Meet SA’s top ‘momagers’

Nawal Jaftha is a content creator and CEO of her own business, expanding her brand reach through TikTok. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Nawal Jaftha is a content creator and CEO of her own business, expanding her brand reach through TikTok. Picture: Leon Lestrade

Published Aug 28, 2022

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Behind every South African celebrity/internet sensation is a business savvy “momager” with an eye for elevating their children’s success.

The term is synonymous with Kris Jenner, who’s been labelled the mastermind behind the Kardashian family’s success.

While Nawal Jaftha, Lynn Forbes and Shauwn Mkhize are not their children’s managers, their assistance and support of their offspring qualifies them to add momager to their titles.

South Africa is home to a multitude of artists, sports players and content creators who have close relationships with their mothers.

Jaftha is the mother of popular content creator Nadia Jaftha. The pair blew up when Nadia began pranking her mother and sharing the clips on YouTube.

Today, Nawal is a content creator, brand ambassador and is the founder and CEO of her store, Nawal’s Corner.

“It started as reviews when people would send me gifts and I loved it. I worked in direct marketing for 30 years and I enjoy connecting with people online,” she said.

“I come from a family who worked in business and they exposed me to so much. I was taught how to balance everything.”

Besides Nadia, Jaftha is also mother to Tara, Taariq and Tanzeel, whom she raised as a single parent in their early childhood before marrying her current husband, Shadley Abrahams.

“Shadley is a big pillar in my life and although he is not in the limelight, he’s played a pivotal part in my life,” she said.

The Cape Town entrepreneur said respect and speaking freely were important lessons when raising her children.

“I taught my children that your intentions are important. As long as your intentions are good, it doesn’t matter what people think, because your relationship is with the almighty and no one else.”

During an interview with the ‘Weekend Argus’, Jaftha remained live on her TikTok account and received praise from her followers. One comment read: “Kris Jenner has nothing on Nawal Jaftha.”

Lynn Forbes said she is content in being the person behind the scene of her son, AKA’s career. Picture: Supplied

Forbes is the mother of South African rap sensation AKA, whose real name is Kiernan Forbes, and has spent the last decade building a brand for herself.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision but because I was managing a lot of Kiernan’s personal things, I was, by default, exposed to the industry.

“As time progressed, I took the opportunities that were presented to me,” she said.

Affectionately known as Glammy, Forbes is a digital content creator, motivational speaker and philanthropist. She works on building her granddaughter, Kairo Forbes’ brand on social media. Kairo has one million followers.

“I am happy to be the person behind the scenes if it will help them with their success. My family is my everything and they’re my priority.”

One of the topics Forbes often covers in her motivational talks is how she was sexually abused as a child and kept it to herself for more than 30 years.

“It completely changes the trajectory of one’s life, it influences how you deal with every facet of your life,” she said.

“I believe in taking your pain and seeing how you can turn it around. That experience propelled me into being the person I am today.

She raised her sons, Kiernan and Steffan, to value family and have the freedom of choice.

“I taught them the importance of always having strong family values because that is your foundation. There was (also) freedom for our children to make their own choices in life,” she added.

Forbes said nothing in life compares to the intimate moments shared with her family at home.

“We love sitting on the couch, making popcorn, watching movies and laughing together. With bigger family gatherings, we’ll always play 30 Seconds and Kiernan is very competitive,” she added.

Mamkhize is a woman of many talents, especially adored by her 2.4 million Instagram followers. Picture: Supplied

Mkhize, better known as Ma’Mkhize, is the owner of the Royal AM soccer club and starred in her hit reality TV show, ‘Kwa Mam’Mkhize’ in 2020. The show was a peek into her extravagant lifestyle following her divorce from Sbu Mpisane and featured her children, Sbahle and Andile - whom she has a strong influence on.

Although she only joined Instagram in 2020, Mkhize already has 2.4 million followers.

“I didn’t know that while I was on the journey of finding myself, I was inspiring other people. That’s where Ma’Mkhize came along,” she said.

Andile and Shauwn joined the Premier Soccer League (PSL) via their soccer team. Andile is chairperson and on-and-off again midfielder.

“This wasn’t a small feat. Andile and I gave everything to make it into the PSL. I don’t think anything will surpass the memory of the moment we made it in,” she said.

Last month, Royal AM announced the acquisition of a women’s team, whose deputy chairperson is Andile’s wife Tamara.

“I need to change the way people look at women in soccer. That is my mission and that is what I’m working on, and putting all my time and effort into,” she said.

Mkhize said being a woman in South Africa meant many things.

“Our mothers fought for us to be liberated. We can never let them down. We need to carry on with their fight,” she said.

“It’s important for us to open the doors that have been closed, for women to come. Young black children need to know that it is possible.”

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