Spunkiness shines through every pore
The first adjective is mine; the second is Lunga’s description of herself. And it's perfect.
I meet Lunga Nene, a 30-something media analyst at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, at the new place-to-see-Joburg's-stunning-sunsets, Marble restaurant on the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank.
She talks about her grandmother's influence on her life, describing her as “cheeky”. As she talks about her gogo’s forthrightness I say no, her grandmother wasn't cheeky. She was spunky, like her granddaughter.
Sitting at the table in a off-the shoulder African print dress, with long braids, caramel skin, sparkling eyes and large ring earrings, there’s no doubt she’s a forthright, determined and powerful millennial – it shines through every pore.
She speaks of a male friend, with whom who she has had many conversations over the past few years. She thinks he is finally getting the message about women: that just because he finds a woman beautiful, it is not his right to make a pass at her. “We don’t want your attention. These things irk me,” she says with some exasperation.
Using Oprah as her role model, she adds: “We must resist feeling comfortable when men affirm us, and we must stop putting men on pedestals.”
She has advice for young women in particular: “Just because some guy bought you a Savanna, you shouldn’t end up naked with him later that night, without a condom.”
When she was younger she did stuff for "vanity’s sake", she says. She was “a pretty girl”, but now she understands the concept of purpose, and for her that centres around women and freedom. She illustrates this with her interview for the Foundation job. She was one of a dozen or more candidates for the position, and she was the first interviewee. At the end of the interview she was told she was the right person for the job, even though no one else had been interviewed.
Besides Oprah, she idolises her mother: her strength, and her gorgeousness. “Her presence makes impossible things possible.”
I ask Lunga to describe herself: “I am stylish, curious, crazy, passionate, blossoming, and powerful.”
See what I mean about spunky?