“I wanna be on the cover of Forbes Magazine…”

The jaunty strains of Bruno Mars may well be stuck in your head after reading that; but, after you spend the afternoon with the Lognath family: Mom, Dad and “the boys”, you will see how it became a stunning reality. In this edition, we get to meet Pravesh, Lynette and their sons Ricardo and Nicolas, who have just been named in the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 Class of 2024. Hello, Lognath family!

“The boys are on their way,” Lynette, dressed in a stylish pink set, smiles warmly as she sits down next to her husband, Pravesh. He is, of course, matching her in a smart golf shirt of a similar hue. “I told him I was wearing pink, today,” she gives him a loving grin.

The “boys”, as you might have correctly assumed, are the couple’s sons. They are, of course, just a tad out of the age bracket to be considered boys in the typical sense of the word, but Ricardo (29) and Nicolas Lognath (27) take it in their mellow strides…accompanied by genetic twinkles in their eyes, mirrored in their father’s fond gaze. 

The family is originally from Merebank in Durban South, where they lived for nearly 30 years before relocating up north. Albeit Pravesh, as he shares, has been playing golf at Simbithi since 2012. “We had purchased property on the North Coast in 2009, and then a second property in 2012. I had always enjoyed golfing, here.”

When Ricardo and Nicolas completed their tertiary studies, and Pravesh left his position at the Engen Oil Refinery in Wentworth, the family began discussing a northern move. Lynette, however, was emotional. “Our home in Merebank was very special to me, it still is,” she recalls. “We purchased it before we married, and I enjoyed renovating it with Pravesh. At that point, it was the only home the boys had known, and I thought we would never leave!”

But Simbithi, with its whiling charm, won the Lognaths over. “Having experienced the environment, it was an obvious choice,” Pravesh says. The family first found a home at Ilanga, and later in Sabuti, where they now live.

By this stage, Durban University of Technology alumni had qualified as engineers, Ricardo in mechanical and Nicolas in civil. The latter was based on a site in Umhlanga, the former at Bayhead. Both credit their father, a mechanical engineer, for inspiring them in the field. “Dad groomed us to be the best engineers we could be, and we were enjoyed our work,” Ricardo shares. “We felt a calling, though, to make a greater social impact. That’s when we decided to start a business so we could write our own story.”

The business was to create social impact along three main avenues: nature, animals, and people. Enter Omninela.co.za, a health online store stocking more than 10 000 health, beauty, and pet care products. The name means ‘to seek’, and the company aims to assist users in locating affordable healthcare devices, to make it easier to monitor one’s health from the comfort of your home.

These products include monitoring devices, vitamins and supplements, bath and body, baby nutrition and monthly pet joint care supplements. Six years since inception, Omninela.co.za is a registered distributor through the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) and offers two delivery options, click and collect, at more than 3000 collection points in South Africa.

“It was trial and error for the first four years,” Nicolas reflects. “And, yes, it felt frightening at several points. It took us three years to get the online store off the ground. In a sense, our pragmatic engineering backgrounds stood us in good stead, because we were adept at examining a problem, then finding a solution.”

Whenever they would come close to throwing in the towel, Pravesh would coax them into giving it “just three more months”: this makes the family share a knowing smile. “I knew that once the three months were up, they would have figured out whatever was bothering them,” Pravesh chuckles. “As parents, Lynette and I have always tried our best to remove obstacles from the boys’ paths, so their priority could be their business. They know we are here to support them, and that they have nothing to lose. If they choose, one day, to step away from their business, then they always have engineering.”

The brothers were named winners of the Ilembe Chamber of Commerce The Entrepreneur competition. It was then they were first anonymously nominated for the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list. “We made it through the first round, then,” Ricardo explains. In 2023, they made it through three of five rounds and in 2024, their names appeared on the list.

Their reaction to the news?

In their words: shock, disbelief…and, then quiet awe at the magnitude of the achievement.

“This was something we wanted so badly,” Nicolas smiles gently. “Since my campus days, I have had stacks of entrepreneurial magazines in my room. And I always wondered how we would get there one day.” His brother agrees, mentioning the Simbithi network as secondary motivation. “We’d see our contemporaries succeeding and knew we could do it, too.”

Lynette, a proud mother, looks at her children with misty eyes. “When I first heard this news, I burst into tears. Omninela is completely their brainchild and, as a mother, I have seen how hard they have worked and continue to work.”

When asked what their business secrets are, Ricardo is unequivocal in his response: communication. “We learnt this at home. We are a close-knit family and we have been taught to talk to each other to find solutions. This works brilliantly in business.” Nicolas chimes in with an affirmation that the siblings enjoy working with each other. “We are brothers, with two differently wired brains that move in synch to drive the machinery of our business. We complement each other.” He winks and says the slightest bit of insanity is a magic ingredient for entrepreneurship. “You have to be a little daring to keep going in the tough moments.”

The family’s favourite thing about life in Simbithi is its peace and quiet. “The walking trails are my favourite,” Ricardo says. “My girlfriend, Diane and I enjoy a quiet walk together, exploring the Estate.” Nicolas and his fiancé Nishani are fans of chocolate brownie ice-creams at the Heron. “There is such solace in Simbithi. No matter what the day has been like, I know we can come here and find a spot where we are safe.”

Lynette, who adores her home and its sea view, is an avid gardener. “I recall lovely visits with Mrs. Rosemary Ladlau,” she shares. “My friends are here, and my family. Simbithi is a beautiful home.”

Whenever he has a chance, Pravesh is on the golf course. He fared excellently in the B-Division at our 2024 Club Champs. “Lynette and I also enjoy a swim at the Heron, every day!”

When they are not home or working, the Lognaths enjoy spending time together as a family; Lynette particularly enjoys including Nishani and Diane, her “girls”, as she excitedly calls them. They are faithful members of Rivers Ballito, where Ricardo and Nicolas serve as Sunday baristas…and make a mean cuppa!

As the family walks toward the Heron Dam to take photographs, the love and respect between them is heartwarming to witness; Lynette fussing with the boys’ collars, the boys egging their father on to smile and cracking jokes with each other, and Pravesh affectionately embracing his sons.

What a delight to spend the afternoon with you, Lognaths! We wish you many happy years in Simbithi.