Babalwa Mneno-Mandel

Full / Real Name: Babalwa Mneno
Born: 12 November 1977 (44 years old)
Gender: Female



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Babalwa "Barbz" Mneno-Mandel (née Mneno)  is a South African model, events manager, hair salon boss and reality television personality who first rose to fame as the first runner-up in the 1996 Miss South Africa pageant, which was won by Peggy-Sue Khumalo.

Well known for her beauty pageant titles, Babalwa has modeled for SA Fashion Week, CPT Fashion Week and for a myriad of fashion shows from Nigeria, London, and Moscow to New Mexico. She is the former CEO of the Sundowns Chikitas.

Babalwa was one of the eight celebrities who danced in the SABC2 reality competition Strictly Come Dancing 2, in 2006. She and her professional dance partner Thabo Moloto were the first to be voted out.

She was a celebrity housemate on the seventh season of the DStv reality television series Big Brother Africa, in 2012.

In 2013 she featured in the docu-reality television series Reality Check, on

Big Brother Africa Profile

Babalwa entered Big Brother StarGame because she loves competing in challenges, both physical and intellectual. The model, events manager and hair salon boss from King William's Town in the Eastern Cape says the fact that she will be pushed to the limit in the house excites her and that she loves winning – "losing ain't for me!" she says.

Barbz says that she won't sell her morals short for money – viewers shouldn't expect any hanky panky from her in the house, but she's game for anything else.

She loves samp & beans with oxtail and her favourite books are "Nice Girls Don't Get Rich" and "The Secret". She enjoys most reality TV – she's a huge Big Brother fan – and also likes watching news channels like CNN and Al Jazeerah.

She says her favourite places in the world outside of her home country are Miami and Lagos – the former for the parties, nice people and great shopping and the latter for the "fun".

Barbz is inspired by a lot of people, but picks her Mom as the most influential because she moulded her into the person she is today. She says her parents influenced her life most because they made sure she went to good schools and their strict nature kept her out of trouble.

The qualities she likes most in other people are respect, openness, friendship and "people with backbone" while she dislikes lies, false accusations, bad-mouthing, laziness and spitefulness.

She entered Big Brother StarGame to market her brand and her business, to create awareness around xenophobia and to spread love amongst Africans.

Television Roles



Commentator - Herself

Commentator - Herself

Guest - Herself (as Babalwa Mneno)

Celebrity Housemate - Herself


Contestant - Herself


Celebrity Dancer - Herself


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