Basetsana – or Bassie as she is known informally – was crowned Miss Soweto and Miss Black South Africa in 1990 at the tender age of 16. Just four years later, she won the Miss South Africa pageant, and was also crowned First Princess in the Miss World Competition.
Bassie has used her beauty pageant career to springboard into entrepreneurship – first, as a presenter on Top Billing, then as editor of the Top Billing magazine.
In 1995, Bassie became a 50% partner in Tswelopele Productions, the company that produces Top Billing. In 1999 Tswelopele merged with Union Alliance Media and was listed on the JSE, making her one of the youngest black women directors to be part of the mainstream of the South African economy. She’s now the executive chairperson of the Tswelopele Productions, Tswelopele Publishing and Tswelopele Group.
But that’s not all for this ultimate South African female celebrity entrepreneur. She is also the president of the Business Women’s Association of South Africa and sits on the boards of numerous companies across a range of industries.
She’s been the face of Revlon, has an optical and sunglasses range distributed through SpecSavers and a clothing line, distributed through Ackermans.
Kumalo and her husband Romeo have launched the Romeo & Basetsana Kumalo Family Foundation, which develops children, specifically those orphaned by AIDS and other related diseases. Kumalo is also a spokesman for the United Nations Children’s Fund in the bid to eradicate neonatal and maternal tetanus in the world.