How SA's celeb moms are navigating life in lockdown

Basetsana Kumalo is one of several well-known mothers taking an innovative approach to stimulate their broods and inspire others while housebound

29 March 2020 - 00:00 By craig jacobs
Basetsana Kumalo turned 46 on Sunday — her friends joined the party on Instagram. The cake and flowers, by Ann Malinga of Blaque Petals, arrived before the lockdown kicked in.
Basetsana Kumalo turned 46 on Sunday — her friends joined the party on Instagram. The cake and flowers, by Ann Malinga of Blaque Petals, arrived before the lockdown kicked in.
Image: Angela Buthelezi

To celebrate turning 46 on Sunday, bestselling author and business person Basetsana Kumalo threw a party in a room filled with her favourite blooms and a two-tier cake iced in lemon and blush pink. But it was a party with a difference.

While the former Miss SA's three children and husband Romeo were there in person, the rest of her guests celebrated from the comfort of their smartphones and laptops.

"It's going to be fabulous, darling. There is so much I am grateful for, and I want to celebrate this journey with everybody," said the My Journey of Hope author ahead of the online event.

Kumalo is one of a handful of well-known mothers taking an out-of-the-box approach to stimulate their broods and inspire others as we batten the hatches to flatten the coronavirus curve. She got the idea for the isolation birthday party after watching TV host Nandi Madida celebrate hers on Instagram last week.

"Even though we are quarantined, birthdays should be celebrated. I want to bring hope and lightness," she said.

Don't change your routine

• Don’t step out of your routine. It will destabilise the entire household.

• Limit time on electronics.

• Use this time to connect with each other as a family. Appreciate this opportunity for  quality time.

Meanwhile, broadcaster Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, who has two young daughters, has taken to reading children's stories across all her channels — her Jacaranda FM radio show, her social media feeds and her online support network, Parent+Baby Brunch. On Thursday, she read from the Afrikaans children's book Stampie die Dinosourus.

Afrika-Bredenkamp began preparing for the lockdown long before Thursday. The "mom-preneur" says sticking to routine, something Kumalo also highlights, has been crucial.

"By 8am the girls are already dressed and eating breakfast. When I start my show on Jacaranda at 9am, they have an hour of homeschool - puzzles, mathematics for toddlers, brain exercises," she said.

Former Miss SA Vanessa Carreira-Coutroulis concurs.

"I've always been a schedule mom. It is the only thing that has kept me sane," said the mother of seven-year-old triplets Sophia, Mila and Nikola, and Leo, 10.

Afrika-Bredenkamp says she has converted the garage into an art room, and Kumalo has transformed her study into a classroom.

On Wednesday, when the photo for this article was taken, the Kumalo brood were deep into an art exercise, painting miniature cars, butterflies and owls.

Their day also starts with breakfast at 8am before they head out for a walk around the family property.

Exercise is key in the Carreira-Coutroulis household. Vanessa's husband Chris brought home pairs of mini boxing gloves for the classes he holds with the kids.

All the moms cite restricting the kids' time on electronics, whether it's TV, smartphone or PlayStation, as a crucial part of their lockdown regime.

And Kumalo says spending more time with her family hasn't meant her business interests, which include an investment company and production company Connect TV, have suffered.

"I am getting so much work done, being at home. I am really astounded at how technology is helping us keep sane and productive during these times," she said.

This article is adapted from one that appeared in the print edition of the Sunday Times on March 29.


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