Basetsana Kumalo (born 29 March 1974), née Makgalemele, is a South African beauty pageant titleholder, businesswoman, philanthropist, and television personality. She has strong board governance having chaired and sat on many boards and committees.
The former beauty has been in showbiz for years, debuting in 1990. Kumalo became Miss Soweto and Miss Black South Africa at 16. She wore the crown as Miss South Africa 1994 and was the first runner-up in Miss World in the same year.
|29 March 1974 (age 49 years old)
|Place of birth:
|University of Venda
|Beauty pageant titleholder, businesswoman, philanthropist, television personality
Basetsana Kumalo was born on 29 March 1974 in Soweto, a township in Johannesburg in Gauteng, South Africa. She has three siblings, a brother and two sisters.
They would help to keep the family out of debt by contributing to their quota. She and her siblings would make sandwiches to sell on weekends.
Kumalo attended Trinity Secondary School. After completing her matric, she enrolled to study education at the University of Venda.
Kumalo won the Miss Soweto pageantry between 1990 and 1991 as a sixteen-year-old. After leaving school, she had plans to be a teacher like her mother.
During her reign as Miss South Africa, she landed a presenting gig on the lifestyle TV program Top Billing.
Basetsana partnered with Patience Stevens and owned half of the stake. Impumelelo accredited the company as one of SA’s top 300 empowering companies. A major brand of the company is SABC’s Top Billing television show.
The company Tswelopele merged with Union Alliance Media in 1999. It was listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa. This achievement earned her the record of being the youngest black female director to be part of the mainstream of the SA economy.
Top Billing has become very successful and has brought many projects to the Tswelopele brand.
Kumalo became the director of Gauteng Travel Academy in 2001. She was a guest judge in the 2016 Miss South Africa beauty pageant finale at the Carnival City’s Big Top Arena.
Kumalo is the executive chairperson of Tswelopele Productions. She has many productions done through Connect TV and Tswelopele Productions. Aside from her television gigs, she is a businessperson and has held leadership positions in the business space.
Her input in business is not mentioned completely without mentioning that she is the Spokesperson for the Pampers UNICEF Tetanus campaign. She is among the UNICEF Influential Women Circle.
Basetsana is the Chairman of the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa and Chairman of the Kuhluka Movement. She co-chairs the Council of Social Justice Champions.
Kumalo launched her clothing range under the label Stature Ladies wear by Bassie. She also launched an eyewear range under the Bassie brand and launched the Bassie Red cosmetics textrange in 100 Foschini stores nationwide. The Bassie Gold range followed in 2006.
As an author, Kumalo contributed to the book Inspirational Women at Work and features on Recipes from the Heart with 36 of South Africa’s most-loved celebrities.
Kumalo is the editor-at-large at the Top Billing magazine and worked as a Beauty Editor for DRUM magazine. She published a book titled Bassie: My Journey of Hope in 2020. On 10 August 2006, she hosted the Breakfast show on Metro FM.
The former beauty queen became the face of Revlon Realistic Hair Care range. She worked as a Revlon spokesperson for over half a decade. She also endorsed the BriteSmile procedure.
The duo got married in 2000 and welcomed their son, Nkosinathi Gabriel, in 2005. They had another son, uShaka Kgositsile Emmanuel, in 2012. Basetsana and Romeo Kumalo have three children, two sons and a daughter.
Kumalo and Romeo launched the Romeo and Basetsana Kumalo Family Foundation. It received the Inyathelo Philanthropy Merit Award in 2009. She once dated the boxer Dingaan Thobela before and while she was Miss South Africa.
Basetsana’s sister, Johanna Mukoki, graced the cover of Destiny Magazine May issue 2017. They attended the Women Presidents’ Organization Entrepreneurial Excellence 20th annual conference in the US. She and her sister spend a lot of time together and often travel too.
The businesswoman is a member of the boards of:
- Unipalm Investment Holdings
- Vhangana Energy Resources
- Tactic Group Limited.
- SME Financial Holdings Limited
- Morongwa Investment Holdings
- Seven Falls
- Q2 Petroleum
- PHAB Holdings
- Nelson Mandela awarded her with an honorary scholarship for Overseas Studies in 1994.
- The Sunday Times and Elle Magazine voted her the most stylish female magazine/entertainment show host in the TV Style Awards in 2002 and 2003.
- Kumalo was on the list of 100 Greatest South Africans in 2004. She was the only Miss South Africa on the list and appeared as the 74th. She also received the Fashion Icon Award from Cape Town Fashion Festival in 2006.
- Femina Magazine nominated among the top 10 most glamorous women in South Africa. She received the recipient of the Annual Rapport/City Press Prestige Awards.
- The World Economic Forum honored her as a Young Global Leader in 2011.
- Kumalo received the most stylish icon at the South African Style Awards 2019.
- Tastic Rice honored her with an Iconic Award for being the most influential woman in the media space in Cape Town in 2021.