Bassie had a very close relationship with Nelson Mandela. When she was crowned Miss South Africa, Madiba wrote her a letter of congratulations. In the letter, he called her “our Queen”. They shared a passion for children and education and the belief that an educated nation can help fight poverty.
In 2002, Bassie married Romeo Kumalo and became known as Basetsana Kumalo. Together they established the Romeo & Basetsana Kumalo Family Foundation. The foundation looks after orphans – children who don’t have a mom and dad.