Basetsana and Romeo Kumalo

"We are passionate about helping those in need, but mostly we’re inspired by children. There is so much need in South Africa and we want to make a tangible and sustainable difference.” Basetsana and Romeo Kumalo received the 2009 Inyathelo Philanthropy Merit Award. The couple were acknowledged for their extensive contribution to helping individuals and communities, particularly for their work with children in Gauteng.

Both successful business people and celebrities in their own rights, Basetsana and Romeo Kumalo are actively involved in a myriad of philanthropic activities throughout South Africa, impacting positively on children, organisations and communities.

They do this in between their busy schedules and parenting their children.

Romeo is the Group Executive for Business Strategy and Development for Vodacom. He is well-known as a DJ on Radio Metro and for presenting and co-presenting programmes such as Soul Sounds and Ezimtoti. He is also recognised as being the youngest station manager in SABC history. His wife, a former Miss South Africa, Basetsana serves on a number of non profit boards and anchors lifestyle TV Magazine show, Top Billing. 

“Many people ask us why we get involved in mentorship programmes, become spokespersons for various causes and formed a foundation,” says Bassie, as she is affectionately known. “It’s because we are passionate about helping those in need, but mostly we’re inspired by children. There is so much need in South Africa and we want to make a tangible and sustainable difference.”

It’s that attitude that spurred Bassie’s friend and business partner, Patience Stevens, to nominate the Kumalo couple for the 2009 Inyathelo Merit Award for Philanthropy earlier this year.

The Inyathelo Philanthropy Awards, recognises South Africans whose personal contributions have made a sustainable contribution to the communities in which they are active. 

And with the creation of the Romeo and Basetsana Kumalo Family Foundation, children orphaned by HIV/Aids and related diseases will benefit for years to come.  “We feel privileged to be nominated for this award,” says Bassie. “We don’t do our philanthropy work to get recognised. We do it to make a difference. But, if by accepting this nomination it helps others see the creative ways in which one can give back, then we have made a difference in another way.”