Jolene thinks her career started at age 13 when she was first spotted by a television producer, but it really started way back when she was 4 or 5 years old and Johaar Mosaval , star of the Royal Ballet, took her into one of his classes because her mother told him that this little girl had a very special quality about her dancing. This was confirmed hundreds of times over during her developing years, particularly by the very visionary church community she was raised in. Each member of the family was immersed in the arts department of this vibrant church and her sister and brother followed her by leading large hip-hop dance teams in turn.
By the time she was “spotted” she already had several key theatrical skills under her belt. What followed were television presenting opportunities on “Eco-Vision”, a youth environmental awareness programme and also “2-Cool”. On stage her high school years saw her playing lead roles in musicals like “Chicago” (sponsored by VW’s Musicative Programme) and “Sound of Music” for her high school, Sans Souci Girls High.
It is rare that one comes across an individual who can write her own songs, sing, dance, choreograph her own stage performances and then not the least of which act and present in both English and Afrikaans, but this early exposure and her own responsiveness to brilliant teaching explains much of it. A director’s dream, it was said of her.
At 17, while in matric, the J.Paul Getty Foundation selected her as one of two citizens of the world, out of a multitude of international participants, to address the United Nations in Paris, France. She was to represent South Africa and speak on cities going through dramatic change. The eyes of the world were on South Africa during our transitional change and this renowned Los Angeles based art institute Foundation, in the book “Picture Cape Town” , published Jolene’s stunning photography and poem. This poem about her visit to Robben Island also formed part of a matric setwork published in the following year’s English curriculum in the Western Cape. On the return journey from Paris, she squeezed in studying for her final Science exam.
After the exams that year she went straight on to play Marty Maraschino in “Grease” at the Artscape Theatre which got her noticed by theatre legend Janice Honeyman. With big decisions to be made about her future, Janice’s input convinced us that allowing Jolene to try the theatre field in Johannesburg would help her to decide where her heart lay. So our not-so-little-anymore daughter packed her bags to played key roles back to back in Janice’s “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Cinders and Her Fella”. We have hardly seen her since. She had found her passion.
The years following she continued headlining in various stage shows such as Richard Loring’s “Girl Talk” and the travelling stage show “Boyband”. ETV engaged her as Candy for “Scoop Schoombie”, “ Fishy Feshuns” as Janine was next and almost sealed a comedic career for her.
Wisely she took a break, packed her bags for Spain and ended up travelling with the Ministry of Sound for 6 months as a featured artist in the mega clubs of Mediterranean.
She decided to return to South Africa to record her debut album “The Beginning” with South Africa’s most elite dance producers Revolution. In the field of music Jolene has accomplished what very few singers have been able to. She’s proved to be a true crossover artist, topping charts in all provinces on a wide span of radio stations. She appeals to the jazz lover, the urban market and the international dance fans. The latter being a huge component since two of her songs were remixed by two of the world’s biggest dance DJ’s and released internationally.
Since her album release Jolene did not sit back on her laurels as far as television was concerned. She was a game show host on the “Coca Cola Mega Millions” game show after which KYKNET offered her the role of Tessa in her first fully Afrikaans speaking character in her very first soap opera in “Begeertes”.
She co-hosted the successful magazine show “Curious Culture” whilst playing a vixen lawyer character in the highly anticipated third season of “Hard Copy”.
Her latest comedic television appearance was a real coup for this artiste. In July 2009 she featured in her first sitcom lead in “Konsternasie oppie Stasie”, in a role created by Paul Slabolesky and directed by Bobby Heaney.
She is currently presenting South Africa’s version of “Powerball” and “Psalted”. Over the last 6 years she has been the anchor for Absa’s internal corporate channel and now Dimension Data has brought her on board in the same capacity.
Jolene’s fast growing public profile has found her in a position where she is being requested to MC high profile events and she’s getting more involved in her social awareness initiatives like “The Eldorado Women’s Forum” as an active board member.
As parents we have found it astonishing to look back on the years of Jolene’s progress as we have listed them here and we are reminded very clearly about the Grace of a loving God. We have not listed the failures, the hardships and the tears. We have also said nothing about her “menswees”. That beautiful Afrikaans term which so eloquently describes the deep and genuine humanity of a person. Suffice to say that life has added that in – and more.