Foundation finder, art collector and frequent flyer, Didi Mogashoa is a total style icon. Her charity Didi and Friends is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults in South Africa with the fundamental belief that together we are catalysts of hope and possibility. Beautiful both inside and out, we get better acquainted with Didi in 20+ questions.
I was born and raised in Mamelodi, Pretoria, moved to Joburg for university and have been living here since. I’m the founded the director of a registered non-profit Company called Didi and Friends Foundation, which is aimed at raising awareness for orphanages and community-based projects in poor communities. They are doing good work, but are in need of funding to improve the education of the children in these orphanages.
I love what I do because it’s not a job, but my life purpose. It’s fulfils me and gives me great pleasure to see the impact and improvement in the kids’ confidence each year when they realise they can achieve better results at school and dream. In 2008 I volunteered at the preschool at my childhood church and saw the opportunity to make a difference to communities in need across the country. The simple gift of donating colouring pencils and stationery soon became providing food, clothing, school uniforms and shoes. As I continued to support the school and uncovered other community projects in need, I enlisted my network of friends to contribute.
My earliest memory of summer is travelling to Durban with my family where I ate mango and watermelon and swam in the sea for the first time. My favourite artwork at home is a sculpture by Dumile Feni. I am passionate about the arts, especially South African artists, and love the work of William Kentridge, Nicholas Hlobo, Athi-Patra Ruga and Mohau Modisakeng.
When I want to dress to impress, I wear Marianne Fassler. My go-to comfort food is ice cream or soup. My kitchen-cupboard staples include loads of vegetables, legumes, nuts and, there is always ice cream in my freezer. My favourite restaurant is my own kitchen, but Mezepoli and Possums on Burnside are high up too; it depends on what I feel like eating. I always travel with a pashmina, sunglasses and sunscreen. The one country I’ve travelled to that I will never forget is Peru. I loved the food (a fusion of local and Asian influence), the way the people embraced their culture through clothes and tradition the spirituality, visiting Machu Picchu and the floating islands of Lake Titicaca.
When I travel, I like to bring back artwork and jewellery, and I always ask about the best or upcoming local clothing designers. My next dream holiday destinations are Morocco and Egypt. My greatest regular indulgence is buying sunglasses and bags. If money were no object, I’d treat myself to a different travel destination each month.
I’m reading Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant, and Black Diamond by Zakes Mda. I’m definitely not pretentious. In my next life, I’d come back as an artist, because you get to express your thoughts and emotions through your work.
If I could change one thing about South Africa, it would be our quality of education. Do not leave Johannesburg without trying Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream and attending a Sunday Rooftop Salsa sessions in Maboneng. When I was younger, I used to think that the clouds were following us during the day and the moon was following us at night.
Find out more at didiandfriends.co.za.