Young South African Women Worth Celebrating

The word celebrity is thrown around a lot these day but very few young artists in this country can really wear that title well. In celebration of our Mzansi woman's day here are the women that I have met in this industry that I think are worth celebrating, not only for their talent but for the indelible mark they have made and the inspiration they give young girls all over our beautiful country.


  • Bonang Matheba

Success in SA doesn't get any better than the Bonang brand for a young black woman. Sexy and vavacious Bonang has revolutionised our industry by being a force to be reckoned with. Though sometimes I think she is overly exposed, I do admire her work ethic.

Whether she is able to sustain this momentum for the next 10 years or she fades into oblivion with time, there is no denying that our girl B, has made history and the nation will remember that name for years to come.

I have met Bonang twice and she's always been nice BUT I think she is used to attention that sometimes she is not able to distinguish from a simple "Hi" and an "OMG, you are Bonang". I find that sometimes she turns to be  a bit pose-y which in turn may make her look insincere in her warmness.

However, I had a conversation with her at the Cosmo party and she was very nice and relaxed. Subsequent to that I have seen her from afar at events and noticed that she is a too guarded. Nonetheless, I love Bonang and am inspired by her everyday and am certain that she impires a lot of young South Africans. Her legacy will be; you can make it without having to compromise your values or become a media whore :)
  • Dineo Ranaka

Always a pleasure to spend time with Dineo. A friend, a sister, an inspiration and just a beautiful soul. Her outspokeness may not win her a lot of admirers but spend few minutes with her, you realise why she is the star that she is.

I fell in love with her when I met her at Nambitha in Soweto during a dinner that was organised by Etv. She talked to me about life, love and the industry. She glowed when she talked about her gorgeous son and her relationship with her sister Manaka whom I adore.

Since then we have seen each other few times and each time she is just as happy to see me as I am to see her. Always happy to help me when I need an interview with her and never too famous to write me an email to say thank you for writting something nice about me, how can I not love Mam' Dizi. It doesn't get more real than with Dineo Ranaka, meet her and you will see what being famous and real is about.
  • Terry Pheto

Need I say more, where Terry is concerned? The darling of our industry and the nation as a whole. I met Terry twice, the first time at Class Act shoot and the second time at the Kardashian party and let me tell you this; she is as beautiful as you think and furthermore her kindness will blow you away.

It's no surprise that her success is celebrated by everybody, it's because those who have had the pleasure of being in her company know that there is nothing "Hollywood" about Terry. She is a simple girl who will not fall for the glitz and glamour of her status.

I am not concerned that when her stint with The Bold and The Beaautiful ends she will come back home with some fake accent and cocky attitude because even after the Oscar craze she remained grounded. That for me is worth celebrating.
  • Sade Gilberti

Ms tell it like it is. Sade has reinvented herself from just a child star to a radiant woman who has come into her own over the years. Famous for her tomboy nature, she shocked the nation by transforming herself into Cinderela when she presented So You Think You Can Dance looking all girly-girly.

The gorgeous TV Personality is just as beautiful to talk to as she is beautiful to look at. Not shy to speak her mind when it need be, she inspired our nation by revealing her struggle with a disorder that prompted her to cut herself. 
  • Nokuthula Ledwaba

She plays Tshidi on Rhythm City and though I have my reservations about the show sometimes, I am always entthralled by Nokuthula's talent. She is, in my opinion, one of the shining stars of our generation.

Shy of media attention, Nokuthula embodies the qualities that have made stars like the woman who plays her mother, Connie Chume, the legend that she is. I have yet to spend time with her but from what I have observed, she is a grounded girl who has a bright future ahead of her if she doesn't get sidelined by the frivolous distractions of this industry.
  • Gabi Ndebele

I have been told by some people that Gabi would not be nice to you unless you are a celebrity. Well, my interactions with Gabi have been very pleasant. The few times that I have met her she is been nothing but nice without being pretentious about it.

A seasoned journalist, the KZN girl has made a mark in this industry. You can not talk about the entertainment industry and not mention Gabi in conversation. She is one of the pioneers of blogging and entertainment reporting in this country. She opened the door for people like me to be able to do what I do. 
  • Sashi Naidoo

The gorgeous Sashi is every bit the sweet girl that you'd expect her to be. I met and interviewed her on the red carpet at the Feather Awards and she was so nice. Now, now, don't get me wrong there are people who are just nice just because you have a camera infront of them but Sashi is not one of them. 
  • Kelebogile Mabotja

The Dance You Butt Off presenter and former Rhythm city star is a role model for many young girls by not falling for the media's expectations of women these days. Mabotja is not your size zero girl but she does not let that define what her path in this industry should be.

Though I was not pleased with her statements that she is happy to be fat, she replied to my article and made me understand that her statement was taken out of context. Though she is not caught up in the "you gotta be thin to make it" phase, she still recognises the danger of being obese.

I can think of many young girls who look at Kele and realise that nomatter what the world says about one's looks, especially if they do not fall into the stereotype image of what beauty is, your weight is only a part of the whole. It takes a lot more than just your scale number to be a beautiful human being.
  • Gugu Zuma

A girl with all the trappings of fame and wealth, our president daughter is the total opposite of what one would axpect from someone in her position. Simple at heart and just a pleasure to have inyour company, Gugu Zuma is every bit the star that she is known to be without being pretentious or pompus about it.
  • Dineo Moeketsi

I first met Dineo at the Amstel golden hour concert in Soweto and from the moment I saw her, she was as real and warm as she appears to be on TV. The Channel O presenter has had a meteoric rise to the top of the A-list after she was crown the new presenter of O-Access taking over from Nonhle Thema.

That must have been big shoes to fill given the magnitude of brand recognition Ms Thema left for the show. Even with all that Dineo is still a girl next door. The bubbly 22 year old Kwa-Thema-raised, National School of the Arts graduate who has previously sung backing vocals for Flash Republic and acted in Soul City 10 has come good on the promise she showed during that talent search and continues to shine bright. For me it's that beautiful personality that makes her a celebrity. She is the epitome of a good girl who has a good head on her shoulder. 


  • Nonhle Thema

I know, I know... she's been getting a lot of flack for her Twitter debacle but I know Nonhle. Obviously she is not an angel or perfect in any way but she has some very good qualities that have since been overshadowed by the self inflicted bad publicity.

Nonhle has always been good to me and whatever anybody says abour her, she will always hold a special place in my heart. In life you always remember the people who were kind to you when you were a nobody and for me Nonhle solely stand at the top of the list.

Of all the wrong she has done over the few months there is some incredible unpublicised things that she has done for young girls in this country. She was not just an ambassodor for Dark and Lovely but she took the role further by mentoring young girls.

I genuinely believe, though she is yet to admit it to me, that the Twitter thing was just a ploy to come up with materials for Season 2 of her reality show. Nonhle is smart and I do not believe that she was unaware of the damage her Twitter rants was doing to her image. I think she was ill-advized or what seemed like a perfect plan backfired.
  • Bonnie Henna 

It takes someone very brave to admit their flaws. Bonnie has had a reputation in the industry for being a bitch. Yes I said it, BITCH. However, Bonnie has finally grown up and realised that humility is a quality that is endearing.

She gorgeous actress went on Noeleen and admitted that she was an arrogant person and has since realised the folly of her youth. Though some people may think her confession was not sincere, I believed her.

We all have flaws and this industry can lead one into a dark place if one is not gorunded. Bonnie made mistake and for her to acknowledge them and seek forgiveness from her fans is worth commending. 

This list is of women I have met and can vouch for their character. I know there are many other young women who are doing incredible things in this industry and they too deserve our recognition.

Happy Women's Day!!!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was trusting your judgement until i got to the Nonhle part.
At that point the piece lost every thread of critical acclaim.
It just seems to be a list of your favourites in the industry.
All well and good,but it is difficul tto take it serious with that inclusion.

Phil Mphela said...

I think I made that point clearly that these are people that I have met (therefore I like) and can vouch for their personality.

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