Open up to family on a ride out with actress, producer and entrepreneur Sonia Mbele and sons Donelle and Siyabonga.  

The life that actress, writer, producer and entrepreneur Sonia Mbele has made for herself and her children is one based on practicing the idea that ‘if it is to be, it is up to me’. 

Over two tough years, Sonia’s sons Donelle and Khomo have watched her live that motto and beat unemployment by launching an alkaline water brand and refusing to take hard times as an excuse.

We caught up with them for a day out of spoiling and fun at Four 20 Bespoke Hotel.

A Midrand sanctuary where rustic meets industrial, modernism meets upcycled antiquities, and outdoor activities abound. From off-road cycling, nature trails and hikes, picnics, delicious hot tubs heated with a boma fire and more.

Four 20 Bespoke Hotel, 19 MacGillivray Road, Glenferness, Midrand, 2191. To book your own Midrand escape email or call/WhatsApp 064 507 2409 

Sonia grew up as an only child and lost her father in her teens so, when it came to having her own family, she raised quite a brood and the time she gets to spend with them is golden.

“Family is everything to me. I’ve got four kids and I think they’re actually the reason why I grind as hard as I do. They are the reason that I wake up every morning, and that I push and wanna stage myself. That I want to do better than I did yesterday,” shares the actress and mom. 

We uncover where her fearlessness and confidence stems from while enjoying the experience of feeding the estate’s animals which inturn fed a new idea of hers.

“I’m considering getting a farm myself. My daughter is an animal lover and just loves dogs so I’m contemplating getting a farm for her to breed them. She’s ten years old and  trains them. She teaches them how to roll over, give paw, sit and all of that. So I’m feeling inspired,” says Sonia of their time feeding the animals at the establishments paddocks.    

Farmer Mbele was on fertile ground. Everything about this hotel turns on creative reimagination and Alan Surmon is at the heart of it.

“Our ethos and eco-friendly nature is all about sustainability. It’s about living within our means and within the parameters of what we’ve been given. Part of the design concept of the hotel is to use salvaged and recycled materials – even in the glass that we’ve used in the lounge and even the mirrors on the wall,” explains Alan, Four 20 Bespoke Hotel’s Creative Lead.

True to the enterprising nature of South Africans, Janus & Co. put this venture on its feet during the most challenging of times.

“The hotel was established right before COVID. We worked throughout the lockdown and opened right after. We have a full metal workshop, a wood workshop, a sewing workshop, a kitchen crew and reception, and we train all of these people to do the work that you see around you.” shares Janus Swanepoel, Manager at Four 20 Bespoke Hotel.

Apart from the guest house and field-to-fork restaurant which harvests all the vegetables for meals from their very own garden, they also offer picnics in the field, horse rides, spa treatments and massages.    

Sonia and her boys seized the opportunity to do something a little different as a family by going on a horse ride together. 

It’s here that we got a better glimpse at her and her boy’s relationship and their close family bond. As well as the respect and admiration that Donelle and Khomo have for their mom. 

“She’s a nice person, she’s kind and always supportive. She’s a mom and a dad and has taught us a lot of things; to support each other through everything and to be good siblings to each other no matter whatever we are going through,” reveals Donell.

From our time together it’s clear to see that the brothers have taken the lead of their mom. There’s no doubt she loves nurturing them but takes to heart her role in equipping them for the future and passing on her ethos. ‘If it is to be, it’s up to me’.




Four 20 Bespoke Hotels, 19 MacGillivray Road, Glenferness, Midrand, 2191. Book via, or call / WhatsApp 064 507 2409.

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