SOLID START­ING POINT

When Buyelwa Bomela de­signed her home, she wanted to give her fam­ily things she did not have as a child

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - HOME - By Michael Nkalane

GOOD things, says suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman, so­cial en­tre­pre­neur and good Samaritan Buyelwa Bomela, be­gin with a solid foun­da­tion. She is talk­ing about not only mak­ing it in the cut-throat busi­ness world, but also about her Kuils River home.

Bomela, direc­tor of Mhonko’s Waste Man­age­ment and Se­cu­rity Ser­vices, bought the half-built house in 2011. Although the house was un­fin­ished, some­thing caught her at­ten­tion

“I no­ticed the foun­da­tion was re­in­forced and I im­me­di­ately de­cided to buy. That did not seem a wise de­ci­sion at the time con­sid­er­ing its price – I paid R500 000. But I knew I would take ad­van­tage of that solid foun­da­tion to re­design the house to what it is to­day,” she says.

As a re­sult, “Mhonko”, as she is fondly known, has a stun­ning home to­day. Her huge kitchen is big­ger than a two-room RDP house. She calls it her dance floor and it was de­signed by Zim­bab­wean crafts­men.“This is an open-plan kitchen. I grew up in a home with a tiny kitchen we had to squeeze in to, which is why I de­signed mine as a dance floor. I love cook­ing and I wanted space for my­self, my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.”

The kitchen has beige built-in cup­boards and a ceil­ing of Rhino boards and pine.

Bomela grew up in Mfu­leni and has never for­got­ten her roots. When you speak to peo­ple from her old home­town, they re­fer to her as “the good Samaritan”, al­ways help­ing the less for­tu­nate. Her name pops up in stories about funerals be­ing paid for and the elderly be­ing taken care of, but she says noth­ing about this dur­ing our in­ter­view.

Many parts of Bomela’s Kuils River home are painted red, the colour from which she says she draws her strength.

“Each time I want to achieve more, I glance at this colour and it gives me the strength of a lion want­ing to fight to con­trol the jun­gle.”

It is not a sur­prise her lounge has three expensive red couches. “This is where I sit when my busi­ness ideas are flow­ing. It is on these that I de­cide which so­cial en­trepreneur­ship projects to em­bark on.”

In the mid­dle of the lounge is a ma­hogany ta­ble with draw­ers on the sides. “This is top qual­ity. I bought it from Ghana­ians who de­signed my lounge.”

The lounge floor is laid with beige Ital­ian tiles, while the rest of the house has a con­crete base.

“I have this floor to pre­vent rain dam­age. Even if it is rain­ing and the doors are open, I don’t have to worry about dam­age.”

On a kitchen wall her por­trait is flanked by pic­tures of her icons Mal­colm X, for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama and her revered leader Nel­son Man­dela, from whom she draws in­spi­ra­tion.

“These are the peo­ple who made me be­lieve. They are not just my he­roes, but my hope as well.”

Of her por­trait she says: “A lady from BBBEE con­sul­tants in Dur­ban begged me to al­low her to draw this pic­ture. She was so im­pressed with my BBBEE com­pli­ance. This is her ap­pre­ci­a­tion of my work.”

A unique ta­ble with six steel chairs is where her fam­ily of six dines.

A pas­sage fea­tures pic­tures of the Ma­hotella Queens led by the late Mahlathini.

“This is my kind of mu­sic. I grew up lis­ten­ing to this group most of the time.”

Next to the kitchen is her of­fice crammed with doc­u­ments con­tain­ing the his­tory of her busi­nesses. A shelf with ten­der doc­u­ments is set above draw­ers.

“This is where I keep all my doc­u­ments. They are placed in or­der and date,” she says.

Her of­fice wall is dec­o­rated with pic­tures of Man­dela and news­pa­per cut­tings doc­u­ment­ing his life.

Op­po­site the of­fice is her grand­chil­dren’s en-suite room with its two sin­gle beds. Her el­dest grand­daugh­ter is Zukhanye Bomela, 11, her only grand­son Lilitha Godze is10, and Elitha Godze is 8. Bomela is the mother of three daugh­ters: No­math­am­sanqa Bomela, 42, Lin­delwa Godze, 33, and Zimkhitha Godze, 28; each has one child.

The ceil­ing is in the shape of an ice-cream. “I de­signed this to show af­fec­tion for them. Their thrill is an ice-cream from granny.“I want to give them the life I didn’t have. I don’t want them to queue to bath, as I did. They wake up and take a shower in their room and then join their gogo for break­fast in the kitchen,” she says.

Also next to the of­fice are staff quar­ters. The main bed­room is sit­u­ated on the far cor­ner of the house. It has a dou­ble bed sur­rounded by built-in cup­boards.

“This is where I keep my clothes. I am a fash­ion woman. I love shop­ping. I have clothes I have not yet worn.”

Her spa­cious white bath is hid­den be­hind the cup­boards.

All in all, it is the per­fect home.

Busi­ness­woman Buyelwa Bomela, also known as Mhonko, is the proud owner of this house in Kuils River. PIC­TURES: PHANDO JIKELO/ AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY/ ANA Busi­ness doc­u­ments are neatly stored in the of­fice. Buyelwa Bomela has a flair for dec­o­ra­tion.

A por­trait of Buyelwa Bomela is flanked by pho­to­graphs of Barack Obama and Nel­son Man­dela.

The of­fice is dec­o­rated with pho­tos of Nel­son Man­dela and news­pa­per cut­tings.

The Amer­i­can Mus­lim min­is­ter and hu­man rights ac­tivist Mal­colm X is an­other idol.

The colour red gives her strength.

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