Stella Buthelezi has a confession to make.
“I don’t know how to write a CV, all my life, I have practically been self-employed,” she says. Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, to a family of business owners, Buthelezi had a privileged upbringing, and has never had to work for someone else. Moving to Johannesburg in 1998 post marriage, along with her husband, she has been a businesswoman, her prime areas of interest being the mining and commercial property industries.
“They [the staff] call us Mr and Mrs B and we’ve got a few offices [in Johannesburg] , London, Australia, but whenever he walks [into an office] – which I always find funny – everyone gasps, and when I walk in, everyone is like ‘oh there she goes’, because I am always screaming from the door,” laughs Buthelezi.
At home too, she says she is the CEO. She professes a love for beautiful things, so evident in the aesthetics around her.
“This house was meant to be our house,” says Buthelezi when we meet her in her sprawling golf estate home in Dainfern, Johannesburg. Buthelezi’s six-bedroom, seven-bathroom abode is a striking, modern monolith featuring a glass façade.
The glass door at the entrance leads to a grand stairway with a gurgling waterfall under it that runs as a feature throughout the house. Besides the natural acoustics, each room in this high-tech home is fitted with speakers and a sound-system. On the walls of every room are pictures of the Buthelezi family. In the entertainment area is a framed photograph of American singer-songwriter Ne-Yo posing with Buthelezi’s son on one of their overseas trips.
Buthelezi’s idea of a warm, inviting home is the alluring aroma from the kitchen.
“Even if I am not here and we are dining out, I have trained my helpers that there [should] never be a time when you open the fridge and there is no food – it is a cold house then,” she says.
Buthelezi’s favorite room in the house is the private lounge, so private it does not boast any intrusive gadgetry – no television or electronics here, only beautiful Italian furniture, lots of reading material and a view of the garden and pool.
“I love the peace and quiet, we get to read, we get to talk.”
The fancy gadgets are reserved for the private home cinema – cleverly concealed behind a door in the bar area – where the family gets together for movie nights.
There are luxe reclining couches – complete with cup holders and ‘B’ symbols on them for each member of the family – in this roomy private theatre fitted with a state-of-the-art screen and acoustics.
Buthelezi has it all but being a wife and a mother is what she says she is most proud of.
“It’s possible you can be a mother, you can be a wife and you can still be successful.”