Guest Blogger

I am Youngpreneur: Nono Cele

April 15, 2013

Straight Talk Nono

A big thank you and shout out to Indira Tsengiwe and the rest of her team for a fabulous article on the website.


I told you, nothing is impossible. Even in the word itself: Im possible!
Posted on April 13, 2013

When I decided to study television production, I caused waves in my circle of friends and family. Growing up in Port Shepstone meant that both myself and everyone around me were yet to meet someone who not only had embarked on my career option, but also succeeded in it. “Are you sure you do not want to become a doctor?,” they asked, “or a lawyer, or an accountant?” But the lights fascinated me, the camera lens, and cables instilled in me an awe for the uncelebrated choice. And from there my long climb began.

I got an internship at Mnet, one of South Africa’s most esteemed television networks, and had the unglamorous job of being a cable basher. For those who are yet to be acquainted with the career option, RUN: it’s not for the faint hearted.The opportunity, which felt like it was stretched over a lifetime, ended after two years when I got an internship at SuperSport as a junior producer.

Looking back, I am perplexed by the growth I experienced in a such a short period of time: I moved from sleeping on the floor for eight months throughout my first Johannesburg winter, because I could not afford to buy a bed, to attaining a job which I did not technically qualify for given my lack of experience in relation to the usual minimum requirement of five years. And as if taking cues from the advantages that time afforded me, under the guidance of my mentor Sifiso Mbambo, I began to produce my own television shows: airing Monday: Back Pages; Tuesday: Mzansi Legends and Friday: the NFD show on SuperSport.

It was in that sphere of success that I began to ask myself: “why not do more,” for my dreams are certainly greater; and the reality is, the laws which require a single title after one’s name only exist in one’s mind. So I kept it simple. Given my ability to write, I began to share my story with the world of online through my blog: The Fabulous life of Nono Cele: never forget you are amazing and found that people responded well to the sentiments expressed. It may be that they felt that they could not only relate to me, as a young ambitious individual, who after having a somewhat rough start could turn around and inspire others. Here was a girl who went from knowing how to budget with R5, to owning at least one hundred pairs of shoes, unapologetically. And the realness of those conditions, and my understanding that it is not simple to launch an incredible career is what I believe, helped me connect to the masses.

Many times people, or rather entrepreneurs, are quick to reference hard work as the cause of their success; but the reality is it may be more than that. Upon the launch of my now-expanding cosmetics line, I quickly became familiar with the understanding that you can work hard all day at something that cannot work in the market, and no matter how many more hours added, it may still not work. And given that most times where passions are involved, to the entrepreneur, the issue may not be hard work, but rather expertise: understanding of the market and or even timing of the product.

Following the success of blogging I moved into print media; reflecting on the incredible unfoldings of a rising story, and wrote a book titled: God’s Spoilt Brat. My autobiography narrates the journey I have travelled to get where I am today. As an introduction to my life, this story foretells the events of a former dreamer turned (early stage) achiever.

I found that the ability of the writing platform to engage with the public on an inspirational level, in turn inspired me to do two things: create an organisation which travels around with the aim of inspiring young people to dream, to look forward to a future of potential and purpose, as well as launch the cosmetics line I knew in my heart I always wanted to create.

The organisation serves as a tool to give back to society, whilst the line was created by my friend Jessica and I as a space to interact with the more whimsical and perky side of me.

I am a girly girl. I love all things pretty. And it is because of the foundations of that love that I found myself launching Body Sensation Cosmetics. Often told that my dynamic interest in a varying range of industries will perhaps hurt my fundamental career as television producer, it was my sincere passion passion that makes achieving many different things possible.

There is a certain ease that comes from doing things that you love. This love makes it okay to come home from a long day at work and spend at least another four to five hours creating beauty products for my clients, that they may be ready the next day for collection.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to seem pretentious; I know for a fact that I didn’t do it on my own, because this journey of chasing down every dream that your mind can conceptualize is hard. It is damn hard. I find, it certainly takes more than hard work.

I have had the incredible opportunity to go from being a producer, to writer, to entrepreneur – with the lesson learnt being: don’t be afraid to be more! Today I have a growing cosmetics line because I chose to go against the expectation. Tomorrow, I could have the most widely-distributed cosmetics brand in Africa. My reality is that all things are possible. It takes more than hard work, it also takes vision.

This is chapter one of my book. I am Nono Cele, and I am youngpreneur.


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