Actresses Terry Pheto and Mampho Brescia, who refer to each other fondly as besties, have joined hands and ventured into new terrain - educational toys to equip young learners with skills that will prepare them to be leaders and go-getters.
The duo, known for their stellar television and film performances, have started a venture called Let's Learn Toys. Brescia, the Isibaya actress, says this stems from her desire to always be a great mother.
“I think for me personally, it was born out of that desperate need to be a great mom. Being the highly competitive person that I am and having been raised by a strong woman who believed in education and was driven by the fact that one must learn, gain knowledge to be better, gave me power,” says Brescia.
Through their conversations they found that they have the same desire to equip children from a young age with skills that will better their chances in the future. Thus their creation Let’s Learn Toys was conceived.
International star Pheto adds that this project has been in the developmental stages for the past several years, with researching and linking up with the necessary stakeholders.
“We are both passionate about children and education. As we are besties and we play a lot, we thought this could be a good space for us to play in and do something that we have never done before and don’t know of anyone else (in South Africa) who has.
“I think there is always a need for education. Trends come and go but we wanted something that will be part of our legacy, and showcase the values and beliefs that we have.
"So the venture was born from knowing that not every child will have the same tools but that doesn’t mean they can’t achieve stuff,” says Pheto.
Let’s Learn Toys comprises an array of materials which include literature, a touch of mathematics, science and fun games for the entire family.
Terry Pheto and Mampho Brescia. Picture: Nhlahla Phillips
“The books I like because I’ve always been a great fan of literature,” says Brescia. “I love how it is a great way of teaching. We have literature that teaches maths in a way that maths was never taught before.”
The two actresses also hope to influence parents’ purchasing patterns, to think deeply about what they are investing in their children’s development.
“We are enabling children to learn in a fun way - making education fun,” says Pheto, who is also an aunt and a godmother.
“We cannot be content with the fact that 30% (as a pass) is enough. What are the kids doing the entire time? That means they are playing, so why not give them toys that will improve their knowledge?”
They have really high hopes for this venture. Not just for themselves but the entire African continent. They also hope to inspire other young girls to know that it is possible to live out their dreams.
“As women, we need to stop feeling boxed in by societal ideas that are so archaic. We have to stop feeling judged or that we need an okay from men,” Brescia says.
On their relationship, the friends, who say they are inseparable, met 10 years ago and hit it off immediately, describing that as “ love at first sight.”
They show much affection to each other in between giggles, high-fives and finishing each other’s sentences.
“When I met Mampho, I had no expectations. I just respected her as an actress and an incredible talent. But speaking to her, also because she has this mask that most people don’t know that she is a softie and a sweetheart (but) I could see through that.
“And it has just been a beautiful journey of self discovery, of sisterhood, of knowing you have someone in your corner,” says Terry.
She admits that most people don’t understand how they can be such good friends, within the same industry, while also competing for the same jobs.
“It was never about what we do but who we are. If you know yourself, are confident and know what your capabilities are, you are not threatened by the other. For me it has been fantastic to have a sister in the industry.
"Therefore going into business together made sense.”
Mampho adds: “And because we understand that there are bigger things at play. It is not just about us or the next quick buck, but about creating a legacy. We understand that we don’t compete with each other but that we are each others champion. As long as we champion each other, we will win.
“I think maybe it's growing up (maturity) and an anointing of sorts. That what you understand is beyond your own personal selfish needs or wants. I believe that we will be tied together forever,” she says giggling.
Terry adds: “We also need to stop spreading the gospel that women don’t like each other. I feel like the more we spread that gospel, the more it becomes true. When women come together, amazing things happen. We have to believe in the sisterhood that we’ve always had."