Interior designer Donald Nxumalo.
Interior designer Donald Nxumalo.
Image: Supplied

Essential grooming products? Kiehl’s exfoliator and SPF50 sunscreen and Dermaplex face wash and night cream.

Must-have tech? My AirPods for gym. Since lockdown began, I have gained an appreciation for running and workouts so they are now an essential. My pet peeve is walking out my door and seeing that they aren’t charged!

Describe your design style in three words? Functional, beautiful, and dramatic.

The building everyone should visit before they die? Forodhani House in Lamu, Kenya, for the vernacular architecture and the beautiful scenes surrounding the island of Lamu. Life slows down as fishing boats come in and out and total peace can be achieved. You can swim all day. It’s very simple but spacious; that is what I enjoy about it.

Coffee or tea? Coffee.

What do you love most about Johannesburg? I love that there is so much to do — I can pick any activity based on my mood. Jhb is more than just restaurants and shopping: we have hiking, parks, and retreats that you can visit and feel refreshed before you head back into the city for work. I love that the city is developing and there is always something new to discover, like the BKhz Gallery that just opened at Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank. We are constantly moving.

What is your all-time favourite place to eat out? La Boqueria in Parktown North. I always order the grilled whole fish and salad. To share, of course.

La Boqueria in Parktown North.
La Boqueria in Parktown North.
Image: Supplied

How do you relax? I take long drives and listen to music. I find that music can be a powerful way to escape whatever is worrying me. I can literally change the frequency of the day.

What is the one item of clothing you bought, instantly loved, and still have in your wardrobe years later? Nothing that I owned in my twenties fits me anymore, but on a recent trip to Nigeria I bought a jacket by designer Kenneth Ize. It’s made from local fabrics and it’s bound to be a future classic. I loved it and am waiting for the perfect occasion to wear it.

If money was no object, what would your dream purchase be? French châteaux that I can renovate and update. What a dream.

Donald Nxumalo's dream purchase would be a French château that he could renovate and update.
Donald Nxumalo's dream purchase would be a French château that he could renovate and update.
Image: 123RF / Iakov Filimonov

Listening to? The Lijadu Sisters, an identical-twin duo from Nigeria who made music between the 1960s and 1980s.

The visual artist you’ve got your eye on? Wonder Buhle.

Your favourite room in the house? My bedroom. I have good sheets.

Afro‑Beat Soul Sisters: The Lijadu Sisters at Afrodisia, Nigeria.
Afro‑Beat Soul Sisters: The Lijadu Sisters at Afrodisia, Nigeria.
Image: Supplied

Your design icon? Corey Damen Jenkins.

What little luxury have you missed the most during the Covid-19 crisis? Being able to host a dinner party and having my guests linger longer.

Are you a collector of anything? I have an unusual amount of sculpted/carved birds around the house. I’m obsessed with flying, so birds symbolise that.

Dream design project? To work on sea-facing villas in the Seychelles or Maldives.

When travel resumes as normal, to where are you immediately booking a ticket? Maldives. I miss the ocean and beach and I hope to travel there for my birthday.

Dream dinner-party guests? Nina Simone, Hugh Masekela, Trevor Stuurman, Zoë Modiga, Freddie Mercury, and Tyra Banks.

What’s next on your list of must-have items? A Patek Philippe watch. It’s classic and bold.

Donald Nxumalo's next must-have is a Patek Philippe watch. Pictured here: Patek Philippe Calatrava watch.
Donald Nxumalo's next must-have is a Patek Philippe watch. Pictured here: Patek Philippe Calatrava watch.
Image: Supplied

Fridge essential? Coriander, I think it makes every meal taste great. Whether you put it on a fresh salad or cooked stew, it makes a world of difference.

What inspires you? Knowing that there is opportunity in South Africa for me to attempt to be who I want to be.

 From the February edition of Wanted, 2021.

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