Thursday, May 23

Buyelwa Bomela: Why my kitchen looks like a dance floor

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Director of Mhonko’s Waste Management and Security Services and Good Samaritan Buyelwa Bomela loves the amount of space in the home she designed

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 R500000. 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 c 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.

Businesswoman Buyelwa Bomela, also known as Mhonko, is the proud owner of this house in Kuils River. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

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.

The American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is another idol. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

“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.

Business documents are neatly stored in the office. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA

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.

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