South African celebrities with successful side hustles


‘Side hustle,’ it’s a term you hear a lot more these days. While the global events of the last year and a half have certainly made many turn to a side hustle,  it’s nothing new. In fact the term ‘side hustle’ is really just a hip spin-off of ‘small business owner’ or ‘entrepreneur,’ and while the term ‘side hustle’ might be in vogue, the act of starting your own business is as old as the human condition itself. However,  these days we have the ultimate game changer at the tips of our fingers – the internet.  Online activity is at an all time high. It’s made the world a smaller place and created a climate of financial opportunities for those willing to learn and willing to put in the hours. Notable South Africans who have used their business prowess to find success includes the likes of Lebo Gunguluza, Anat Apter and Wally & Debby Fry of the vegetarian food empire – all celebrities as a result of their success, but what about those celebrities who have found further success because of their side hustles?

Felicia Mabuza-Suttle

She might not be gracing the screens of the local telly anymore, but when she did she brought with her a certain charisma, for which many dubbed her the’ South African Oprah.’ Her accent also made her comedy gold for comedians like Pieter-Dirkie Uys.  After returning to South Africa in 1994, Felicia used her honed journalistic skills that she acquired in the United States to enter the local television industry. The Felicia Show had a good run on SABC and brought the savvy presenter many accolades. The show might no longer be in existence, but Felicia has applied her entrepreneurial skills to great effect;  she is an executive producer for The Africa Channel, a US cable channel, and a founder member of Investment Holdings Ltd. – a massive corporate conglomerate. She’s also an accomplished author and restaurant owner.  

Basetsana Kumalo

Fondly known as Bassie, Basetsana Kumalo has become an inspiration to her fellow South Africans. Originally making her name as a beauty pageant finalist, Bassie used her pageant credentials to segway into what would become a series of side hustles.   First, she landed a gig on Top Billing, South Africa’s TV show dedicated to opulence, and then became the editor for the show’s magazine. Her time spent in the Top Billing camp was really just a warm-up; currently, Bassie is involved in multiple ventures. She’s essentially the head honcho of the Tswelopele empire, a group consisting of a production company,  a publishing company and a branding and marketing company. Bassie owns shares and investments in various sectors. She’s also a director at Uzalile Investments, a coal mining company listed on the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) as well as a director at Tawana Resources – a diamond exploration company.  Bassie’s ambition is extensive to say the least, outside of also being a philanthropist, she’s made additional well-informed investments, mainly in the motor industry,  has her own clothing range, and endorses hair products for Revlon. 

Ashley Hayden

Famed for being a presenter on what used to be South Africa’s only pay channel, Mnet, Ashley Hayden spent 21 years splashing her unique smile to thousands of paid subscribers. When Mnet decided to cut costs, she along with other regulars such as Scot Scott had to find other forms of revenue. Luckily all those years spent working at Mnet had equipped Ashley with the tools and the talents to exercise her side hustle muscle. The girl with the golden hair and voice channelled her energy into her very own production company, Feature Perfect, and does voice-over work for a slew of impressive corporate clients such as SA Breweries, Radox, Beacon, and Chanel, to name but a few. 


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