Inspired by the December issue’s theme, the Art of Entertaining, Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Award winner Amanda Dambuza hosted a stylish celebratory soirée in her swish Sandton home
It’s a warm spring afternoon in Johannesburg, and Amanda Dambuza is entertaining a group of her closest friends who, like her, all have impressive resumés. The founder and CEO of Uyandiswa, a project management company, Dambuza counts a few financial organisations among her top clients. She also sits on the board of multiple JSE-listed companies and, with her passion for empowering and supporting women, it’s no surprise that she’s the 2017 Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Award winner.
After moving back to Johannesburg following a short stint in Cape Town in 2009, Amanda Dambuza and her husband were sure that they didn’t want to raise their family in an apartment or an estate. Their quest to find the perfect freestanding home with a garden took them several months. Dambuza had almost given up on the search when she stumbled across this house, where her family has lived for almost a decade, in an area zoned in as part of Benmore Gardens – a place that Dambuza describes as ‘Sandton’s best kept secret’. A walk away from Sandton City and a house away from where her three children go to school, the area has a great community culture, and her husband and children can often be found happily riding their bikes around the neighbourhood.
The house wasn’t always a livable space. When Dambuza first found it, it was dripping with ivy, had leaking pipes and carpets everywhere, and it had been grossly neglected. It would need a lot of work and drastic re-imagination. Her first task saw her ripping out the carpets, raising the ceilings and breaking down the walls. Back then, the home had a bit of a country living vibe to it, which her family loved and were comfortable with, but the home has developed more over the years to give it a more open and modish appeal. ‘The vision is always to have a house that has no borders, a house where you can freely move around and where the outside moves in,’ Dambuza says.
When reworking the home’s interiors, Dambuza and her family were inspired by Scandinavian and contemporary African design, and this space sees her merging the two. Some of the walls are high and painted in dark tones, ranging from black to charcoal. The roof is made out of corrugated iron, which not only gives it a sleek industrial feel, but is also eco-friendly. The cement floors aid the interiors by retaining heat in winter and keeping them cool in summer. And with double-glazed windows all over, the family’s energy consumption remains relatively low.
As someone who’s passionate about decor and design, Amanda Dambuza switches up her spaces every few months. The white walls in the dining and entertainment area, which opens up into a big garden, amplify the light. Her love for elegant chandeliers can be seen in this part of the house which has more of a classic appeal. In other parts, she wanted the light fixtures to carry the height of the space, and opted for a few pendants from SHF. Two armchairs from her favourite designer, Donald Nxumalo, her dining chairs from Mezzanine and a large oak unit from Studio 19 are just some of her covetable pieces.
One of the main attractions of the interiors is the wallpaper that carries a motif of the world map, which can be seen in the kitchen and leading into the cloakroom. ‘We travel a lot as a family, and have maps and globes all over the space. We love to scratch out the places that we’ve been to,’ she says. Dambuza and her family have also picked up a few quirky things from their travels, from bronze salt and pepper shakers from Finland to wooden sidetable blocks from Dullstroom and crystal glasses from Paris.
As someone who loves breaking bread with the people she loves, when it comes to her entertainment style, Amanda Dambuza can be found throwing it down in the kitchen. ‘I cook six days a week. It’s the best relaxation technique for me and, no matter the size of the occasion, I put my soul into everything I make,’ she says. Entertaining for her involves making lots of healthy food and drinking copious amounts of Champagne in colourful outdoor set-ups. Dambuza has had a bumper year since winning the prestigious Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Award, and in the new year she will be a published author, as her memoir will soon be available in local bookstores. ‘My wish for next year is that my book reaches as many hands as possible, inspiring people to rise above challenges while living a fulfilled life,’ she says. uyandiswa.com
Photographs: Sarah De Pina Production and Styling: Sanri Pienaar Production Assistant Pieter von Wielligh Fashion aAssistant: Kira Gimpel