Wednesday, February 16, 2011


It is a pleasurable Friday night, snugly with a Fruit Cocktail and an aroma of vanilla room spray from Crabtree & Evelyn that I am trying out. I am reading my interview with Adheema over and over searching for a way to deliver to Manolo Drive Kings and Queens, the same inspiration I am getting from her aura, without being clumsy with the details.

Adheema is a Durbanite who epitomises the same effortless sophistication she uses to describe the core of daveydarling, her fashion line... “It’s a brand for someone who wants to be stylish, comfortable and unique, whether it’s for everyday wear or a special occasion, and without trying too hard- it’s prĂȘt-a-porter, it’s ‘practi-fashion’”.

With every piece made with love, daveydarling does not shy away from Adheema’s eclectic and sophisticated attitude. It is of a quiet-confidence appeal that allows customers to embrace every piece with their own personal flair, while still looking gorgeous. Another calling factor is that the prices are kept in customers’ comfort zones.

On a typical Thursday, Adheema starts off the morning at work at a local Non-Profit Organisation, where she works on Marketing and Public Relations Monday to Thursday from 8 to 12. If it is the beginning of a season, she is liasing, sourcing and sampling with fabric suppliers or overseeing the technicalities or construction of her garments, because the perfection daveydarling delivers always has to go beyond just the design. The daveydarling brand has now showed at the Max Institute of Fashion Art at Gateway, in Umhlanga. Showing there has brought with it more opportunities, and she therefore expects to be keeping with the pressure of orders with a good playlist and a vision that is glued on the prize and not just the sketch pad.

In the afternoons, she goes through coursework, preparing for assignments and reading where she will go for a workout that evening. Some TV time is squeezed in at home with sore muscles and dinner. This time is also good for catching up on her reading and study books. Adheema’s bit of insomnia can be seen as a blessing in disguise because at time she will even work on daveydarling, and squeeze in some blogging time right to the wee hours of the morning.

It is with reason that her weekends are spent relaxing with family by long lazy breakfasts and lunches. Saturday nights are spent with friends, savouring every hour of the night and dreading the morning.

With a sweet tooth for days, Adheema also runs cuppincakes, which started as a hobby but grew into a business faster than mousse melts in your mouth. Her gourmet cupcakes are sweetened with indulgent flavours such as “pineapple hummingbird”, “red velvet”, and “chocolate volcanoes” which all have pretty decorations. Having loved the cakes, her initial customers - friends and family -naturally spread the decadence to others, which gave cuppincakes more awareness and as a result, the I Heart Market and Essenwood Market in Durban great platforms to sell on weekends. Now with her studies and day-time job, Adheema has had to scale down to private orders only, which still happen often.

Adheema herself says that Marketing is very important. The brand daveydarling is especially made known via her blog which is full of “new collection updates, trends and musings,” as well as a regularly updated facebook page to keep customers in sync with daveydarling. Simultaneously, cuppincakes is promoted via an email database for customers, as well as on facebook.

Adheema clearly is very creative and business minded, a trait taken from her mother who taught her to be proactive and hard-working. Being a ‘newbie’ in the business, she sees it as both a risk and adventure. For her, it is an exercise of patience and learning from mistakes. Having learned the wisdom of “...people skills, being courteous and keeping business making the right contacts”, she has also come to acknowledge that as a whole, it is sometimes “trial and error”.


What are you currently reading?
At the moment it’s two books, an Italian novel, Il Gattopardo, and The Human Search for Meaning, a book on Comparative Religion,

You are a very creative person. What drives your ideas?
Thank you! I think that fashion is something that is ever-evolving, so I am constantly working on my label and collections to keep up-to-date. There is so much that inspires me, both in and out of the fashion world, and that keeps me going.

Where do you keep your stock? Where can people contact you when they want to buy?
Currently my range is available privately, by contacting me or on my facebook page or blog. I have also joined the I heart market, a Durban market held on the first Saturday of each month showcasing Durban talent. I am also working on a few other ideas, so watch this space!

Do you ever find that you need any social support, to keep you going?
I definitely think that social support is necessary, as a young designer trying to make a name for myself in our local fashion industry, I have to make every attempt to put myself and my label out there. It’s hard work that pays off.

What are your price ranges?
Prices range between R 150 and R 400.

You are studying this year, what are you studying, and how do you manage your time?
I am studying towards a degree in Human and Social Sciences, majoring in Comparative Religion and Islamic Studies, with minors in Arabic, Italian, and later, Human Rights and Social Transformation. My studies are by correspondence through UNISA, so I am learning to juggle my time in between that and part-time work, as well as daveydarling. I think time management is an important key for anyone, and sacrifices have to be made in order to gain reward, and I’m willing to make those sacrifices, and put in some serious elbow grease to keep my day job, do well with my studies, and of course run a successful business! I also have my friends and family there who would push me in the right direction should they sense any laziness setting in!

How do you balance friends and business?
I try to keep a healthy balance between business and social time. My friends and I like to keep things low-key, so chilled dinners at Spiga, fun stand-up comedy shows, live music and coffee, and the like are what take up most of my social time.

How do you spend the profits from your business activities?
Most of my money does go back into my business, for future use, but I do like to treat myself, so a portion of my profits go towards my aforementioned shoe fetish, and other little treats…(such as movies)

What are your values?
Values that I strive for personally, as well as look for in others are honesty, integrity, compassion, humility, and ambition.

What should Manolo Drive Kings and Queens (how I describe my readers) do when in Durban?
Definitely spend some chill out time at the beach soaking up some sun on Suncoast beach; visit Spiga d’Ora on Florida Road for delish, authentic Italian food, great atmosphere…and really good looking waiters! The great thing about them is they’re open til the wee hours, so you can get your pasta or chocolate volcano fix anytime you like; get a workout while shopping and walking across Gateway; and visit the Bean Green in Glenwood for the perfect cup of coffee.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


You’ll know he is in the corridor by the girls rolling their eyes, pretending to be bored by his lines. Njabulo is incredibly charming, if I may say so, and it comes with so much ease. (The ladies will roll their eyes at this too; mainly because it is true...I guess it is a girl thing.) Also, his facebook profile is adorned with beautiful girls. He strikes me as a mix between Gossip Girl’s Chuck Bass, N.E.R.D’s Pharell Williams and Johnny Bravo- business and attitude wise.

Njabulo juggles school and a Photography business called Mogul Pics. Njabulo is also now studying Photography. Every morning at 4am, he goes for sport 20 minutes from his flat. He arrives at school at 7am, where classes begin at 9am. He’ll be there until about 5pm. Mogul Pics takes centre stage from Wednesday and Thursday evenings, right through to Sunday. His balance mantra is to “be there fully- give it your all and leave school at school, leave work at work.”

Besides Directing Mogul Pics, Njabulo also does checks on Eden, a Restaurant in Durban that he owns shares. Eden is managed by other people. This grand move is coupled with the fact that he worked at Eden Restaurant at 16 for extra money, where the owner took a liking to him. It was a delightful and humbling surprise to find out that he left Njabulo shares of the business, when he passed away.

He has all the passion, discipline and hard work and what inspires me about this former Durban High school student is that he does it with so much ease. You can never catch him in a stressed state, or openly irritated by anything too.

How did Mogul Pics come about? At 16, Njabulo worked for Barcode Mobile, a company that made drinks at parties. He went to crazy events while there. One day, at a Confederations Cup Bid event, he saw photographers do their thing. While making cocktails and drinks behind the bar, guests would ask him if the company he worked for had any photographers. He suggested to his boss about the company having photographers in-house, and the reply was “No, we do drinks. We need to stick to that, and not confuse ourselves with too many things”.

It was simple: either Njabulo made something of the opportunity, or not. He got a camera for his 17th birthday, after talking to his mother about the opportunity to start his own event photography business. He used Barcode Mobile to get his initial clients. Njabulo is now 20 years old and I can only imagine the taste of his current success, and I want to know how he does it. I also want to find out who he is behind the Chuck Bass swag...really, I cannot get over it!

I had a chat with him on a Monday after school, almost interrupting his phone call with Mommy dearest. Njabulo explains that he was updating her on his latest projects. That Friday, he had to attend the Loeries in Cape Town, an event in Durban, then come back in time for SA Fashion Week Johannesburg which started the next Wednesday up till Sunday. We talked with his MAC Book still open, as he had to prepare for the Loeries.

Currently Njabulo will be doing work with SMME and will be sponsoring their upcoming event with printing services. “I’d like to go home now and chill but I have to go and work my bum off”, he says towards the end of a meeting with myself and a friend on a related topic, after we forced him to meet us in Johannesburg at 15h00 sharp even though he was in Durban the previous day and flying back in a day or two. I enjoy every meeting with him, and am always left very inspired. This time, it was all topped off with his pick-me-up song, Go Getter by Lil Wayne played from his Blackberry.

Three words to describe you?
Flirt, hardworking, focused.

Who inspires you?
Mother. She raised all three boys by herself, and still managed to take us to good schools.

Any sport?
Basketball and Boxing.

No. Too much admin. I doubt a girlfriend would understand that when I’m at an event, I’m there to work, I do sport early in the morning from 4 am, and I do not want to be disturbed at school...When would I get the time?

So what does your company do?
It is a Social Photography and Advertising company. We take pictures at events, post them on websites, and sell pictures. We also advertise events. We are now currently working on a fresher company website.

Any competition?
There is indirect competition from sites such as, and The competition really relies on the number of hits/reach on your site.

How is the money?
Pretty good. Especially because I always put in 150%

What is your vision for the company in the future?
Taking over the web and social media. Taking the business to being an online magazine, and also publishing a magazine and lifestyle show.

Do you have any staff in your business already?
No. But I work with a lady called Tessa, who does my admin. For example, I could get a call (client/business request) while at school, so I would need someone to quickly check availability and secure gigs, make quick payments/money transfers that are needed, etc. I also work with my former Business Management lecturer, whom I meet with probably once every month, just to sit down and chat about what has been going on with the business, and to learn some new mind skills and business etiquette...for example, when to act broke and when not to.

Can you elaborate on that?
Yeah I also got that from basketball as well. As a person, you need to learn not to stick out as a sore thumb. Never be clever than anyone. When you are at kasi, blend in, do not be the smooth guy from the ‘burbs. Likewise, when you are with ‘clever’ people, blend in too. As soon as you think you are better, you go down. Do not play one on one with anyone, in a basketball game. You do not need to. It is a given that you are going to win. Why show off?

Any business secrets you have learned?
Do not trust anyone.
Do not show off.
Do not be better than your leader- Do not compete with the hand that feeds you.
You can be dressed to the nines but if you have no personality, not much will work for you.
Be smart.

How do you handle your money?
I am good with money. I save like a mo-fo (sic). I mean, my mom is still a single parent. I once did a blunder though, where I earned R15, 000 for a gig and spent it in 3 days, and I do not know on what exactly.

Alright Thank You Njabulo, any other ways to contact you?
Cool...wait, you have my business card. *smiles*
(Note: Smiles with a Mogul swag) Yes, I smiled back. Amiably.

Future plans? He will be inventing and launching the next product that will be as viral as the VuvuZela. All I can say right now is A__H_AD! You can check out Mogul Pics at and be on the lookout for him whenever you are at an A–Lister event.

Ask yourself, “What would my story be if I went after the opportunities I have already spotted?”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Pocket Money Icecream

She is from Maseru, Lesotho. She had a shy demeanour about her in the beginning when she joined our high school. We were about 13. By the typical behaviour of upper-class snobs, the ‘cool-crew’ would not talk to her, lest their social standing be compromised. Well, I enjoyed many conversations with her. We laughed over long walks with ice cream of our last pocket money, sharing personal secrets and laying our insecurities in one another, enjoying the company of another person whom we found comforting and unusually very understanding.

Mapolo Cheoane wore thick glasses that made her gorgeous eyes look bigger- though you’d still wish she’d take them off. We admired her sister, who studied in Cape Town and had many cosmopolitan experiences which Mapolo would repeat back to me, for the enjoyment of our ‘ooh’s and ‘aahs’. Mapolo rarely enjoys being the audience.

We shared a longing for freedom and beauty...

...The kind of beauty that makes your scrawny legs gorgeous because you honour them and believe they will take you to better places, so you love them to avoid disrespect. The kind of beauty that you are genuinely confident about, out of our own accord, not because your mother sang the “you’re special songs” when you came back with tearful stories of mean girls and stupid boys.

I watched Mapolo bloom.....and bloom. She whooped her long ethnic hair and dated the coolest boy in school- yep. “The uncool girl”, so they’d say, with poorly hidden envy. Another boy followed. He was a tall Swiss taste of Harry Potter gone gansta. Perhaps I shouldn’t say his name? She was honey for the exotic ones, from foreign lands. In my ‘you-go-girl’-s and ‘wow-wow-wow’-s I was careful not to ask what the zing was. Every woman deserves their own secrets, I believe. I am reminded of Maya Angelo who wrote, “Beautiful women wonder, where my secret lies...” – BIG High 5!

Fast-forward -Mapolo is absolutely gorgeous. She is comfortable in who she is. Our conversations now revolve under the fabulous life - fancy cars, shoes, cocktails and our perfect men- the entire typical girl stuff. Add lingerie, glamour, and knowing how to fix gourmet. The essence though is keeping it authentic, not being all nose-in-the-air once you think you’ve got it. Yes, she still is honey for the exotic ones.

When she talks, you watch her eyes more than you listen. You appreciate her skin and know without question, it is smooth from happiness. When she approaches, I need not look back from the sound of her sashay and effortless stiletto soprano. Her dreams of beauty and freedom have now come true and she has made something more tangible of them.

Mapolo now owns a Beauty Salon in Cape Town called Lopoma, which opened in March 2010. I am inspired. My friend is doing what she wants- in a big city. She is altering her career, and is planning her 23rd birthday.

Lapoma Beauty Salon

Traffic was slow for the salon in the beginning. Lopoma now has to become a mobile beauty spa that offers services in the comfort of the client’s own home or office area. Mapolo intends to handle this between her new job.

“I will be working as a half Receptionist/Therapist. I love the job because it will help me know more about admin work which will later on help me in my business. I need to know how to organise everything. I will learn better about the inside of a spa and how things are run compared to a small salon like mine. At a later stage when I am comfortable, I will reopen the doors at a retail location,” she says.


What do you do over weekends?
I just chill and enjoy my time alone or with friends. I do not go out anymore (say wha?).

Three words to describe you:
Ambitious, hard working and persuasive.

Can you reveal your best kept Beauty Secrets?
To be honest I do not have beauty secrets.

No beauty secrets? That's surprising! Do you have any staff members for Lopoma?
Nah I do not have any staff, me working with someone would mean I would have to pay them and right now Lopoma is not financially stable. I can still handle all the work by myself.

Three favourite things in your apartment?
My comfy bed, my couch and my flowers.

Vision for Lopoma?
I would like to see it competing with big Spa/Salon brands, to see it being well known in South Africa.

Thank you Mapolo, I really appreciate it.
Thanks babe will be waiting to hear from you.

Alright babe xxx


When you are true to yourself, you automatically develop an authentic PERSONAL BRAND that no one can copy, and that is bound to bring many opportunities. Be brave in that which you want to be, and go for it relentlessly.
Thank you for reading. I wish you good spirits, saunas and indulgent Lopoma treatments.

You can contact Mapolo on