Nonzamo Mbatha

Nomzamo Mbatha graced many a magazine cover in 2020. Image via Instagram @nomzamo_m

#GirlPower: Five South African women who owned 2020

These are the much-loved personalities who made the year count despite the challenges.

Nonzamo Mbatha

Nomzamo Mbatha graced many a magazine cover in 2020. Image via Instagram @nomzamo_m

As tough as the year was, some of the country’s favourite female celebrities were able to rise above uncertain times and have a successful year — this despite a pandemic that has disrupted virtually every aspect of our lives.   

Here’s our pick of the South African women who owned 2020:

1. Nomzamo Mbatha

From relocating to the US, being cast on Coming2America, signing under international management label CAA (the Creative Arts Agency), co-hosting the BET Awards, delivering a speech at the 75th UN General Assembly that was held in Beijing and joining the Cotton On Foundation as an ambassador to hosting the Miss SA pageant, this Durban-born beauty totally owned 2020.

And let’s not forget that Mbatha also graced the cover of almost every South African women’s magazine in 2020.

2. Bonang Matheba

Ever since she emerged on the scene, Bonang Matheba is a name that is never left out when tallying up the most successful, trend-setting and stylish women of any year.

2020 is no different as this TV personality and businesswoman — who is also known as Queen B — was recently honoured by GQ SA’s Men of The Year Awards as the Woman of The Year 2020. 

She was also invited to speak at the #OneTeam 2020 conference in Texas in the US. That’s not all: Queen B smashed South Africa’s viewership records with her two-part special A Very Bonang Year.

3. DJ Zinhle

Adding to her list of career achievements, the popular DJ, award-winning Forbes Africa Entertainer of the Year and successful businesswoman walked away with the Pan African Artist of the Year award at the Namibian Annual Music Awards (Namas) in October for her hit song Umlilo.

DJ Zinhle was also presented with a plaque from the Universal Music Group SA certifying her 2019 hit Umlilo as triple platinum. The Indlovu hitmaker has an Airbnb-listed apartment, recently launched her Era by DJ Zinhle sunglasses and opened her first store in Southgate Mall.

To celebrate her birthday she also launched a special-edition DJ Zinhle Nectar Rosé MCC.  

4. Moonchild Sanelly

Moonchild has been known to trend for the wrong reasons, but in 2020 she has stayed in Mzansi’s good books. Starting the year with a bang, Moonchild featured in Beyoncé’s Black is King music video inspired by Disney’s The Lion King.

The hitmaker also signed to global record label Transgressive Records, where she released her first international EP Nudes

The cherry on top was working with British band Gorillaz on their latest album Song Machine. Moonchild featured on the song With Love to An Ex, earning her international fame. 

5. Mamokgethi Phakeng

Her honours include Doctor of Science, honoris causa from the University of Bristol and the Order of the Baobab (Silver) for her excellent contribution in the field of science and representing South Africa on the international stage through her outstanding research work.

She is none other than University of Cape Town Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, who was recognised as one of the Times Higher Education’s (THE) 10 People of the Year.

What makes the achievement even more remarkable is that she was the only African among a prestigious group that included US First Lady-elect Dr Jill Biden.