Thursday, 24 August 2017
Open Letter to Basetsana Kumalo
Dear Mme Basetsana Kumalo
Ke rola katiba ho bontsha hlompho le boikokobestso. Ke re ke se ke o hlomphile Mme a hlomphehileng kgweding ena e ratehileng ya bo Mme.
My name is Teboho Thuswa (23), I’m an actor, aspiring entrepreneur and a motivated speaker, not a motivational one because trials and tribulations I encountered along my journey have strongly ‘motivated’ me to speak and make huge attempts in changing people’s lives. It’s ardent notables like you that amplify substantial value to the things I speak about and inspire me to be phenomenal and do prodigious things.
I was truly moved to pen this letter to you because you extraordinarily exemplify a new model of leadership and champion the real essence of being a prolific woman with your respectable deeds. And because you are one of the most amazing sources of inspiration that I dearly adore and learning much from, I am through this letter opening my heart to honour and applaud you for the immense contribution you have played and continuing to play in our country. We have a bad culture of honouring people only when they have departed and I muscularly believe that it is a culture that must be harshly demolished as it is amazing for one to know when they have truly made much significant impacts in our lives.
Mme Bassie, when you took the first Miss SA crown in what became a democratic South Africa in 1994 I was simply a year old and therefore never got to see you much in action with regards to your on-screen activities but because of the digital space we are in right now, I was able to truly observe everything. I was so overwhelmed to pick up that you have truly been living your dream and travelling the world. It’s so humbling to witness that there are holistic beings like you who have exercised and explored their talents and gifts from a young age. You did exceptionally well in utilising all the opportunities you were presented with and it is an act that many of us young people are battling with today.
I was shocked to find out that you actually sold sweets, sandwiches, ice cream and boiled eggs at soccer stadiums and at school as well long before you were crowned the first Miss SA. The reason behind my shock was of that the most beautiful young women seem to feel that they are not entitled to such activities as it will compromise the value of their beauty in accordance to the society standards. You just never allowed that inexpensive mentality to marry you even though you became the Miss Soweto at the age of 16. You never became big headed and I must strongly commend your parents for raising you well and you for listening to them. We the youth of today struggle a lot in that department, we think we have arrived and know it all as we reject our parents’ teachings. You have showed us the fruits of what being able to listen to our parents means and can do with your successes.
Mrs Kumalo, growing up in the dusty streets of Soweto didn’t define you at all, that environment didn’t make decisions for you. Majority of us should really derive more from your character because we have a tendency of undermining ourselves because of growing up in the townships. People like you Mme Bassie are the reminders that we are ought to extremely go out and fight for our own spaces whilst we are still young if we are to have a joyous life once we are older. Today we master the art of blaming for our failures instead of taking responsibilities for our actions; we blame our government, we blame our parents and we blame round about everyone and everything. You took charge instead of being swallowed by the township demon that has suffocated many great talents in our communities. Whilst some thought you were a one hit one wonder and a beauty without brains, you strongly persevered through the tough criticism of the township life and emerged victorious. Your act of strength and ability to survive the negative stimulus sends a robust message of that we must not allow anything or anyone to stand in our ways of acquiring success by always being positive and going for our dreams.
Mama today you are a prominent and formidable force in the business world, you sit on the boards of five major companies, and own your own clothing, eyewear and cosmetic range amongst other things you’ve ventured into. As a leader of women in business, you don’t only talk and preach women empowerment; I accurately applaud you for making a conscious decision to predominantly employ 90% of women as your staff in your business endeavours. You were absolutely right when you said that “It is only when we lift each other up that we can succeed. We have a collective responsibility to pull each other up and rise. I want to urge women to make a conscious decision and employ a girl child, and give them an opportunity.” Women don't really have to compete amongst each other for anything; they must instead help each other grow because another woman's beauty isn’t the absence of their own. Women are the real architects of the society and like stars; women should all let their light shine and stop trying to dim each other.
Your consistency in the business world sends a tough memorandum to us young people that if we really want to challenge the economy of this country then we need to really challenge ourselves, have a vision, take calculated risks, believe in ourselves, take action and be the game changers. Individuals like you, Carol Bouwer, Johanna Mukoki, Khanyi Dhlomo, Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, Funeka Montjane and other amazing women additionally illustrate to us that we need to fight for what we think we deserve and also stop wanting hand-outs just because we have a black skin colour but fight for education and or knowledge that will make us more competent. And as Tata Nelson Mandela once beautifully alluded, education for all of us is indeed the most powerful tool that can be used to change the world and we must really exploit it to advance ourselves in the business of life.
Oscar Wilde beautifully says “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention”. Mme Bassie I have witnessed through your business of life that the bank of love is never bankrupt when you are spiritually rich. Nothing is as heart-warming for me to see a free-spirited woman like you because I then know that everything they do is purely genuine and not entirely about rewards and credits. You and your wonderful husband launched Romeo & Basetsana Kumalo Family Foundation that sincerely supports children’s development and also prioritising those who have been orphaned by Aids or related diseases. It is with no surprise as to why the foundation was conferred with Inyathelo Philanthropy Merit Award. Your heart has certainly emulated the beauty of your face, whilst some are celebrities; you and your husband chose to become parents to those who are parentless.
Philippians 4:13 beautifully says “For I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength”. Mme Basatsana what enlivens me more about you is that you are a woman of God, a woman who uses prayer for strength and a woman who have submitted to the work of the Holy Spirit. You are a true definition of a proverb 31 woman because you have made the world a better place with your generous heart, gifts and talents. You are an amazing woman who uses her ears for kindness, her hands for charity, her lips for truth, her voice for humanity, and her heart for love. When God opened doors for you to be the first Miss SA of the democratic era, He divinely anointed and appointed you to be the advocate of hope and change, I am more than glad you went in right through what you were called for. There’s just more to your life that gives us a deeper meaning to what life really is, your life in a nutshell is a very inspiring message and I have made a decision to take it as my visual library.
When you spoke about God’s timing is always perfect on one of your videos on Facebook, I felt that you were talking to me. You said “Don’t get mad at God for unanswered prayers, he knows what is best for you, remember that delay is not denial, I waited on the Lord for my children, whatever you are waiting on the Lord for will come in due season”. That’s me Mme Bassie, I finished my book that’s titled “Nobody Is Bigger Than Your Business Of Life” and has since been battling to acquire the full self-publishing funds for it, I did everything and even met the most powerful people but still struggled. You were right and thank you, most of us today truly lack patience and think we can surpass what God has planned for us and his timing is indeed perfect as he puts us in processes that will make us more prepared beings for what we asked for. Mme once my book is out I’m surely going to give you a signed copy of that masterpiece. I am no longer rushing and getting frustrated now because I’m waiting on the Lord.
Mme Bassie you are now a wise magnificent woman. You are a woman who is imperfectly perfect. You are a woman who has showed young men like me to not choose any ordinary woman but ones who have your similar characteristics as we will be able to stand strong and bold like Ntate Romeo Kumalo. You are the embodiment of strength, bravery, faith and success. You have fought hard to become the woman you are today. You have endured unspeakable pain and despite your scars, you still surpass every obstacle that presents itself. You always rise with strength and authority that radiates off of you with brilliance. Each foot you place on the ground is with purpose and intention. You have shown with your life that being a resilient woman often means you carry a heavy weight and a large burden.
Thank you for being a wonderful example of strength, I see all the strength you possess and through that I know that I can accomplish anything I put my mind into. When life goes low, we go high. When people tell us no, it is because of women like you that have showed us to stand up and say “yes I can”.
Teboho Thuswa, @tebohothuswa