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Interview with Nkhensani Nkosi

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I am... dynamic, eccentric, funny and nurturing.

Where were you born? In Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg.

Where did you grow up? Umtata in the Transkei until I was eight and then Diepkloof, Soweto.

Where do you live? Sandton.

Who do you share your house with? My husband and four kids.

What's the secret to being a successful businesswoman? It's about creating balance in life, taking care of your needs, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Plus, having a positive outlook.

Tell us about your latest project. It's been an exciting journey. I'm designing accessory elements for the quintessential Volvo consumer and the interior of the vehicle.

I gain inspiration from... people, culture, history, spirituality, love, fantasy and magic.

How did Stoned Cherrie get started? I was travelling through Africa and reading Richard Branson's autobiography, Losing my Virginity. I fancied myself as a creative activist and felt inspired to create a brand. I was reflecting on the wonderful things that were happening post 1994. I wanted to create a new fashion identity.

The South African fashion design scene is... dynamic and interesting, but also complex and underdeveloped from an economic perspective. We're only just starting to build our industry.

What are you working on now? We're renovating our studio, which won't be a conventional retail space but will have a showroom element. We're setting up an online platform, which will make customers' lives so much easier. We plan to launch a franchise model next year to create opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The best lesson I've learnt is... that any challenge is solved by your attitude towards it.

Who are your mentors? My parents, Eric Parker - a franchise guru and astute businessman who always believed in and guided me and my husband Zam - a very spiritual individual who shaped my thinking.

How did you meet your husband? Through mutual friends. He watched me in a play at Market Theatre. Afterwards we went for drinks and talked in the car until 6am. That was 16 years ago.

How do you get around? In a black Volvo XC60, T6.

What would people be surprised to know about you? I probably spend 90% of the time laughing.

The best thing about being a designer is... coming up with an idea and seeing it realised.

How do you spend your free time? Sitting with my kids - they make me appreciate being alive. I also love family holidays. We recently went scuba diving and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

I'm predisposed to... eating more chocolate than I should.

My most valued possession is... my kids.

What do you love most about living in Joburg? The dynamic energy. You don't get it in Cape Town or any other part of the world. I love the skyline and the memories I've built here.

What's the worst thing about living in Joburg? It's very difficult to switch off. At least once a month, I'm tempted to run away.

Your favourite building in Joburg is... Turbine Hall. We did a show there about 10 years ago. There's something intoxicating about the place.

I can't go a day without... my family.

What music do you listen to? All sorts of music, but a bias for old school. In the township every Sunday, songs would blare - Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Percy Sledge and Michael Jackson. That influenced my taste in music.

What book influenced your life? The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I'm quite ambivalent towards self-help books as I believe we have all the answers inside us, but I was a better person after reading this one.

If your house caught fire, what would you save? My artwork. I like to spend time in silence and so I make time for painting, even at 2am.

What are your creature comforts? Reality TV, being in flip-flops on the couch with everyone fighting me for the remote.

I always collect... vintage sunglasses, optical frames, bags and belts

You know you're in Joburg when... there's a guy at the stop street painted white, wearing a blonde wig and gesticulating.

My favourite Joburg person is... Bishop Tutu.

Perfect happiness is... having no worries in the world.

Success to me is... elusive.

Everything in moderation but... chocolate

My worst vice is... obsessively checking my phone.

I'd like to be remembered as... somebody who danced to the rhythm of the madness. I love that quote by George Seawolfe.

Loves & Hates

Painting: It's the opportunity to express myself with no inhibitions.

Ice skating: The freedom one has on ice.

Reality TV

Dancing: When our kids go to the grandparents, my husband and I dance on our own.

Adventure: Like deep-sea diving or skydiving. I love anything that stretches me.

Thai food: It's cuisine that knows how to combine different flavours.

Negativity: I experience a lot of positivity, as that's what I put out there. I dislike people with a negative outlook. It is very frustrating.

Humid weather: When I am cold, I can do something about it.

Brussels sprouts

Deceitful people: Drunken behaviour - I'm not judging someone who binges on their own, but in a public space, that is a problem.

Little Black Book

  • Kwai Mai Mai Market, Jeppestown 011 833 7344

It's a surreal mix of different things.

  • Parkmore Field & Study Centre, 011 783 7407

It's great to be able to sit while the kids play and have lunch with a friend.

  • Orient, Melrose Arch, 011 684 1616

The green curry is really delicious.

  • So Yum, Hyde Park, 011 325 5360

Great fusion food.

  • Lucky Moo, Parkhurst, 011 447 6120

I order vegetable tofu stir-fry.

  • Art Jamming, Blubird Centre, Atholl, 011 786 0599

Painting with your kids is wonderful

  • Ice Rink, Northgate, 011 794 8706

I pretend we're going to a meeting and go and skate.

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