It was as tough as tough could be. From his early years, life loomed like a clenched fist in the face of Teboho Twala. These days he drives a Porsche and is a classy and elegant young entrepreneur a world away from his often tortured childhood.
At the age of 10, he was sleeping under a wheelbarrow in the yard and lived on the streets for more than a year. The reason – a troubled childhood through a mother who turned to drink and violence when Twala’s stepfather left her. His job became protecting his younger brothers and sister while dodging drunken rages by sleeping in the open in Qwaqwa, in South Africa’s Free State province, a 300-kilometer drive from Johannesburg.
Twala was left stranded without a plan, but someone was there to help him.
The first saviour was the mother of a friend, Masabata Sophie Mokome, known as ousie Sophie. She was the only one that stood up for Twala while other neighbors were scared, he says. Soon after, she told his son to fetch Twala to live with them.
“She ran a bath for me and the next day she took us to Edgars and bought us clothes,” he recalls.
Twala was adopted for over a year before moving back with his grandmother after she heard he was homeless.
Sadly, the grandmother died while young Twala was in secondary school. Fortunately, after living alone for a while, he was taken in by his aunt who is a domestic worker.
He didn’t have an easy childhood, but the hardships steeled him into the man he is now. These days he has a trimmed beard, articulate speech, and is always on the phone.
He is a 35-year-old entrepreneur who makes a hangover drink, which also doubles as an energy drink for those who don’t drink alcohol. It is called Zzero Hangover.
It is a legacy of high school where his second saviour, his principal and biology teacher, believed in him like a father.
“Mr Ntsane; he looked after me. He may not have given me money but pushed me and I pushed myself,” he says.
Twala did so well in school that his fellow pupils collected money to pay his registration fees at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
“The whole school had to donate, R1, R2. Mr Ntsane and I had to go to taxi ranks and government buildings to donate and we raised R1,700 ($120),” he recalls.
Young Twala passed all his subjects and he bought himself a Pentium 1 computer for about R1,000 ($70). It was his first computer and had no idea how to operate it; he had to learn fast. He was doing his first year in a bachelor of science (BSc) degree and needed to do assignments.
Two years later, he dropped the BSc for chemical engineering; he passed and got a bursary with Gold Fields in Virginia, Free State where he was reunited with his land of birth.
Sadly, all didn’t go well. Gold Fields’ share price went down in 2004 and students had to go home. Twala was without registration fees, nor a job.
Stranded without a plan, in stepped another guardian angel.
“A friend of mine assisted me; he had just finished his master’s and started working. He paid for my registration at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). I did well there; I had seven subjects and got five distinctions,” he says.
Post-graduation, Twala worked for Impala Platinum and later got an offer to work for South African Breweries (SAB). Two years later, he got a better offer with a bigger responsibility from Impala Platinum, in Rustenburg, in the North West province. He went back and worked right through to 2011.
The blessings came in abundance. That same year, he got an opportunity to work for a German company looking for a process engineer. Through that, he got an opportunity to work in Nigeria and travel to Germany.
That is when his entrepreneurial interest developed. He was inspired by the young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
“But also, I had a boss, Sir David Osunde that believed in me. He was an old man; he took me to big meetings. I could then do presentations to ministers. That’s the level I was at because of this man,” he says.
Twala and other engineers from other parts of the world lived in a camp in cluster houses; each owning one. Besides work, they had nothing else to do. So they would spend time at the bar.
One night, they went to a pub and had a little too much to drink. The morning after, one of the engineers had a heavy hangover and didn’t know how to get rid of it, says Twala.
He took that as an opportunity and researched what could kill a hangover.
A European at the camp told him there was a solution for that in their continent. It was in Slovakia, but it was a German product with their head office in Austria. It was confusing for the young man.
In 2013, Twala came back to South Africa for a holiday. He wanted to make the idea work and not go back to Nigeria. He contacted people from Europe and told him they have a person in South Africa with a franchise, he bought it. He started distributing the product.
“It was called Alcohol Kill, but now it’s dead,” he says.
After traveling to and from Europe, Twala lost the R1 million ($70,000) he had invested in the business.
He had to come back and rethink how he was going to make the hangover solution work. During that period, he met a neurologist who said she could make an energy drink.
“I wanted something unique; my mind was on a hangover solution,” he says.
They worked tirelessly together and got a formula after a year.
Before that, Twala’s entrepreneurial instinct had kicked in. He and a friend bought News Café; a cafe-bar and cocktail franchise restaurant founded in South Africa.
He used that as an opportunity for customers to taste his product at the bar. He was getting good responses and decided to start bottling, manufacturing and distributing the product.
Twala came across a company called Boxmore which specializes in packaging. He bought generic bottles and branded them. The next challenge was finding someone who could fill the bottles.
He was satisfied with Inhle Beverages in Heidelberg, south of Johannesburg, which filled for big companies like USN and Clover. Throughout the production phase, all the companies liked the brand and its uniqueness.
Zzero Hangover was now born and had a trial run in April 2016.
“We produced a few units and sent them to the shops. That’s when the story broke in the media which was good for us,” he says.
The product was launched in May. Today, it is found in big retail stores across southern Africa. Zzero Hangover is self-funded and directly employs 10 people and contracts about 300.
Twala went from sleeping under a wheelbarrow to driving a Porsche and looking like a hero in his childhood township in the Free State. The hangover from his tough childhood has gone.
From The Arab World To Africa
In this exclusive interview with FORBES AFRICA, successful Dubai-based Emirati businesswoman, author and artist, Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi, shares some interesting insights on fashion, the future, and feminism in a shared world.
Sheikha Hend Faisal Al Qassimi wears many hats, as an artist, architect, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She currently serves as the CEO of Paris London New York Events & Publishing (PLNY), that includes a magazine and a fashion house.
She runs Velvet Magazine, a luxury lifestyle publication in the Gulf founded in 2010 that showcases the diversity of the region home to several nationalities from around the world.
In this recent FORBES AFRICA interview, Hend, as she would want us to call her, speaks about the future of publishing, investing in intelligent content, and learning to be a part of the disruption around you.
As an entrepreneur too and the designer behind House of Hend, a luxury ready-to-wear line that showcases exquisite abayas, evening gowns and contemporary wear, her designs have been showcased in fashion shows across the world.
The Middle East is known for retail, but not typically, as a fashion hub in the same league as Paris, New York or Milan. Yet, she has changed the narrative of fashion in the region. “I have approached the world of fashion with what the customer wants,” says Hend. In this interview, she also extols African fashion talent and dwells on her own sartorial plans for the African continent.
In September, in Downtown Dubai, she is scheduled to open The Flower Café. Also an artist using creative expression meaningfully, she says it’s important to be “a role model of realism”.
She is also the author of The Black Book of Arabia, described as a collection of true stories from the Arab community offering a real glimpse into the lives of men and women across the Gulf Cooperation Council region.
In this interview, she also expounds on her home, Sharjah, one of the seven emirates in the UAE and the region’s educational hub. “A number of successful entrepreneurs have started in this culturally-rich emirate that’s home to 30 museums,” she concludes.
Kim Kardashian West Is Worth $900 Million After Agreeing To Sell A Stake In Her Cosmetics Firm To Coty
In what will be the second major Kardashian cashout in a year, Kim Kardashian West is selling a 20% stake in her cosmetics company KKW Beauty to beauty giant Coty COTY for $200 million. The deal—announced today—values KKW Beauty at $1 billion, making Kardashian West worth about $900 million, according to Forbes’estimates.
The acquisition, which is set to close in early 2021, will leave Kardashian West the majority owner of KKW Beauty, with an estimated 72% stake in the company, which is known for its color cosmetics like contouring creams and highlighters. Forbes estimates that her mother, Kris Jenner, owns 8% of the business. (Neither Kardashian West nor Kris Jenner have responded to a request for comment about their stakes.) According to Coty, she’ll remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.
Earlier this year, Kardashian West’s half-sister, Kylie Jenner, also inked a big deal with Coty, when she sold it 51% of her Kylie Cosmetics at a valuation of $1.2 billion. The deal left Jenner with a net worth of just under $900 million. Both Kylie Cosmetics and KKW Beauty are among a number of brands, including Anastasia Beverly Hills, Huda Beauty and Glossier, that have received sky-high valuations thanks to their social-media-friendly marketing.
“Kim is a true modern-day global icon,” said Coty chairman and CEO Peter Harf in a statement. “This influence, combined with Coty’s leadership and deep expertise in prestige beauty will allow us to achieve the full potential of her brands.”
The deal comes just days after Seed Beauty, which develops, manufactures and ships both KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, won a temporary injunction against KKW Beauty, hoping to prevent it from sharing trade secrets with Coty, which also owns brands like CoverGirl, Sally Hansen and Rimmel. On June 19, Seed filed a lawsuit against KKW Beauty seeking protection of its trade secrets ahead of an expected deal between Coty and KKW Beauty. The temporary order, granted on June 26, lasts until August 21 and forbids KKW Beauty from disclosing details related to the Seed-KKW relationship, including “the terms of those agreements, information about license use, marketing obligations, product launch and distribution, revenue sharing, intellectual property ownership, specifications, ingredients, formulas, plans and other information about Seed products.”
Coty has struggled in recent years, with Wall Street insisting it routinely overpays for acquisitions and has failed to keep up with contemporary beauty trends. The coronavirus pandemic has also hit the 116-year-old company hard. Since the beginning of the year, Coty’s stock price has fallen nearly 60%. The company, which had $8.6 billion in revenues in the year through June 2019, now sports a $3.3 billion market capitalization. By striking deals with companies like KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, Coty is hoping to refresh its image and appeal to younger consumers.
Kardashian West founded KKW Beauty in 2017, after successfully collaborating with Kylie Cosmetics on a set of lip kits. Like her half-sister, Kardashian West first launched online only, but later moved into Ulta stores in October 2019, helping her generate estimated revenues of $100 million last year. KKW Beauty is one of several business ventures for Kardashian West: She continues to appear on her family’s reality show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, sells her own line of shapewear called Skims and promotes her mobile game, Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Her husband, Kanye West, recently announced a deal to sell a line of his Yeezy apparel in Gap stores.
“This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas,” Kardashian West told Forbesof her various business ventures in 2016. “I don’t see myself stopping.”
Covid-19: Restaurants, Beauty Salons, Cinemas Among Businesses That Will Operate Again In South Africa As Ramaphosa Announces Eased Lockdown Restrictions
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation announcing that the government will further ease the country’s lockdown restrictions.
Restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas are among the businesses that will be allowed to operate again in South Africa.
The country is still on lockdown ‘Level 3’ of the government’s “risk adjusted strategy”.
President Ramaphosa also spoke on the gender based violence in the country.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that I stand before the women and the girls of South Africa this evening to talk about another pandemic that is raging in our country. The killing of women and children by the men of our country. As a man, as a husband, and as a father to daughters, I am appalled at what is no less than a war that is being waged against the women and the children of our country,” says Ramaphosa.
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