Hello Halo Hair

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But first, a word from one of my faves:


Just like Segi, I also really love my hair and the daily work of getting to know it so that I can continue to present myself confidently to the world. Over the years, I’ve had the good luck to be in conversations with hair specialists and content creators and, to have that information be corroborated by my own searches on the internet. I also recently spoke to my friend, Alyx Carolus about my “our hair, don’t care” life for All the Pretty Birds. This post here isn’t necessarily about my hair routine but about a few of the non-negotiables that keep my hair healthy:

1. Three-month trims

I trim my split ends every three months. Alternatively, I’m also experimenting with trimming single-strand knots whenever I do my weekly hair routine. There was a time, before I shaved all my hair off in October 2017, when I would not trim at all. That led to me seeing a visible stagnation in hair growth and of course, impossible knots whenever I would wear my afro out. I see a big difference between then and now because my hair grows longer, is thicker and just feels healthier.

2. Three-month treatments

I like to do moisture boosting treatments at regular intervals, on top of ensuring that I deep condition each time I shampoo my hair. The highveld is dry so I like to try to counter that every now and then.

3. Water is moisture

I like to expose my hair to steam from the shower everyday and then massage some oil through it afterwards, on some days. While it is true that water shrinks our hair, our hair shrinks in response to being filled with moisture and that’s always a good thing.

4. Comb while damp

I prefer to finger comb my hair as much as possible but even when I use my afro-pick, I must have sprayed it with water first. Dry hair may break more easily when pulled upon.

5. Protective styling

For me, this means cornrows with my hair only. While I do love fibre braids so I can be ‘summer-time fine’ in “Dezemba”, I think my hair maintains more of its growth when it isn’t being twisted and sliced with fibre on a frequent basis. This is obviously good for my hairline as well.

What about products? I don’t think that there is a uniform recommendation I could make. I think the idiosyncrasies of our genetics, family histories of illness and current states of health do influence how we experience the products that we use. I do not know if I am currently using the best products for me but they fit my minimum standards of no mineral oils, no parabens and no sulphates. As long as products can adhere to that and have generally good feedback from afro-texture haired women whose word I trust, then I’ll try them. I’m also doing my best to only use South African products and I am really enjoying Nilotiqua at the moment. 

Something wonderful recently happened for afro-texture-haired people in South Africa. Janine Jellars wrote The Big South African Hair Book (and I’m quoted in it as an academic, fancy fancy!)

This is the publisher’s description of the book:

The Big South African Hair Book is a celebration and must-read exploration of our #NaturalHair community. Part peek into what’s causing generations of women to ditch chemical relaxers, and part practical haircare guide, this book is an indispensable companion for everyone from the curl-curious to #NaturalHair veterans. Hilarious and hair-volutionary, this book, a first of its kind on South African shelves, is filled with advice, tried and tested tricks and tips and haircare testimonials.

It’s available from all good book stores. Buy it. Share it with your loved ones. Read and learn. Ask questions. Chant down the stigma that our hair is “difficult” and keep loving yourself, just how the Creator lovingly made you.

“What’s Wrong With Groovin?” has come to an end on Kaya FM

I have learned with shock that last week’s episode of What’s Wrong with Groovin? – an episode I am especially proud to have narrated in homage to the South African icon, Jonas Gwangwa – was the last episode of our show to air. Remember how excited I was to join in October 2019? Sixty episodes and many Sunday afternoons later, it feels great to have concluded our offering on such a high note. It really has been an incredible journey through Africa and the diaspora; reading the beautiful work of poets, philosophers, historians, novelists, politicians and thinkers while listening to the very best sounds gifted to us by our beloved musicians! Far greater than the South African Radio Awards nomination we received last year, was all of the feedback we got from listeners who took their time to let us know how much our work moved them. I am so proud of this project that Mohau, Kagiso, EdSoul, Tha_Muzik, DJ Kenzhero and I dedicated ourselves to weekly. We used radio for its true purpose; we shaped, sharpened and challenged the minds of the people. Being part of Kaya FM’s Afropolitan chapter has been an honour. Thank you for lending us your ears.

Please see the statement from the originators of What’s Wrong with Groovin?, MNM below:

Storytelling Picnic this Sunday!

My wish is finally coming true: a book event that is not virtual! Of course I understand the necessity of having had all our events online and I’m so grateful for that. However, I also miss people so, please join Ethnikids along with myself and Professor Claudine Storbeck as we read Mpumi and Jabu’s Magical Day this Sunday, 13 December 2020 at the Nirox Sculpture Park. It is a gorgeous open air setting that allows for keeping our social distance and adhering to all pandemic protocols. Please purchase your tickets here and note that all food and drinks must be purchased at the venue. More information is available here. I am so excited to see you there!

I wrote a book with Dr Judy Dlamini

Co-authors!

New book alert! Grow To Be Great: Awesome African Achievers by Dr Judy Dlamini and I, is finally here! First of all, do you know how cool it is to collaborate on writing a book with your university’s chancellor? It’s amazing! I actually “met” her in 2019, when she was one of the invited guests for the Zanele Mbeki Fellowship one morning and we all sat in a circle and engaged with a selection of phenomenal women leaders about their life’s work. Little did I know that we would actually meet properly when she was searching for a young children’s book author to collaborate with as she sought to convert her books, Equal but Different and The Other Story into a singular book for younger readers. Even better, we met and discussed this collaboration for the first time only a few weeks before she capped me at my Master’s graduation ceremony in December 2019. If you look at the photo, you’ll see me beaming because I held her hand and she smiled and said, “Wow, you’re wearing a suit. You look beautiful.” I was especially proud of my look that day because I really wore a tailored suit with some Nike Cortez the day I became an Anthropologist.

An Anthropologist; a Master, as capped by Chancellor of the University of Witwatersrand, Dr Judy Dlamini.

Working with Mam’ Judy has been such an enriching experience. Not only was I able to gain some insight into her life journey, because she also features as a character in the book, I was also able to experience excellence and discipline up close in a way that is rarely available to me since I usually work alone across all of my various academic and bookish projects. It also blows my mind that she’s a whole medical doctor, academic doctor, businesswoman who also owns her own publishing house, mother, grandmother and a whole chancellor of the best university in Africa! (I know you know that I don’t care about the official stats. Haha!)

Can you spot your faves?

Grow To Be Great: Awesome African Achievers is published by Dr Dlamini and her husband, Sizwe Nxasana’s publishing house, Sifiso Publishers. It is a gift for African children; to inspire them to know that they are the continuation of really incredible legacies and people who have worked tirelessly to fulfil their own aspirations as well as to contribute greatly to the communities around them, benefitting the continent as a whole. By capturing their stories, we hope that African children will see themselves reflected in these great leaders and know that they too are capable of so much more. Here is more about the book:

Co-authored by Dr. Judy Dlamini and Lebohang Masango, Grow to Be Great is an adaptation of Dr. Judy Dlamini’s two books, Equal but Different & The Other Story. It’s targeting young adults. It seeks to inform, empower and validate their dreams. There is a message from each of the 24 leaders covered in the book, from the President of the country, President Cyril Ramaphosa, to the Chairman of the Solidarity fund and Co-Founder of Women Investment Portfolio, Gloria Serobe, the only woman former Deputy President of the country current Executive Director of UN-Women, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka to the late Dr Richard Maponya; amongst others.

Available in English.

Stockists:

Ethnikids (online purchase)

Exclusive Books (online & physical purchase)

Sifiso Publishers (online purchase)

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Thank you, lovely publisher who recommended me! (You know who you are!)

I won a gold Pendoring Award!

Yay, Mpumi’s Magic Beads!

The Pendoring Advertising Awards were held on Friday, 13 November 2020. Unfortunately, we are still enduring a pandemic so one couldn’t get dressed up and enjoy the ceremony in real time – like we did this time last year at a different event! My book, Mpumi’s Magic Beads was nominated in the “Publication Design – Whole Publication” category. According to the website, this is what the awards are about:

The Pendoring advertising awards are 25 years old this year – a truly unique initiative that celebrates the 10 indigenous languages of our country – quite simply, at Pendoring, we speak South African. Originally created in 1995 to promote and stimulate the use of Afrikaans in advertising, Pendoring has gone through a number of changes to celebrate all our indigenous languages.

Pendoring Awards’ background.

My favourite thing was seeing that all nominations adhere to advertising conventions so I was credited as the Chief Creative Officer, Masego Morulane as the Art Director and Dusanka Stojakovic as the Content Strategist. Dusanka, Vanessa, Solly and team from David Philip continue to make my journey as an author so remarkable and full of wonder! I was honestly so nervous about these awards but, wow, we actually won! We now have a gold Pendoring Award to add to the three awards that we already have for this book.

From the Pendoring Awards’ nominations list for 2020

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Thank you, Pendoring Awards’ judges and amazing adults who keep buying this book for your babies!

My second publication as an Anthropologist

A proud Anthropologist

Anyone who knows me knows how much I absolutely love Johannesburg, in all its grit and grime and glory. I write poems about it. I even write children’s books about it. So, naturally, my academic efforts are dedicated to understanding this city and the people who live and love in it, as I do. My current PhD journey continues from where I concluded my Master’s research. I find myself really fascinated by romantic relationships; what is reflected about them in the media, in music, in movies, in pop culture and how people navigate them to realise their own individual happiness within their couplings. I’m also interested in how grand socio-political occurrences affect the intimacies between people. If you’re interested in that too, you should read my chapter in Professor Nicky Falkof and Dr Cobus van Staden’s new edited volume, Anxious Joburg: The Inner Lives of a Global South City.

It’s a great book. Take my word for it.

This publication is a result of responding to a call for abstracts for Nicky and Cobus’ Urban Anxieties workshop held in 2017 that is supported by my current scholarship, Governing Intimacies. I worked with them, back-and-forth draft submissions and edits, until we reached the point where the chapter was good enough to be published. Academia gives me butterflies in the worst way so even when the act of applying myself feels like moving boulders, I really do try to give it my best each time. My favourite part is that I always come out on the other side having a wealth of new knowledge and knowing new scholars that inspire me and if I’m lucky, they take interest in my work and give me the most amazing advice. Strangely, academia makes me happy. Let’s get back to the book. I really think you’ll enjoy it so get yourself a copy here and while you wait, you should listen to Prof. Falkof’s conversation with Azania Mosaka on Radio 702, here.

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Thank you Nicky, Cobus and Governing Intimacies!

A beautiful handmade Mpumi doll

My books and my special Mpumi doll

A few weeks ago, I came across a blog by a mom named Nondumiso who mentions how Mpumi’s Magic Beads is among some of her daughter’s favourite books. While browsing, I discovered that she creates handmade dolls so naturally, I wanted to support her work too! I really love my custom Mpumi doll by Imibongo kaMakhulu. I don’t think you can order this exact doll but maybe you can have her create something based on your own little girl or boy? I think that would be such an amazing gift, especially with Christmas around the corner! Here are her details below.

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Support an amazing artist today!

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Thank you for your beautiful work, Nondumiso!

MultiChoice and The Throne present…

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MultiChoice Presents: Africa’s Most Loved Storyteller Issue featuring…me! I recently collaborated with media giant MultiChoice in writing a poem that represents the importance of the storytelling tradition on the African continent which also extends to who they are as a company that has been giving opportunities to Africans of all ages to tell their stories for the past 25 years. You can read about my insights and my work in the cover story which was so beautifully written by Gomolemo Lesejane in the latest edition of The Throne as well as more stunning photographs. My gratitude goes to Caron Williams, publisher of the Throne; photographer, Austin Malema; make-up artist, Nureen; hair stylist, Smangele from Indalo Nubian Naturals and Sibu Mabena from Duma Collective for bringing it all together. It was amazing to be on sent with this remarkable group of people who are all so supremely gifted in what they do.

There aren’t enough words to capture how incredible Austin Malema’s photography is.

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Photographed by Austin Malema. Dress by Maxhosa Africa.

You can watch my poem, Ten Thousand Stories below and read the words inside The Throne.

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Thank you, Multichoice!