By Nomali Cele
To Basetsana Kumalo, there has never been a question that she would one day immortalise her epic life’s story in a book. No, the question was simply when.
And as she told Bridget Masinga on her Kaya 959 lunchtime show, the time is as right as it’s ever been now. Many aspects of Basetsana Kumalo’s life have come full-circle in 2019. The mother, wife and businesswoman is now 45 and is 25 years into the career she jumpstarted at 20 years old when she was crowned Miss South Africa in 1994.
Her crowning moment was a big achievement but Bassie was not new to the game. In 1990, at just 16, she had been crowned Miss Soweto. She was also Miss Black South Africa along the way.
But a young black woman from Soweto being crowned the most beautiful ambassador for the country at the dawn of democracy was the stuff of narrative goals. And having not been raised to be one to shrink in the spotlight or doubt herself, Basetsana Kumalo rode that crowing moment into the sunset.
Maybe there’s no bigger reason that Basetsana Kumalo has written this book other than the one she mentions in her dedication in which she writes: “To my #Heartbeat Nkosinathi Gabriel, uShaka Kgositsile Emmanuel and Bontle ba Morena Jasmine, I wrote this book for you, to know my truth, to hear my story, in my own voice.”
Bassie the book is a true “the road so far” work. In it, she covers her childhood with her loving family. Yes, she shares the stories of working in the family business with her siblings and taking pride in helping provide for the family. She writes about the relationships and successes that were born from her win at Miss South Africa 1994: The TV presenting, the producing, her relationship with Madiba.
Image and featured image courtesy of Sbu Kandee
Basetsana Kumalo also grapples with growing in her relationship with her husband in the public eye. Yes, they were Mzantsi’s sweethearts but many a tabloid headline wanted the relationship to fail.
On Tuesday, 8 October, Bassie was gracious enough to grant the team behind The B-Side team a three-hour audience with her. Listen to the conversation below:
Bassie: My Journey of Hope is out now.