So who is the famous woman in the yellow dress from the #MMA16? Say ‘Hello’ to single mom and nurse Nonhlanhla Qwabe, or better known by her stage name and brand, Skolopad! Nonhlanhla exclusively spoke to us about the woman behind the dress and shared her story.
“I was born in QwaQwa, and I was raised there, too. I completed my tertiary studies in nursing in Ladysmith then I moved to Bethlehem, in the Free State, where I’m currently based. I work as a nurse at a particular hospital, and I’ve been there for eight years now.”
That’s amazing Miss Qwabe! If you don’t mind us asking, how old are you, really?
Actually, I’m 33 years old. There’s an article that was done on me by Daily Sun in 2015 that states that I was 41, but that was just for publicity. They wanted their papers to sell, and I wanted the exposure.
Wowzer! We were NEVER ready for that one! Tell us more about Skolopad. What does it mean?
Skolopad is a tortoise, and I can relate with it on so many levels. It’s independent and doesn’t rush into anything. The tortoise is quiet, and I’m also quiet. When danger threatens it, it retracts into its shell. When I face challenges I pray to God. My God is my shell. What I love about the tortoise most is that it keeps moving forward on its journey.
Interesting! So where did you learn how to dance and twerk?
I have been dancing for a long time. I’m a village girl, I’ve been dancing from an early age. I grew up dancing and doing the traditional dancing. My 16-year-old daughter, Amohelang, said to me: “Mama, you’ve been dancing for so long and doing it for other people. How about you start dancing for yourself?”
That’s how my brand Skolopad came about in 2014. My daughter was 14 at the time. So I started selling my Skolopad-branded caps, T-shirts and other clothing at a car wash not far from where I stay.
Stunning! Tell us more about the dress you wore at the #MMA16.
I bought the material and approached Majoro, a young designer here in Bethlehem. He said to me: “I follow you on social media, so I already know your kind of style. Leave everything for me and I’ll take care of it for you.” I was okay with that, and it only cost R180. What people don’t know is that I was wearing underwear. The G-string is attached to the dress. We just did a little trick of snipping it on the one side so that it looked like I was not wearing any underwear at all – just so people could talk and get my name out there.
Woah! Wait. So you did all that for publicity?
Yes! That was the whole aim. I was expecting comments, good and bad. I’m not affected by people saying negative things at all, I just wanted people to talk. I have overcome cervical cancer, and I am a rape survivor. Negative comments are the least of my worries.
Talk about an unexpected twist! How do you plan your outfits?
My daughter. She’s been managing me since the Skolopad brand started in 2014. She chooses my outfits, shoes, hair and even writes most of my songs. I love house music and am all about the beat and the mixes. All the pictures of me posing naked or showing off my bum and tattoo – she takes them. Even when we are at a gig and some photographers ask to take pictures of me, she directs them on how to do it. She will even shout at them if they aren’t doing it the way she wants. She’ll say:”I told you, don’t take that angle of my mother!”
You seem quite confident in your own skin and outfits. Tell us more about your risqué style.
When dancing from an early age, our traditional attire is revealing so for me, the length and style of my outfits is normal – there’s nothing unusual about them. Also, bear in mind:
- I feel comfortable in my own brown skin.
- We can not all have a 6-pack, and I don’t think I could ever have one since I’ve had cervical cancer and had to have my womb removed last year.
- As long as I feel sexy in the outfit, then why not?
I have accepted what I am and who I am. I’m an African woman!
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