Kgomotso Ndungane, wife of former Sharks and Springboks winger Odwa Ndungane, is a businesswoman who runs a three-tier events company and a flower boutique.
Mrs Ndungane has had many viewers glued to their screens as one of the housewives on the Real Housewives of Durban.
We had some time to sit down and chat with Kgomotso on her journey as a housewife on the show:
Each Real Housewives city showcases unique things about their location, what do you think your season will show about Durban?
Durban is one of the warmest cities in SA, with the most beautiful Indian Ocean coastline. There is immense character brought about by different ethnic groups and varied cultures which make us celebrate and embrace being true Africans.
When it comes to cuisine and business, some of the things the city is well known for is the spice (and I mean the actual spice, not the RHOD Spice (LOL)), the sugar cane plantations, the dolphin north coast, the famous bunny chows or what I would call a Quarter (aka Kota) for those not born in KZN, curries and traditional Zulu cuisine.
For viewers who have already watched episode one of RHOD, you will see that spice and character play is important to cuisine. We debuted the Zulu Breyani which Nonku wanted Sorisha to have served at the Diwali dinner table and it’s basically one with meat.
The panner dish also became the famous “fake” butter chicken (LOL). You will also see us making a gourmet bunny which is a quarter aka Kota to me. We also love to dance, have lots of fun and laugh in Durban.
How did you end up on the show?
After being approached and considered a possible cast member who would offer value, remain loyal and committed to the show, I also had to derive my own objectives and goals as to why I would agree to be part of a show with such a dynamic and invasive format.
It basically came down to an intention of showcasing my business acumen for product development and services. I have massive respect and passion for development and service. As a young IT black professional, I used to create and implement enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems for some of the giant financial corporate companies.
Breaking away from corporate SA, using the knowledge I gained and focusing on what I wanted to achieve as part of legacy building, prompted me to start developing my own products and service lines. Being able to build my empires with my own sweat and knowing to stand on my own, I now successfully run Oak Celebrations and Lelapa Brand.
Through hard work, I am favoured with a great client base, a great network and resources which make it possible for me to achieve my goals. I don’t ever expect any handouts from anyone. My passion is hard work with great rewards and that landed me on the show.
What did you enjoy most about filming the show?
Filming the show is not child’s play. I have so much respect for TV personalities now, than I ever did before, because I now have a deeper understanding of what differentiates them and why some of them eventually become icons. And by icons I don’t mean the “full time icons” though.
In my observation and humble opinion, when you are filming a production to entertain the viewer you are a mysterious character even to yourself, based on a storyline which is also unknown to you.
What I enjoyed most about filming the show was going through a very personal self-discovery journey with lots of learning, interaction with the ladies, learning about their backgrounds, what drives them, their challenges and most importantly just seeing how determined they are when it comes to their business empires and beliefs.
The one common factor we all have is our drive for being unapologetically successful businesswomen in the midst of parenting, marriages (or lack thereof), social pressures, media, black Twitter – all those dynamics made us the most strongest cast in the history of Real Housewives South Africa.
The production team is the real talent and have the most intelligent creative minds working towards a goal, which is making a world class production with limited resources. A production which will be a benchmark for many more reality shows to come in SA.
Just watching them put their heart and soul into their work, having to deal with divas and still keeping their eyes and focus on the end goal was so admirable. This entire experience, with all it came with (sometimes nice at times not so nice) was everything for me.
What did you enjoy the least?
I didn’t realise that being part of the show would demand so much of my time. I thought I would be able to balance production, family life and my businesses but it was extremely challenging, especially given the fact we are also faced with a pandemic.
At times I didn’t enjoy the pressure of fulfilling a housewife cast obligations (makeup, dress up, show up) while having to manage my businesses and also being present for my family.
I have an extremely supportive and hands on husband, Odwa, who would do anything for his family and without him, I would have fallen apart. He understood and supported what I had committed myself to more than I did and he wants to always see me happy so I can have a good day shooting. He carried the household on my behalf while we were shooting.
That in itself was also a struggle because he also runs multiple business empires; a civil engineering construction business, he’s also a rugby analyst for Super Sport and also has a sport agency. It was a huge challenge given our business roles. However, commitment is an essential part of our being.
There were many times when I felt like quitting as it would have been an easy way out, but we had to stay strong, knowing that a struggle is temporary but quitting is forever.
What surprised you most about being part of the filming process?
What surprised me most about being part of the filming process was just how my mind can run like a wildfire. A lot of times I found myself not being present in the moment. Everyone is so different and the unknown “character” that they are playing for the show has to somehow match their reality. It gets tricky but while it’s tricky you have to stay in the magic.
You can only stay in the magic 100% if you are fully present and not in the future. I tend to think a lot about the future whenever I do anything business related because that’s how I can then gain control of my actions and planning.
In this role, I had to learn to exercise the power of now because as much as the story touches on my reality, it still is not my intellectual property and I have no power or any sort of control over it. I needed to just concentrate on the now in order to trust in the process.
Will you be addressing some of the burning questions the public has about you?
They have burning questions? Really?
If it warrants my answer yes, if not, no. I might just be very courteous and give a politically correct or incorrect answer. I will leave it to the viewer to decide on my behalf. I love their opinions and what they perceive to be reality and not. Isn’t that the reason why the show becomes a hit? The mystery of it all?
Did you find yourself in any drama this season?
It wouldn’t be Real Housewives Of Durban if Kgomotso didn’t bring any drama. I am low-key dramatic but you need to get it and think out pf the box. You will just have to keep watching to see all the explosive fireworks, the entertainment and the tea that gets served. It’s a lot of spillage, especially in the finale. But the other ladies are higher grade drama, yoh. I am still in the standard grades. It’s all about levels here (LOL).
What else about your life will viewers get to see?
I don’t go overboard making sure that the viewer sees everything about my personal life. There’s just some things which I’ve always kept private because I don’t ever want them to define who I am or give any other person the power to feel the entitlement of fully knowing me.
They must know the character I show them on Real Housewives and that’s that on that. The objective for me was about my businesses, Oak Celebrations and Lelapa Brand.
They touch on my family life and my network and because they are so intertwined it had to come as a package. For me, it’s important the viewer identifies with an ordinary black female, living a life which they can identify with and be inspired by the spirit of a hustler. The spirit of a hustler for me and my family is about building generational wealth for our children.
I come from a background where my great grandparents, my grandparents, my parents were able to build that for me and it’s important for us as a family to stay building and not living for today. Building a legacy for our children and making sure that our network reflects our net worth are some of the few principles we strive to live by.
What are you hoping the show will achieve?
Our production team worked effortlessly to produce a show that will be a success, entertaining and most importantly have viewership. I mean, what’s the point if you’re going to bring a boring show across so many countries? In the midst of that, their mandate to us as cast members was to give us substance and the respect we deserve in the challenging universal format of RH.
Bringing substance to us as business women was to showcase us in our own right and that is women who are leading their businesses from the front. All of us run successful businesses while having the pressures of narrating our personal stories in the most humorous and dramatic of ways to create entertainment.
It’s not an easy balance but it’s up to us as cast members to commit beyond just shooting. I am hoping that the show can reach its intended message, its goals and that we as the cast members were able to offer ourselves, unapologetically, in order to sell the show and make it one of their biggest achievements for 2020-21and beyond for the RH of South Africa franchise.
Would you consider a career in TV full time?
It depends what the role would be and how much it’s paying (hahahaha). Is it a behind the scenes or cast role? But, hypothetically speaking, if I would ever consider a career in TV full time it would have to be similar to that of Lindiwe Dikana on The River. MaDLABANTU. I love her.
She’s my Sasha Fierce but I would just kill people with my kindness, not literally kill and bury them. She always gives me giggles and I love to giggle especially when she goes “hai voetsek Shabalala, imali yami le, do what I pay you to do“.
Do you follow the Real Housewives franchise? If so, which other city/cast is your favorite?
Mmmmh, I followed Johannesburg one for pure laughter and entertainment. Then when I got approached to be cast for RHO Durban, I had to watch a few other franchises so I watched Potomac (the last season – I think it’s season 5 where Monique actually dragged Candice) and I also watched the last season of Beverly Hills and stopped there. I had enough background and it was scary but it wasn’t going to stop me from embarking on my own experience.
Which other shows are your guilty pleasure?
Not much hey. I am not a big reality or soapy person. I do enjoy The River because of I am a huge fan of Lindiwe Dikana and I binge watch when I want to not think about anything important and just laugh and rest my mind. My favourite show is Money Heist. I am guilty of that.
I watched all seasons in almost two days curing Level 5 lockdown whenever I was not working on Lelapa Brand development and Oak Celebrations event strategies post Covid-19.