Reviews, News and Views

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Below an article written by a guest writer who visited one of our workshops to discover more about the life skills and refinement programme we offer. Have a look at the personal views of attendees…


Bella Donna – A new school of thought

As preparation for entry into society, finishing schools historically catered to wealthy young women dating as far back as the nineteenth century, teaching them social graces, upper class cultural rites and primarily how to acquire a husband. With academic performance subordinate to etiquette, the 1960s marked the decline of these schools. With feminism making its presence known, the notion of a women’s role in society had shifted dramatically. It was not until the 90s which saw a comeback of finishing schools with an altered business model that would still give young women an edge without compromising academic performance or professional opportunities.

The Bella Donna Krugersdorp Refinement program is one such school that offers assistance to young ladies in directing their way through various life challenges. With weekly classes and weekend workshops comprising of etiquette, event planning, interview skills, time management, deportment, first aid, make-up, modelling, nutrition, tyre and plug changing, skin care, personal care, public speaking, money matters, self defence and more, it is apparent that the skills acquired are invaluable to any girl today no matter the demographic or social class. “I have always been passionate about women empowerment in all spheres of life and live by Maya Angelou’s words: ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive; but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour and some style’”, says Bella Donna franchise owner Vonda Kahn.

In a fun-filled, relaxed environment, the course encourages openness and debate among its participants, and what manifests is an evident rise in confidence levels. A standout feature is the passion and dedication of the experts during their talks. For example, having a real-life paramedic take the young ladies through the laws, requirements, consequences and safety measures when treating a patient at the scene of an accident, as well as giving them a crash course in CPR was instrumental in their knowledge field, among the many skills acquired during a day’s course.  Leaving the course with extended reading material as well as open channels of communication with the Bella Donna instructors ensures continuous enrichment and dialogue.

“The focus on young women specifically, is to provide them with a sense of self-worth early on in life, helping them make good sound choices which will stand them in good stead for a lifetime. They will be able to defend themselves against emotional and physical encounters as well as help others in need. These are essential life skills and values that no one can take away from them,” emphasises Kahn.

It’s comforting to know that there are still passionate people out there who care about society’s youth, equipping them with practical life skills that are often not taught in classrooms.

For more information on Bella Donna classes contact:


“The course was very interesting, we learned different things. We got to communicate with others and socialise as well. It can boost girls’ self-esteem and get them to see things in a different way. We also learned to be more open in our relationships with people in general. I would definitely recommend it to anyone” – Leah

“I found the classes to be very educational and a lot of girls should do it, as it would help in the long run. It builds confidence, as I definitely feel more confident about going out. I can defend myself and know how to act in from of others” – Kellan

“I found it really interesting, you learn vital skills that girls our age need to know. We did things like self-defence which is very important for us to know in this day and age especially living in a dangerous society. I would definitely recommend it to other girls” – Nikita

“I think it’s really good and I would suggest that other girls participate in these courses. You can learn quite a few beneficial things. I personally enjoyed it, it was fun and worth it! I honestly think that the self-defence module was very good. The main learning curve for me personally was goal-setting where we were taught how and why you should set them. I can be more organised now” – Jada

“It was a very good experience. I learned a lot that I may not have known if I hadn’t attended. I really enjoyed it and I got to connect with people. I particularly enjoyed the self-defence part of the course. I would definitely recommend it to other young ladies” Zara