with what you have. It’s never too late to start,” she continued.

In August last year, Noxolo was awarded the Mail & Guardian Powerful Women in Business Award, adding to her many accolades. Her journey continues to inspire many, and we can’t wait to see what else is up her sleeve!

Image: Facebook

The women of have a passion for traditional patterns with a modern twist

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Traditional patterns and materials often bring a sense of identity and pride in people, especially a diverse people like South Africans. This is exactly why this group of creative women living in Johannesburg, Gauteng, decided to start a The range is a collection of beautiful and practical items made from traditional 3 Cats Shwe Shwe.

The Eco Smart Group was founded in 2011 to upskill disadvantaged women, as well as provide mentorship and entrepreneurial support for women who do not have direct access to market opportunities. Their model is based around creating a circular economy within South Africa to create long term solutions and assist with the unemployment crisis.

Instead of waiting for handouts, these women decided to get together and put their passion for tradition and fashion to good use. “Our mission is to create jobs and reduce waste to landfill, so while you could never tell, the foundation and lining of all of our products are made from up-cycled billboards, tents and even off cuts from car seat overs! Some of our trims have also been reclaimed from old bags and other goodies,” they write on their website.

Image: Instagram

Althea is a DIY queen and so much more!

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

The days where women were expected to always be in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant, while the men build houses are long gone and have been for a while. Nowadays, women embrace that they are just as capable and versatile as the next person.

One such young woman is Althea, a Do-It-Yourself queen with a face fit for television! “A woman of many talents,” in her own words. Althea has a passion for building and making beautiful homes, and recently she turned her low-cost home into a stunning upmarket guesthouse in a township.

Althea believes in staying in her own lane and focusing on her goals. ” The journey is not a race, it’s a marathon. The act of running is simple, one foot in front of the other. “The art of becoming a runner is achieved through a new mindset and commitment to change, especially if it’s new to you. It’s tough, challenging, painful, sometimes lonely, regularly uncomfortable and often excruciating…but the rewards are second to none, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that. I look at life exactly the same way,” she wrote on her Instagram account.

When she’s not busy building beautiful homes, you can find Althea’s gorgeous face on some of the most popular skin care products, proving that she truly is a woman of many talents!

Image: Instagram

Mia’s inspirational back yard salon

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Making a dream come true can be quite daunting if you’re met with many obstacles, but when Pretoria woman, Mia decided that nothing was going to stand in her way, her business, The Gentle Touch Co was born.

The Gentle Touch Co is a space where hair care meets relaxation, comfort and specialized hair treatment. The inspiration behind The Gentle Touch Co was taken from the history of a young black girl getting her hair done at the salon or in the living room by her mother.

The memory behind hair care has always been rough mishandling and maybe a few comb knocks to the head. The services offered at The Gentle Touch Co have been intentionally designed to care not only for hair but for health too. They believe in the importance of being knowledgeable and making use of natural ingredients that provide the best nourishment for all hair types.

Mia operates her business in the back yard of her home, and documents days of her life on Tik Tok and Instagram. Users of these platforms not only love the services her business offers, but her leadership style and humility as well. She treats her employees with the utmost respect and prays with them each morning before the rush.

Her journey is an inspiration to many, and proof that all you need to make a dream become reality is hard work, determination and humility.

Image: Twitter

Ozwane Mahlangu goes from being a domestic worker to a hotel manager

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

After completing her matric at the age of 38, Mpumalanga woman, Ozwane Mahlangu decided that being a domestic worker was not going to be her job forever, she was determined to climb the ladder in the hospitality industry – and she did!

Ozwane, affectionately known as Oz to her colleagues, was staying at ANEW Hotel Capital when she studied for her matric exams. Now, 12 years later, she has been appointed General Manager of the same hotel.

Growing up on a farm in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, access to schools during her childhood was limited due to the rural nature of farm life. Ozwane started working for a family as a domestic worker, and as time passed, she realized that this was not for her.

After getting married, her family moved to a farm where she worked in the self-catering units, and guests would often rave about the services she rendered, hoping that her talents would not be wasted in cleaning alone, forever.

Ozwane started as a cleaner and an assistant to a housekeeper at Anew Hotel Capital, and after just three months, she moved to the kitchen as a waiter and ended up as General Manager.

With the more senior role, she realized there were more responsibilities and was determined to embrace them all. She also wanted to be fluent in the English language, through a lot of reading, she achieved this goal.

Ozwane did not stop her academic career at matric, she took on multiple courses over the years, including a wine course. Upskilling herself, mixed with the passion she has for her industry, and sheer determination is proving to be Ozwane’s winning equation!

Image: Instagram

Siyabonga Ngwenya’s Yummy Thingz wins Best Restaurant Award at Soweto Tourism Awards

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Food is one of the most fundamental things in humanity, like music and other arts, it brings people together and even defines cultures. When people agree on food, their bond often becomes even stronger than before. And that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when the people of South Africa’s biggest township, Soweto, came together and voted the Yummy Things Best Restaurant at the Soweto Tourism Awards.

Chef and co-founder of the establishment, Siyabonga Ngwenya took to Twitter to thank his patrons, and as a result, even more people on the platform were curious about the restaurant and vowed to visit it.

Like many entrepreneurs, especially in the arts and hospitality industries, Siyabonga has faced his fair share of challenges. The Soweto-born chef was a chef at the FNB Merchant Place in Sandton before the COVID-19 pandemic but was retrenched due to the disruptions.

However, Siyabonga was not about to give up. He instead started his business, Yummy Thingz under lockdown and ran operations from his home in Soweto. It grew quickly and he found himself in a position where he had no choice but to expand operations.

Now, the establishment he started under such strenuous conditions is considered the best restaurant in the whole of Soweto, what an inspiration!

So, the next time you’re in Soweto, you know where to grab a bite!

Image: Supplied

Nolwazi Ngubeni’s final bow on Scandal!

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

Nolwazi Ngubeni is one of South Africa’s most talented, seasoned actresses. We’ve seen her face on shows that date as far back as the early 2000s. Her most recent character was Mbali Kubeka on eTV’s Scandal!

Mbali has gone from being Jojo’s loyal wife to becoming a conniving stalker who wants no one around her husband. She’s turned into a scheming manipulator, overly ambitious, driven and prepared to do whatever it takes to get her dream life. Coming from a modest home in Snake Park, Mbali always dreamt of a better life for herself.

When she met Jojo, she saw all of her dreams coming true and immediately began lying in order to become Mrs Kubeka. Jojo used to believe that Mbali was a flower in need of protection, but once he started to see who she really is, he wondered if he wasn’t the one in need of protection instead.

Despite her flaws, Mbali truly loves Jojo and her actions, while questionable, are fueled by her need to be with him and give him the family and future he also wants. When Mbali married Jojo, she placed all her ambitions in him and so without him, she is left with nothing. Mbali is unable to carry a child, which left a big scar on her own sense of femininity. These struggles birthed the manipulative, dangerous liar that she eventually became.

“Being on Scandal! has been one of the greatest joys of my career. I truly appreciate the immense support the producers, cast and crew have shown me. I walk away with fond memories as I prepare to take on the next phase of my journey. Thank you to all the viewers for watching and consistently supporting my work. Onwards and upwards,” she said.

The South African actress, casting director and producer, who became a household name when she was awarded a  South African Film and Television Awards gong for her role in the 2008 production A Place Called Home, has earned her place on TV screens locally and abroad.

She also featured in the 2011 drama film Otelo Burning that earned her two nominations for best actress at the Safta and Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (best actress in a feature film). Nolwazi was also an actress in Single GuyzNothing for MahalaMzali Wami while working as a casting director in The Chemo ClubFarewell Ella BellaMTV ShugaAboMamaUmlilo and the multi-award-winning soap opera Rhythm City.

As she leaves Scandal!, the multitalented thespian will continue her journey as casting director in the new season of Mzansi Magic’s telenovela Umkhokha while also acting in another production that is yet to be announced.

Image: Twitter

Hulisani Ravele supports Teen Suicide Prevention Week

BY Nkosazana Ngwadla

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) raises awareness on teen suicide as February 12–19, 2023, marks Teen Suicide Prevention Week to assist families in doing a mental health “check in” with teenagers.

Following a string of teen suicide reports across the country, the organization says it is pivotal to confront this maturing challenge.

SADAG is focusing on creating awareness that teen depression and suicide is a particular high risk in South African teens as the mental health impact of COVID19 has been immense, especially as they navigate a new world of online learning or delayed learning, social isolation, loss, grief and trauma, with increased anxiety and depression.

Psychiatrist and SADAG Board Chairperson, Dr Frans Korb, says “There is a myth that depression or suicide doesn’t affect teens or children, in fact it is very real and affects more young people than we know, with teens being a particular high risk for suicide. Depression is the leading cause of suicide, it doesn’t discriminate against age, gender, race, religion or socio-economic background.”

Social media has been flooded with the news of teenagers who have committed suicide, and those who have tried, as a result of bullying in recent years. This has sparked the uprising of many parents, teachers and even public figures to speak out against bullying and help raise awareness on this issue.

One such public figure is TV and radio personality, Hulisani Ravele. Hulisani spent a day at SADAG’s call center to support the team and used her platform to help raise awareness. “Check-in on a teen in your life and ask them how they are REALLY doing. 💛,” she wrote on Instagram.

There is still a lot of stigma and fear around suicide, and many parents and teachers are afraid that if they talk about suicide to teens that it would cause them to take their life. SADAG’s Operations Director, Cassey Chambers explains:

“Research shows that talking about suicide with a young person DOES NOT cause them to have thoughts of suicide or kill themselves. But NOT talking about it can lead to thoughts of suicide turning into actions. Talking about suicide and depression create an opportunity to discuss feelings and thoughts that might have otherwise remain hidden. Most teens who are thinking about suicide are actually honest and relieved when asked direct questions about their suicide thoughts or feelings.”

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