Top 10 finalists for the Delush Wines Diva competition announced

PHOTO CAPTION: From Left: Linda Nirvana Rojohasina, Lesego Moeti, Tumi Koloko, Noxy Mkhulisi, Tshepi Mabulana, Kgonotso Carol Mofokeng, Siwelile Thusi, Heather Mokwebo and Nokuzola Gomba. Two finalists, Nokukhanya Khanyile and Thando Galebodiwe, were not present for the photograph.

PHOTO: Donald Chipumha

The search for the Delush Wines Diva, in conjunction with YFM Radio in Gauteng, reached fever-pitch when the top 10 finalists were announced. The ladies stand in line to wine a photo-shoot with True Love Magazine, an interview on YFM and R25 000 clothes from Foschini, courtesy of Delush, one of South Africa’s fastest growing wine brands. Here are the finalists!

Kgonotso Carol Mofokeng

As a first year university student in awe of the older entrants in the competition, Kgonotso says her belief in herself led to her cracking the nod as one of the finalist Delush Divas. “I put a lot of effort in styling my Instagram photograph and think that was what pulled me through,” she says. “But still it was a great big surprise to make the cut, as the other women are so beautiful!”

Kgonotso grew up in Heidelberg and is currently studying for a B. Comm degree at the University of Johannesburg. “My parents taught me about wine, and I love it,” she says. “I told me parents that the moment I turn 18 I am going to have a bottle of wine in the fridge, and that is where Delush now is! I like the natural sweetness of the wine and the fact it does not have the bitterness of other wines and that the alcohol is not too strong.”

As for her wishing to become a Delush Diva, Kgonotso says she has been called a diva since her schooldays, so it was natural to enter! “Other kids were always calling me a diva because of my accent and my strong will. Since then I have been saying: accept me the way I am. I have a lot of friends today calling me a Drama Diva Queen because I like to say my say while respecting the will of others. If I win I would love to be exposed to a greater audience through a Radio YFM interview. And of course, the fashion shoot with True Love – I love taking pictures and having my picture taken.”

Tumi Koloko

Health consultant by day and artist by night, Tumi Koloko has her heart set on becoming a Delush Diva. “My day job is for a health insurance company, while my other hours are spent painting – especially portraits – and my goal is to become a world-renowned artist,” says Tumi. “In this, I think I can use the Delush Diva competition to help grow awareness of my name and my art, while for Delush wines it would afford them the opportunity to leverage off my brand.”

This B. Comm graduate says wine and art complement each other. “They are both art forms, and when I paint I always have a glass of wine on hand. I also like to drink wine when going out, and love the smoother, lighter taste of Delush – especially the Natural Sweet Rosé. It is so different, and so smooth compared to other wines that taste much stronger.

The fact that she sees herself different to an everyday artist makes her a candidate as a Delush Diva. “I tend to do things my way and don’t conform. For example, as an artist I don’t have the general hippy, bohemian look. The way I brand myself and the goals I have set myself make me, I think, a candidate as a Delush Diva. I am my own person who wants to be recognised as a foremost painter with an own style and voice, and I am working hard at that.

“I am different to the everyday artist. I don’t dress like a hippy, don’t have the normal look. The way I brand myself and the goals I have set for myself make me an individual, subscribing to what the competition is about. I am my own person. I want to be a recognised, foremost painter. Working hard at defining that. Becoming a Delush Diva will definitely help and will be amazing.”

Delush Natural Sweet Red 002 e1502794318167 Top 10 finalists for the Delush Wines Diva competition announced

Noxy Mkhulisi

She is at home in a hard hat and working boots, but when Noxy’s busy day as an engineering project manager ends she loves a glass of wine and to be sociable with her friends. Whether it is working as the only woman on a team of 30 or socialising, Noxy likes diversity.

“In my job, I love the fact that I am not limited to one field and can manage projects in such diverse fields as residential, electricity, engineering and water projects,” she says. “Socially I like being with a group of individuals, knowing that like me, we are all people, but each one is different.”

Having studied in Cape Town, Noxy has been exposed to wine for a number of years and was delighted to discover Delush. She first tasted Delush at a wine show at Montecasino. “I love wine as it has a greater depth of flavour compared to other drinks. Spirits are one-dimensional, wine just has so many interesting complexities which I love – much like people! What I like about Delush, is that it is a versatile wine that can appeal to the taste of many different wine drinkers.”

Has she got what it takes to become a Delush Diva? “I really enjoy the brand and will be an ideal individual who encourages people to drink it. It would be great for me to create events around the product and acting as an ambassador. The prizes are great. The shopping part is wow! And the year’s supply of wine will be very welcome, as I sometimes tend to find myself without a bottle of wine in the fridge!”

Siwelile Thusi

This proudly Zulu girl from Empangeni underscores the fact that if there is one thing the Delush Diva finalists share, it is diversity. A qualified chartered accountant, Siwelile currently works in advertising as a creative strategist at FCB Africa, one of South Africa’s leading agencies. Oh, yes, and she is also a part-time photographer.

“I think we are born hybrids, persons with many talents. It is up to you to find your calling and chase it,” she says. “This is what I did, from accounting to a more creative endeavour. We are all blessed with a multitude of talents, just go and use the one that gives you the most satisfaction.”

What Siwelile likes about wine, is the narrative. “In South Africa, wine is definitely growing in popularity – especially in my demographic. Why? Because it is not so much about the wine itself as it is about the narrative and the stories behind the wine. We South Africans just love stories, and the different stories about all the different wines are most appealing and make wine so interesting.”

As a Delush Diva, Siwelile wants to empower by changing the narrative of what South African women can do in the country.

“I am here to tell the narrative, how this beautiful product is made. Not everyone knows that much about wine and as a Diva my job would be to fill the knowledge gap. Instilling knowledge is key in South African society. And here, for Delush, I have a lot to give in term of creativity and business acumen as an ambassador where I can plug into their brand and they into mine.”

As they say in the classics, a beautiful friendship.

Delush Natural Sweet Rose 002 e1502794649678 Top 10 finalists for the Delush Wines Diva competition announced

Lesego Moeti

Lesego looks down at herself and the fantastic dress she is wearing for the event. “There is a lot of creativity in this body!” she says.

For her this is in the field of fashion, backed by a deceptively iron will. After studying fashion design, Lesego worked for various big retail brands, but was not that enamoured with the creative opportunities this line of employment provided.

“I went from a secure line of employment to working for myself in order to do what I think I can do best and what gives me the most personal fulfilment,” says Lesego. “I think this element of risk I have shown is one of the features that could make me a potential Delush Diva. Taking strides, taking risks, following your dreams. Believe in yourself and believe in your ability. I think that is what being a Diva is about, and my career path has reflected this.”

Then there is the mystery…. “That is me!” she says. “When you meet me, you see one person, but as you get to know me better you find a lot of different layers.”

As far as wine goes, Lesego says wine helps maintain her femininity. “Like Delush, the first impressions of a woman is something sweet, but underlying the initial fruitiness, there as the strength that comes through.”
And what part of the Delush Diva prize is she looking forward to? “The clothes! Love to buy those clothes. But would also be over the moon to be the subject of the True Love article giving me a chance to promote my brand.”

Nokuzola Gomba

Bubbly and always smiling, Nokuzola’s job is to make other people look pretty. And everything she has achieved, she has done by herself. This make-up artist is self-taught in her profession. With determination and obvious skill, Nokuzola used YouTube to teach her the finer aspects of lipstick, eye-shadow and blush.

Today she does make-up for people working in some of South Africa’s biggest television productions, those participating in weddings, attending parties and simply anyone who wants to look better. “There is a growing market for make-up artists in the country,” she says. “South Africans are realising the importance of beautifying themselves and it is a great industry to be in – making people looking better and feeling better about themselves, while using my set of skills and talents. All very rewarding.”

Being very aware of looks, Nokuloza loves the look of Delush. “The packaging is vibey, trendy and so feminine. It really stands out from the other products, which is very important in today’s times when we buy with our eyes,” she says. “And the wines are amazing! Smooth and light. And I love the way Delush can be mixed with energy drinks. It is fantastic seeing products that take us away from the norm by being cutting edge.”

What makes her a candidate as a Delush Diva? “I consider myself a go-getter. I am vibey, tackle everything I do head-on and I don’t allow anything to stand in my way. Definitely outgoing and I just love life. I would love to win the True Love article and use it to promote my brand.”

Heather Mokwebo

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and on the business radar of Heather Mokwebo. The student in Business Administration is determined to graduate and start her own business, something that conforms to her wish to make a mark on everything she does. “That business will be centred on the beauty industry, and at this stage I am especially interested in make-up. I would like to transform women as this is an important part of empowerment.”

As a party girl and wine drinker, Heather has acquired a taste for Delush. “It has this sense of being something different and individual – characteristics with which I would definitely like to associate myself,” she says. “Me and many of my friends find wine a bit harsh and bitter, and this is not the case for Delush. It has opened myself to wine and what wine is about.”

With an eye for beauty, Heather also cannot help but enthuse on the packaging. “Most wine packaging is plain and does not appeal to the consumer looking for a bit of vibrancy in his or her life. Delush ticks the boxes, spot on.”
She loves the idea of the competition as it provides a platform for women. “We don’t have that many platforms with which to promote ourselves and with which to engage. I just love the whole way the competition was put together, the ‘in your element’ part capturing the originality of this wine promotion perfectly. And I’d love to win the clothes!”

Linda Nirvana Rojohasina

It is about flavour for Linda, the only one of the Delush Diva finalists who is professionally involved in the culinary industry. This private chef, trained at the prestigious HTA School for Culinary Arts in Johannesburg, whips up delicious meals and snacks for celebrities, dignitaries and high-society events. She specialises in cold kitchen – salads, cold meats – and pastries.

“I see myself as a bit of an artist. I love dressing the plate by making the food look pretty, as the plate is the canvas,” she says. “People who use my services get beautiful food, along with something that is delicious to eat. What is that saying, you eat with your eyes?”

And when not catering – a profession known for its mercilessly long hours – Linda loves the music side of life as a worship leader at Hillsong Churches. “I lived in Madagascar until I was seven years old, as my mother is from that country. She comes from a musical family, so I guess the apple did not fall far from the tree in my case.”

In her world in the kitchen, wine is obviously no stranger. “I love wine. As an accompaniment to food and something one can use it in the kitchen. I am especially partial to white wines as these go well with my cold dishes, very popular in South Africa where we love our outdoor lifestyle. I am very excited about this new wine on the market, Delush, which goes well with al fresco eating. And being on the sweeter side, it is a perfect partner to my other speciality – pastries.”

How does she see herself as a Delush Diva? “I’m young, consider myself to be dynamic. I am here to change the game, also in my industry which is male dominated,” she says. “I want to show woman you can have fun, should not take yourself too seriously and I am very much into inspiring women, helping them grow and empowering them.”

Of the prize, Linda looks forward to the potential interview on YFM. “I have a lot to say and I would like people to hear what I say.”

Nokukhanya Khanyile

Yes, there’s a doctor in the house. Nokukhanya is currently working as a medical doctor in her second year of internship at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, but in her spare hours it is socialising, party, dinners and hanging out with friends.

And it is this balance that has Nokukhanya feeling she has what it takes to be a Delush Diva. “I love a great party or dinner with the girls, but also recognise the responsibility I have to be the best, safest doctor for my patients. I feel I can show how easy it can be to have fun with a glass of Delush when I am not on duty, but safe and responsible when I am working.”

As far as her fondness for Delush goes, the doctor says the Natural Sweet Red is her favourite. “I simply love the wine for its taste, but also the versatility in being able to make other drinks such as those delicious pop-tails that are on the Delush Wines website.”

Having gotten to know the other finalists in the Delush Diva Competition, Nokukhanya says it is a huge honour to count among these ladies. “When I think about the group of women in the top 10 I’m so incredibly honoured to be associated with their diversity, commitment to their craft and beauty. But to be chosen to possibly represent a brand that I love for doing something I love is an extra bonus because I feel that Delush brand represents the variety of flavours in our lives as the different roles we all play.”

And as far as the prizes go, Nokukhanya is most excited about the True Love spread. “Most people think that doctors are super serious or even boring and I’m ready to show people that, not only are we committed to our patients but we’re also fun and full of life.”

Thando Galebodiwe

One would have to say that in the Delush Diva Competition, Thando is in her element. Being an activation and events manager as well as a social media manager for an entertainment company, the on-line, digital nature of the Delush campaign is right-up her alley.

“It really means alot to me being one of the ten finalists,” she says. “What a special feeling to be not only part of an amazing brand such as Delush, but part of a proudly South African brand.”

Thando says she first encounterd the brigh, attractive packaging of Delush at Shoprite and came across the Delush page on Instagram. “I just had to try it, and it is such an amazingly approachable wine. Its uniquely smooth taste is what got me and I am a true believer now!”

Can she be a Delush Diva we can be proud of? “For sure! Not only am I a bubbly and fun person, a lot of my friends and associates know how much I love wine, so being a part of such an awesome brand will mean I have even more reason to introduce it to the masses and of course they will fall in love with it.”

And what is it about the final prize that has her licking her lips at the possibility of winning? “What appeals to me is knowing that this time around I will be an advocate for something that was made in our beautiful country and I will get to brag about a product I am a part of.“