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Get To Know The Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalist Representing KZN, Ziphelele Ndokweni

I recently sat down with the inspiring Ziphelele Ndokweni who’s representing my province, Kwa-Zulu Natal in the Mrs South Africa pageant. Being a proud KZN citizen I must say that Ziphelele is who I’m rooting for, I really hope that she goes far. Read below to get a little bit more, there’s so much learn.

Tell me a little bit more about yourself;

I was born and bred in KwaZulu-Natal, home is KwaNyuswa – a rural area just outside Hillcrest also known as the Valley of a 1000 Hills. I’m the last born of the Radebe family. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two amazing children.

I matriculated from St Benedicts School in Pinetown that was formerly known as Pinetown Convent. I really enjoyed my school, it was like my second family as I was there from Class 1 which is now Grade 1 to Grade 12. I was athletic, my nick name was not only Zippy because Ziphelele was not easy to pronounce but I was very fast on the track having won numerous medals for 100 metre sprints and relays. I was SRC head and a prefect, and I was above average when it came to my school work, so I was pretty well rounded. I graduated with my IMM – Marketing Management Diploma that I studied part time whilst working. My working career started off with Peace Players International, then with East Coast Radio where my radio foundation was built. I was with them for 3 years. I then went on to work at Immedia and the Success on Hold Group before moving to Gagasi FM where I really developed in my career and as a person. I achieved a great deal there, I held two managerial positions, Marketing Manager and then Head of Creative and Promotions. When you are a manager, it comes with tremendous responsibility and you need a thick skin, so I developed that. I gained a lot of understanding about how brands can connect with listeners, their consumers in a way that resonates with them and I merged that with my creativity which made me successful in my role as Head of Creative and Promotion. I must admit, the best part of my role as Marketing Manager was being out in the community making a difference big or small, it ignited my spirit every time. Also working with a great group of people was a bonus. As of January this year, I am based in Johannesburg working with Mediamark as a Creative Executive. I absolutely love using my imagination to come up with creative ideas to give brands solutions. I also get to learn so much from the other creatives I work with.

Let’s talk about Mrs South Africa;

Mrs South Africa (Pty) Ltd is the number one pageant for married women in South Africa and is seen as a women empowerment program and not a beauty pageant, in the traditional sense of the word.

Beauty pageants are not typically thought of as particularly real or relatable. The gorgeous gowns, the tiaras, the immaculate hair and beauty, and the perfect and polished contestants: all wonderful to watch, yes, but not attainable in real life.

But Mrs South Africa is not the typical beauty pageant. It offers married South African women who have real-life careers, families, and hobbies the chance to compete for the prestigious title of Mrs South Africa. Glamour and sophistication are part of the criteria, but the women who enter and win all have those relatable stories we’re looking for. We all know a Mrs South Africa: she is smart and ambitious, and cares about her family and community.

The Mrs South Africa pageant is about giving South Africa’s unsung superwomen a chance to get support and give input, and a platform to reach a new level of success and visibility on a global stage. It is truly a life changing journey for the women who enter this renowned Woman Empowerment Program

Is this your first pageant, ever?

Yes, I’m a tom boy. I grew up climbing trees, riding my bicycle and baking mud cakes. I’ve always kept my nails short and didn’t wear much make-up. I was very athletic at school and just wasn’t pageant inclined but I clean up good. So I’ve learnt a lot, I had my second set of acrylic nails in my life for the Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalists workshop. Mrs South Africa in essence is a women empowerment program, and just from the two day workshop my work colleagues and family can tell you about the positive changes I’d made towards a better me.

What inspired you to enter? 

It definitely wasn’t about my height or size. I’m a size 34, 1.68 metres, I am beautiful but I come from a family of five girls, I know that there are smarter, more beautiful women than I but I have my own magic and queendom that makes me awesome, as Jill Scott put it.

I entered because I wanted to challenge myself, I was in a comfortable space. I wanted to do something for me that would empower me and others. I wanted to share my story, inspire other mothers, young women, girls and my daughter that they had all they needed to be remarkable. When people see what you have achieved they don’t know the challenges you faced along the way, it’s so important for young people to know that they will face many things in different stages of their lives however they are not alone nor should feel less than. I wanted to instil in them that they are more than enough for the various roles they play, being a mom, wife, receptionist or student, whatever it is.

I do some work with Hospice in Sherwood, and when I did an outreach with them when I was still working in the Marketing department at Gagasi FM I was drawn to the work they do, not only to provide dignity and support for the terminally ill and their families but the work they do within communities from providing health support to families that have members suffering from HIV, TB and other diseases to providing food for those that receive NO income, that means no grant NOTHING. Tell me then, what do those children eat if you need at least R15 to buy just a loaf of bread? I entered because I want to use the platform to highlight the work they do and garner more support and funding for them.

I also have other projects I want to work on like my #MoreThanEnough campaign aimed at empowering young girls and women. It was inspired by my name, Ziphelele which means complete or enough. I want to drive the message that everyone is ‘more than enough’ and worthy of love, friendship, the work they do. It starts at a young age, young girls don’t know they value, don’t know they bodies are precious and that they too can achieve anything they set their minds to. Women tend to do things to please others and at times feel like they do not measure up. This was my personal journey, I use to push myself in the work environment and at home, to be better than the next person. I want to inspire young girls to dream and keep their dreams alive, even when they face social challenges they need to strive towards their dreams and not get side tracked by what people say or do.

My big hairy audacious goal is to build a wellness centre for the mentally challenged in a rural area, I’ve a place in mind. It’s close to my heart as I’ve family that battled with access to treatment and dealt with the stigma and shame around it especially in black communities. Why not?

How has your journey been? did you anticipate to make it this far? 

As mentioned above I’m not your typical glamorous female, but I know that I am beautiful, intelligent with a passion to help others, and a vision to shift thinking and ignite change within people and communities. I entered with the vision to be in the Top 3. I am working with great sponsors, Satiskin, Lavish Nails Spa in Durban, Foschini SA, Phemelo Molefe and Nompumelelo Mkhize. They have added so much value into my journey and I’ve appreciated them sharing my vision.

You’re the KZN representative, what does this mean to you and KZN? 

There are other ladies from KZN, I think there are 4 or 5 of us. One of my hashtags for the campaign is #ProudlyZKN. My roots are in KZN, the woman I am today is a reflection of the people and places in KZN. I’m so proud to be from KZN, we have the best weather, trust me the thunder storms in Johannesburg will have you appreciating Durban weather. The people, are open and friendly. My husband and I have travelled extensively throughout KZN, we know the tourist hot spots and they are great but there are hidden gems that we’ve discovered in our backyard and that makes KZN special. I’m loyal to the soil, KZN is my soil it’s nurtured me and it’s always key to know where you come from to stay in the right path towards your destiny.

How will you make KZN proud? 

You know, there are a many women from KZN doing great things from the likes of Minnie Dlamini to the current Mrs South Africa – Hlengiwe Twala who is also a KZN girl. There must be something in the water. My focus in terms of the work I want to do is in KZN. I want to continue working with Hospice and the communities they service like eMlazi, Mayville informal settlemen, Chesterville and others. I want to continue the work I started with doing talks with young girls and providing them with not only sanitary towels but create a platform to openly discuss sexual issues and health, hygiene, social ills they face, career choices – there is so much out there but some students are still not exposed due to lack of access to information and other issues. Basically I want to not only be an ear, but impart guidance from my own experience as well as information that will help them. For instance if they are faced with a problem at home, I want to be able to provide them with information or people that can help and be the link. I want to try and help eliminate as many barriers or obstacles in their way.

What keeps you going as an individual? 

I’m inspired by being better. I’m a Christian and I’m really inspired by the fact that God created which means I’m to create… create a better life for myself and others. I’m inspired by TED Talks, I watch a lot of TED Talks. I’m inspired by women like Leymah Gbowee – Liberian Peace Activist, who fights for the vulnerable and Maysoon Zayid – Comedian with cerebral palsy, who was determined to succeed despite her disability. I’m inspired by fellow women from KZN like authors Phindile Grootboom and Nobuntu Webster and business women Lynette Ntuli and Akhona Ngcobo, my sister Thokozani Majola, my mentor Cheryl Wheelerand and just people around me that are driven and resilient. My family is a huge inspiration, they drive me each day to tackle each day and give it my all.

What has this competition taught you? It’s taught me that out of the 100 girls, I have my own magic that thing that the next women doesn’t have that makes me, special, worthy, of value and awesome. It’s taught me to appreciate my family so much more because they have been so supportive and understanding about this journey. It’s also taught me to work even harder to achieve what I want and not to be afraid to knock on doors.

Why do you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Mrs. South Africa?

I’ve grown to know and appreciate who I am, my magic. I’m resilient, hardworking and passionate about people, my province and South Africa. I’m a dreamer and want to inspire others to dream and know that they are their own limitations, nothing is impossible.

Why should South Africa choose to vote for you other than the rest of the candidates?

I think all the candidates are wonderful all with commendable initiatives and the spirit to make a positive impact and difference. I know that if I win I will strive to raise support and awareness for organisations that are already working in helping people.

How do you overcome challenges life throws at you? 

I pray, I seek guidance from those that have travelled the road, for instance my sister or parents. I look at the positive and focus my energies on helping someone else so I remove the focus from myself. I also bake when I’m stressed and write down my thoughts and feelings, it helps to process things and approach matters rationally instead of emotionally.

Words of advice to women who look up to you;

I’m getting use to the idea that there are women who look up to me and so humbled by it. My advice is be genuinely you. We’ve all been created unique with a purpose, with something special and if you don’t tap into it, hide and try to be someone else or play small you’ll rob the world of something. Hence my campaign #morethanenough, we all possess what we need to do what we’ve been placed on earth to do. Don’t seek others validation. You are worthy and you are more than enough.

Who is Ziphelele at home?

Ziphelele at home is teacher, doctor, friend and helper. I’m chilled, I tend to spend my time reading with the kids, doing some DYI, watching movies with my husband, cooking and baking if I’m really stressed. I enjoy being outdoors, I love watching rugby live and visiting animal farms or going on hikes. Ziphelele, laughs a lot, she takes things lightly, she loves to create.

How did you and your husband meet?

We met at The Wheel, when it was still one of the places to chill in Durban. There was no Gateway back then. Yo, feel old. Anyway, I was out with my sister and he was with his friends. As I was going up the escalators he was at the top and our eyes locked. It was like the scene from the movie Cruel Intentions. As they say, the rest his history. We’ve been together for about 17 years, and it’s been a trip. He is my life partner, he is supportive, challenges my thinking, charming, romantic with great legs, driven and resilient. I love that he is madly in love with his family, he prayed for us before we even met, that’s special.

Tell me about your kids;

Qhawe and Zaria, I love them and God was just showing off when he made them. They are beautiful inside out. Qhawe is my little hero, he’s name says it. He’s a sensitive soul that really cares about others and their well-being, he’s also very charming like his dad. Right now he’s 9 years only and doing Grade 4. He’s at an age where he’s not mommies little boy anymore but he’s also not a teenage so he’s trying to figure himself and I’m just giving him his space with the hug and kiss there to reassure him. Zaria, my daughter her name has many meanings from blossom, princess, sunrise. She’s super confident, she loves to sing and acting. I love her sense of humour but she’s also a little moody you don’t want to mess with her, she doesn’t care if you are a girl older than her or a boy she doesn’t put up with nonsense.

What is it that you enjoy most about being a mother?

The unconditional love, both ways. I also like what I’ve gained in terms of understating not only my mother better but my father. The sacrifices they made because they loved me, as a child I didn’t understand so I appreciate them so much more. Motherhood challenges you and it makes you realize that you are stronger than you think but also humbles you because you learn not to rely on your on strength but on God.

In order for me to progress to the next stage (Top 25) I need everyone’s support. You can support by voting, SMS ‘Ziphelele Ndokweni’ to 35959 at cost of R3/sms – free sms’es do not apply. You can vote as many times as you like. You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram – Ziphelele Ndokweni and Twitter – @Zippyndokweni… And like my page – Ziphelele Ndokweni Mrs South Africa Semi-Finalist”


Profile Feature: Yonela Shenxane

Yonela Shenxane is a 22 year old lady who is currently signed to two of South Africa’s best modelling agencies, her mother agency being BOSS Models in Johannesburg and the other being ICE Models in Cape Town.

Her love for the world of entertainment started in 2013 when she walked onto the music video set for Gusheshe, a song by South African Hip Hop recording artist Cassper Nyovest.  The set was produced by Nicky Campos which is a music video and film production company based in Johannesburg.  She had been on the set to accompany an industry friend and when Nicky asked her to do a simple scene feature, she reluctantly went for it.

A month after the insignificant scene feature on Cassper’s music video, Yonela was offered the opportunity to work with Nicky again but now she would be appearing as a main character on Shota’s (born Mnqobi Mdabe) music video for a song titled Ben10.  Shota is a South African singer, producer and songwriter.  The music video served as her very first TV appearance.  

She then began to realise her love for the small screen and wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.  Yonela then realised that she needed to get signed to a reputable agency that represented talent and commercial models, because in that way she could grow more in the industry.

Her modelling career kicked off in 2014 when she got signed with Alushi Models, after being turned down by several agencies including BOSS Models.

Yonela further explored the industry later that year, by being selected to appear as a character on a reality TV show called Take Me Out SA, which aired on SABC1 and was hosted by Phat Joe. The show had one season and Yonela received very good feedback which made her certain that being on TV is what she wanted to do.  With 4 years of dramatic arts behind her, she knew that she was already equipped with the basic understanding of the entertainment industry and audience engagement.

Take Me Out SA was another confirmation that the entertainment industry was where Yonela wanted to be as she now had a new found confidence.  She tried to get signed again with the well-established agency, BOSS Models which she had always considered as her dream agency.  Yonela sent an e-mail to BOSS Models (Cape Town) and they forwarded her pictures to BOSS Models Johannesburg which is the agency that rejected her a year ago.  Amazingly enough, she was called in for a meeting in May 2015 and was then signed.  A month later Yonela was already on set for her first job with a team that she had always idealised which is the Sunday Times team.  Her first job was an editorial edition.

Since being signed to BOSS Models, Yonela has worked on a lot of beauty/fashion editorials. She featured on TV commercials for CELL C, worked on campaigns such as the ’15 spring/summer PQ clothing campaign, Parooz Fashion spring/summer campaign & online store debut.  After the social media feedback on the Parooz Fashion campaign, Yonela announced that she would be the first brand ambassador for the young, fun and exciting fashion brand.

Yonela ended 2015 with an editorial feature in the New Year issue of well renowned magazine, True Love.  She then planned to go live in Cape Town so that she could build her profile there and by the grace of God she moved to Cape Town in January for model season.  Model season in Cape Town is every models dream because that’s where models get the opportunity work with professionals from all over the world. Cape Town is where you get models from Germany, America, Angola, Jamaica and other countries all at once trying their luck at doing what they love.  

Working in Cape Town opened a lot of doors for Yonela as she got to work on amazing campaigns and also given the opportunity to be a brand ambassador for Vada By Sivada which is a Cape Town brand as well as Beach Cult.  She was amongst the models that launched Joaquina Beachwear which is an AfroBrasilian bikini brand also based in Cape Town.  Yonela has also been a Zando online model and has shot a catalogue for Angel Africa.  

With model season being over she has returned back to Johannesburg which is where she will now be based.  She doesn’t believe in restricting herself so she now wants to venture into the film industry so she call tell and act out stories.  She has recently shot an advert for Nedbank and also features in a takealot.com advert which also serves as one of her career highlights.

The world still has a lot in store for Yonela and being the hard worker that she is, a lot is yet to be accomplished.  She wants to leave a mark, not only as a model but as an actress, socialite, brand influencer and a public figure.  


Mbali Gcabashe Is Launching Her First Book ‘Intimate Thoughts Of A Clever Black’

I recently got to know Mbali Gcabashe, a new author who is launching her very first book this coming Friday in Durban. During our conversation, Mbali was full of energy and her responses exclaimed passion and dedication.

“My biggest career highlight has to be the day I went to do a business presentation where I met Nolan Vernon who said : “I can’t put my finger on it but, I know I need you in my team” and just like that, he gave me a career opportunity in the radio industry I knew nothing about and changed my life for good”

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Who is Mbali Gcabashe? A daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. I am a perpetual student of life, who believes in sharing life`s lessons with those who are open to dialogue. An optimist at heart, a believer in humanity, a champion of the underdogs and a lover of Blackness. I believe in marketing and engaging in things conscious, Pan African and humane. Inquisitive person, willing to contribute towards finding solutions.

“Life has taught me that grace and humility trump all material possessions”

What is a normal day like to you? My normal day starts with the usually crazy school drop off which is followed by my part time lecturing job at Boston Media House, I devote some of the time to my business which focuses on Facilitation, PR and Communication. A big part of my day is consumed by my Forever Living Network Marketing Business where I spend time following up on set targets and assisting my downline to achieve their own personal goals. In between all my other duties, I spend time writing and reading any content that is progressive and challenging to the status quo.

“I am inspired by normal people who, despite their circumstances manage to put one foot in front of the other and while doing that they still manage to raise hope for those behind them”

At which point in your life did you decide to do what you do? I don’t think I have ever stopped to make a decision to do what I do, I believe what I do chose me and I am merely following my purpose.

Is this what you’ve always wanted to do? As long as I remember, my life has always been consumed by helping others realise their true potential.

Where do you see Author Mbali in 5 years? Doing exactly what I am doing in a much bigger scale

How do you want people to remember you? A woman who came to help others find their inner strength and abilities

What keeps you going regardless of the challenges life throws at you? The unshakeable knowledge that it all comes to pass.

“Success is being content with where you are, knowing that you have never given a mediocre performance in all platforms you have been afforded. I believe in women empowerment because the true success of Africa and the world at large lies in empowering women, who are the only people that can take a seed and turn it into a human being”

All Mbali wants in life is to see that the year was fruitfully spent in showing other people that they too are enough

“In conclusion I would love to say; it is okay to ask for help when you need it and also okay to allow other women to shine. I need women to know that when they open themselves up to opportunities, they will realise that not all doors are locked, sometimes they need to push a little harder and show up with their brains and not their bodies”


Get To Know Lindo ‘Lin Dough’ Sithole

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Do you guys remember DJ Cleo’s The Teddy Bears? Well one of their member, Lindo aka Lin Dough or baby brown has decided to go solo and judging from his previous project ‘Ikhekhe la sis May’ – this guy is headed really far. Well I got to know him a little bit better:

What do you love most about being African? Being African is a blessing reason being Africa is very distinguished continent.

Where was your last holiday? My Last holidays was in Zeerust , where I really had fun.

Which are some of your favourite African countries you have been to? I’ve been to Tanzania and Namibia great countries

5 things you love about your hometown Durban;

  • The Beach
  • The weather
  • We host amazing events
  • The most beautiful stadium Moses Mabhida
  • Durbanites are Super Talented

Describe your fashion sense? Simple, clean and unique.

Who is your fashion icon? Myself.

How often do you exercise? Four times a week.

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Why do you think it is important to take care of your body with the pressure there is in the entertainment industry? Taking care of your body can open doors for you when comes to being a brand Ambassador, when you look good – trust me u sell [laughs], it also shows that you’re dedicated.

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What was your first cell-phone model? Nokia 5110

Which year was this? It was  2013

When not dancing or making music what are we most likely to find you doing? I love chilling at my crib, watching TV.

Enjoy Ikhekhe la sis May video below;


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