Basetsana Kumalo is one of South Africa’s most formidable media personalities, and is also responsible for some of the most popular shows currently on air.
Basetsana Kumalo is a South African businesswoman and television personality who rose to fame after winning the Miss South Africa title in 1994, subsequently becoming the Miss World runner-up in the same year. She went on to build a name for herself in the media industry, and is greatly recognised for her former role as one of the hosts on SABC 3’s Top Billing. Aside from being in front of the camera, Basetsana has also gone behind the scenes to create some of South Africa’s most watched television shows.
Whilst on Top Billing, Basetsana formed a partnership with the show’s producer, Patience Stevens, and went on to jointly own Tswelopele Productions. In 1999, Tswelopele Productions merged with Union Alliance Media, resulting in her being recognised as one of the youngest Black women directors in the mainstream South African economy. The production company was responsible for shows such as SABC 2’s Afrikaans magazine programme, Pasella, and the Swati youth show, Ses’khona, on SABC1.
In 2012, Basetsana created Connect Channel (Pty) Ltd, a digital content and television production company owned by herself and Clifford Elk. According to the company’s website, “Connect TV has produced some 500 hours of light studio entertainment and over 460 hours of original, unscripted television. We currently have some 100 hours of unscripted reality shows in production and a number of new and exciting projects in development that should appeal to viewers from the African diaspora wherever they currently live.”
Connect TV has created eight culturally relevant and unscripted reality productions, which are presented in English and indigenous languages. These shows include: Our Perfect Wedding, Date My Family, Diski Divas, Bootcamp, Utatakho, Please Step In, Ons Spruikies Bruilof (Our Fairy-Tale Wedding) and Married In A Flash.