Meet Stoned Cherrie Designer Nkhensani Nkosi

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“I’m a big dreamer – anyone who knows me will tell you that,”

If you want to achieve anything big in business (or life for that matter), she believes you have to start with a big vision. “Sure you then have to take a step back and analyze what’s realistic, what’s viable, what’s practical and adapt the picture from there. But for goodness sake start with a vision that’s big!” she says. It was on numerous trips into Africa as host of MNet’s Face of Africa television show that Nkosi got a first glimpse of the big picture vision that was to define her career. “What happened when I was traveling is that I really saw Africa.

“At the time every definition of it seemed to come from the outside. It was a Eurocentric, foreign aesthetic grounded in Big 5 tourism. What I saw and experienced couldn’t have been further removed from that tired, old, externally defined view of the continent.” It was a vision of an Africa that the rest of the world didn’t even know existed – a hip, young Africa bursting with urban energy and hungry to define itself. “It was so exciting, so energizing – I just knew I had to try to bottle it!” she recalls.

Nkhensani Nkosi is a South African actress, television personality, fashion designer and entrepreneur best known as the founder and creative director of the Stoned Cherrie fashion label.

She is better known to television viewers as a judge on the first two seasons of the reality competition Popstars, from 2002-2003. She was credited as Nkhensani Manganyi on Popstars, her maiden name.

Nkhensani has traveled throughout the world as an entertainer, host and actress in a series of theater plays including Sophiatown, The Coloured Museum and Marabi which received critical acclaim from international audiences.

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She boasts a mantelpiece of awards, the most rewarding as a business woman being The Top Success Story of The Year – Top Women in Business And Government 2005.

Other awards include The Young Business Achiever of the Year – Young Business Quarterly (2003).

Nkhensani holds a degree in Industrial Psychology and Sociology and has written articles for O Magazine, Y-Mag and Going Up, amongst others.

In 2005 she completed her final season as co-producer and co-host of the SABC1 talk show Mojo. Her career in television began as co-owner of a production company called Vicious Funk Productions, producing corporate videos and inserts for the SABC3 magazine show Options, which she also presented.

She is also a public speaker and has been guest speaker at numerous events and conferences, including the internationally renowned Design Indaba. She addressed a crowd of the world’s leading entrepreneurs at a gala event in New York alongside the likes of Jerry Yang, the founder and chairman of Yahoo! as well as Terry Bernstein, CEO of Yahoo!.

She was also invited to motivate post-graduate students at The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).

Having traveled throughout Africa in 1999 as the host and official spokesperson for M-Net’s Face of Africa, Nkhensani recognized that there was a gap in the market – the urban energy that exists on the continent was not being branded and packaged into products.

There was an opportunity to build an African brand that celebrated South Africa’s new sense of identity and explored in a creative way what it means to be an African in the 21st Century.

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She decided it was time to set up a new and now popular African urban fashion label, Stoned Cherrie.

In 2005, she was recognized by US-based mentorship program Endeavor as a high impact entrepreneur. She was selected from 200 candidates from different fields as one of six winners.

She has acted in several films and television series including Soweto Green (1995), Kickboxer 5 (1995), The Legend of the Hidden City (1997), Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996-1997), It’s a Funny Country (M-Net) and Going Up 3, on SABC1.

Nkhensani is married to Zam Nkosi of SABC1 game show Selimathunzi fame. The couple has a son.

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