To celebrate Heritage month, we took six business change-makers out to Summer Place where they got to experience the new Ferrari California and the sporty 488 Spyder.
Judy Dlamini, Managing Director and Executive Chairman- Mbekani Group
“As a woman in SA I’m in charge of my destiny, I’m exposed to different sectors of the economy and interact and learn from different people. Though gender inequality is a global challenge, Africa has done better than some developed countries in certain aspects. I’m equally comfortable wearing a business suit to a meeting, as I am wearing a doek and a long dress to visit my husband’s ancestral home in rural KwaZulu Natal in Exobho; slaughtering a cow to honour my ancestors and going to church to thank God for His blessings are two sides of the same coin in my life. My African heritage means I have angels who watch over me, Roman Catholics call them saints I call them ancestors. It means as a makoti I am comfortable to cook in an open flameand brew umqombothi for my in-laws.”
Archie Masebe, managing director - McCann
“Africa presents a unique opportunity for developmental paradigms. It has a surging professional class that came from modest beginnings, it has also afforded most people the opportunity to aspire to a new kind of lifestyle.
I am a part of the storywriters who are telling the narrative about the wealth that the continent has to offer, a story that strongly says we are not just about poverty. As Africans we are looking less and less for external help and validation. There is a growing pride and confidence in being African.”
Ego Iwegbu, chief executive officer Miss Salon London & MSLondon Cosmetics
“I was born in Rostov-On-Don, Russia to a Nigerian Father and a Russian Mother. My mixed race heritage means a lot to me. I love that I get to experience, understand and feel a part of both cultures through things like food, attitude, language, style, home and family. I'll happily enjoy a plate of Pounded Yam and Egusi soup with a bottle of Moet in Sandton any day. I feel completely at home haggling in Asaba market for the best material for a pair of Harem pants for a night out in London. And easily rock my snake skin clutch from Lagos airport at a sophisticated soiree in Washington DC. My first name Ego (meaning Money in Igbo) is short for Egoagwu - it means 'Money Will Never End'. It was my Nigerian grandmothers name. I feel lucky to have it.”
Welcome Msomi, playwright and Living Legends Chairperson
“The richness of our culture, both from a South African perspective as well as the diaspora, is one of the many reasons I love being African. When I lived in New York City I never let go of my heritage, I would find ways to slaughter a goat (though secretly because it’s illegal in America) by taking it to the basement and performing the ceremony as a way to honour my ancestors. I was born in Chesterville in Durban. My mother was a teacher and my father, who comes from Ndwedwe in rural KZN, was a detective as well a conductor for the Methodist church. Our family is related to the Zulu royal family and when I was about 10 years old, after having my parents teach me how to cook, I made something for King Cyprian (King Zwelithini’s father) and he liked it so much he made a quip that I should come and cook for him at his home. Later when I would get into theatre as a director and playwright, I would use my life as a way to tell our people’s stories”.
Lerato Tshabalala, The Afropolitan – Editor
“It’s often said that when you come from Soweto you can’t really be cultural. My grandmother, Ntombilinah Jwara, a Mpondo woman (part of the Xhosa tribe) married my grandfather, John Tshabalala and together they had an indelible effect on me as a child. Growing up in Meadowlands, Soweto, my grandmother insisted that we master Zulu and I’m grateful that she did because now I can read, write and speak Zulu fluently. My grandfather was linguistically talented in that he could speak just about every language in SA with ease, from Venda to Sotho. He loved impressing people by showing them he could speak their language. Their teachings, combined with my parents’ modern outlook on raising my two siblings and I, meant I’ve been blessed with an incredible tapestry of cultural heritage”.
Maps Maponyane, entrepreneur, model and media personality
“My African heritage is extremely important to me because I’ve realized that it’s the sameness within our differences that make us such a diverse and beautiful people. I’m Tswana, born in Meadowlands, Soweto and growing up my cousins and I would go to my grandmother’s house in Dobsonville for the school holidays. We had to be resourceful with our playtime so I ended up being quite active and sporty from running around the neighbourhood. My parents worked really hard and sacrificed a lot to make sure I got a good education. My mom was a strict academic and my dad wasn’t as much; this background helped me be able to relate to people from all walks of all life. I still buy groceries for my grandmother every time I’m in the country because my family is part of the reason I’m so grounded, even with the high glamourized life I lead. I believe if we as Africans used our resources and didn’t wait for the world to take our culture and sell it back to us, we’d do amazing things. Africa is not only the future but it’s also the present.”