Bassie's Biography

Basetsana Kumalo is the Executive Chairman & CEO of Basetsana Woman Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd.

  • She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of South Africa.
  • A Diploma in Marketing from Damelin.
  • A Director of Uzalile Investments: a woman-owned and listed coal mining company.
  • A Director at Travel with Flair: a travel management company.
  • She holds a Non-Executive Director at Tawana Resources, a diamond mining company.
  • She is the Executive Chairperson of Tswelopele Productions, a television production company.
  • She is the Chairperson of PHAB Property Holdings, and a Director of Leungo Investment Holdings.
  • Yale University

Basetsana sits on various Boards, namely:

  • Lovelife: South Africa’s largest national HIV prevention organisation for young people:  Director and Vice Chairman.
  • The Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development: Director
  • Unipalm Holdings: Director.

Some of Basetsana’s achievements include:

  • She is a former Miss South Africa 1994 and a first-runner up in the Miss World Pageant.
  • She is the former President of the Business Women’s Association of South Africa.
  • She is the Spokesperson for Pampers UNICEF Tetanus campaign.
  • Brand Ambassador for numerous South African Corporates and blue chip companies.
  • Listed as one of the top personal brands, Sunday Times Top Brands Survey (2008)
  • In 2011 she was honoured as a Young Global Leader: World Economic Forum.

A Philanthropist at heart, she and her  husband established the Romeo and Basetsana Kumalo Family Foundation, which focuses on the development of children especially those who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.



Basetsana (affectionately known as “Bassie”) is one of four siblings (she has two sisters and a brother), and was, by her own description, a bit of an introvert at school. wanted her in Hard to believe, considering that she became Head Girl at her high school and also won the award for Best Science Student. From an early age, Bassie was a natural entrepreneur, spending weekends with her siblings making and selling sandwiches at local soccer matches to help keep the family afloat.

Besides having a head for business, Bassie’s beauty saw her being 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. As Miss SA, Bassie earned the love and respect of the nation, spending much of her time involved in community upliftment projects, especially in the field of fundraising.

It was while she was still Miss South Africa that she began working as a presenter on the TV programme Top Billing. She became even more of a household name when she was chosen to be the face of Revlon’s Realistic Hair Care range for both Sub-Saharan Africa and internationally. She remained as Revlon’s spokesperson in this capacity for five years.

In 1995, Bassie became a 50% partner in Tswelopele Productions, the company that produces a magazine tv show named “Top Billing”. In 1999 Tswelopele merged with Union Alliance Media and was listed on the JSE, making Bassie one of the youngest black women directors to be part of the mainstream of the South African economy. Her production company has since started producing other reputable TV shows, including the Afrikaans magazine programme Pasella, and a youth TV show in SiSwati called Ses’kona.

Since then, Bassie has become a formidable force in the business world.
and the recipient of numerous awards for a range of achievements, including an honorary scholarship for overseas study in 1994 from then-president Nelson Mandela. She currently sits on the boards of five major companies.

In 2000, she launched her own clothing range and in 2001, Bassie joined Travel with Flair as a Director. The company has gone on to win Top Travel agency award in 2007 , and in 2009 at the World Travel Awards, the agency won three awards, namely Africa’s Leading Business Travel Agency, Afica’s Leading Travel Management Company and South Africa’s Leading Travel Management Company. .

Bassie and her husband Romeo have established the Romeo & Basetsana Kumalo Family Foundation, which aids in the development of children, especially those who have been orphaned by Aids or other related diseases. Bassie has joined Unicef spokesperson and actress Salma Hayek in the bid to eradicate neonatal and maternal tetanus – their aim is to raise more than 250 million vaccines by 2012, so as to help eliminate the silent killer disease.

Besides being nominated by former first lady Graca Machel in 2007 to be one of five celebrities who volunteered to take a public HIV test, Bassie has also helped to raise money for the Baragwanath Children’s Hospital. She is also a volunteer for Agang Sechaba, a project started in 2007 with the aim of Bassie and other women professional to give back to the township communities into which they were born.

A devoted Christian, Bassie has also received special awards from Operation Hunger, the Cancer Association of South Africa and the RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme), in which she played a key role. Childline, the Take a Girl Child to Work project and Reach for a Dream are just some of the charities in which Bassie has become involved over the years.In 2008, she has been appointed to the board of loveLife, an HIV/Aids preventative organization focusing on media promotion that targets young adults; the aim being to promote life, and save lives through community revitalization, leadership and development.
Bassie has been a Life Champion’s for Life College for the past 6 years; an organization steered towards being a catalyst for psychosocial and economic empowerment in Southern Africa, by providing character and leadership education. Life College offers 5 programmes for youth, adults, and business in South Africa and the organization believes in restoring a drive in each individual, not only to rise above their circumstances but to ask themselves vital questions about how they choose to create and approach their environments. Other Life Champions include Richard Branson, Peter Gabriel, Jane Raphaely, Tim Modise, Raymond Ackerman and Annie Lenox to name a few.

She has been nominated by Femina magazine as one of the Top 10 most glamorous women in South Africa and has also been nominated for the Shoprite/Checkers/SABC 3 Woman of the Year Award the media and communication category.

In 2005 she launched Uzalile Invetsments together with two partners, a woman owned coal mining company, that has done a joint listing with Sekoko Resources on the Australian and Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

In 2008 Bassie became a new Tawana shareholder,a diamond mining company through a transaction with her investment company Pro Direct Investments

She was the first South African woman to grace the cover of international publication, Psychologies Magazine, was appointed brand ambassador for Queenspark.

In 2009, Bassie was nominated for the Inyathelo Philanthropy Award.