From a career in the SANDF to styling for Forbes Woman Africa – Free State woman's dream came true

Bontle Mogoye. (Photo: Supplied to DRUM)
Bontle Mogoye. (Photo: Supplied to DRUM)

Featuring 50 successful African businesswomen, including media personality Bonang Matheba and South African businesswoman Irene Charnley, the cover celebrates inspirational women.

But it’s not just the people featured in the magazine that have an incredible story to tell. Bontle Mogoye, the woman who styled the cover stars, has her own story to tell – and it’s an unbelievably inspiring one.

From serving 10 years in the South African National Defense Force (SANDF), to driving a taxi and now styling magazine covers, Bontle says she has attained one of her dreams through this cover.

Bontle, who is from the Free State, tells DRUM she grew up in a family were everyone loved clothes. “My childhood was centered around beautiful people, my grandmother loved clothes. I was around women who loved dressing up, which is where my love for fashion started.”

She was a fashion stylist for Woman & Home magazine and styled actress Terry Pheto for one of Previdar Online Magazine's covers a few years ago.

“With all the other work I had been doing, the art director of Forbes magazine had been looking at my work and asked me to do the recent cover.”

As a fashion stylist, she sources clothes and works with the art director to decide on which colours will work.

Seeing her childhood dream coming true, Bontle says she’s still trying to make sense of it. Styling media personality Bonang Matheba was a dream come true. “When I saw the magazine yesterday I was like, ‘This is what I have always wanted’.”

Despite all the love the family had for fashion, they still wouldn’t let her get into fashion design.

“Coming from a small town, Kroonstad in the Free State, they’d say I can’t be a fashion designer and that I could be a doctor. They forced me to do physical sciences, biology and mathematics but I knew it wasn’t my first love and I didn’t want to do it.”

Her parents, Washington and Daphney Mogoye, told her to take a break to figure out what she wanted to do besides fashion. “My father even said ‘no one is sitting at home’.”

Her parents applied for her to join the SANDF, she was called for an interview and went there to make her parents happy.

“I was even wearing a short skirt for some funny reason to show them I don’t like the job. Funny how I was passing everything, it wasn’t my intention to pass,” she laughs. Surprisingly, she got the job and ended up staying for 10 years.

After finishing her time with the military, Bontle helped to drive taxis owned by her family.

“Driving a taxi was supposed to be a joke but I saw that people loved it. So I started talking to the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) about how we can involve women in the taxi industry to become taxi owners or drive taxis.”

A lot of women showed interest in learning more about the taxi industry. “I am currently looking for funding to help women who are interested in the taxi industry,”  she says.

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