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The Sophie A Kanza Foundation at the Forefront OF Charity Work And Critical Youth Conversations.

Sophie and Louise Kanza

Sophie and Louise Kanza

“Millennials don’t want to work”, they said; “Millennials are lazy”, they said; yet significant social and economic changes in Africa will be and are being effected by Africa’s youth who have seen the gaps and the inabilities of their governments to provide for the people’s basic needs. Congolese born and South African raised sisters Sophie and Louise Kanza started the Sophie A Kanza Foundation in order to help bring changes in the lives of orphaned and poor children around and outside South Africa. In a space of 2 years the foundation has done more than the government has done through fundraising initiatives like Fabulous Female Fashion Show that raised enough money to supply hundreds of girls with sanitary pads. #CandyCraftsDay as the Sophie A Kanza Foundation is sometimes known is interactive and engages the children in making crafts and supplying clothes and sanitary towels to the girls who have reached puberty. A huge number of charities and schools benefit immensely from the Sophie A Kanza Foundation through sanitary pads donations, clothes and food; and matric dance packages for girls who cannot afford all the expenses of a matric dance.

Being Congolese born and living in South Africa, the Kanza sisters have been deeply hurt by the Afrophobia attacks that started in Rosettenville when service delivery protests erupted against drug dealing and prostitution in the area. Although the culprits where known Nigerians; the community turned against all foreign nationals and the attacks caught on in even some parts of South Africa. This meant that the sisters were not safe even though South Africa is the only home they have known which led to them producing and directing a video titled “Singabantu” which means we are people. The video featured young immigrants from other African countries and their flights as “Foreigners” in South Africa. The video went on to win the “I Am Migrant” award at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Plural plus Festival.

It is sad that Africans do not feel safe in Africa because of the harm that we inflict on them as South Africans. The harm is not only physical but it is emotional as well, from isolation to name calling. Despite the challenges, the sisters have brought together young people from different parts of Africa to engage on matters that affect us all and bring forward solutions and ways to work together. A conversation has been started and young South African are against Afrophobia which means the older generation is the one that institutes these attacks by painting everyone with the same dirty brush. One foreign person’s sins are paid for by all the foreign people who live in SA and that is not right at all. If the young cannot change the mindsets of the old then we will need ways to protect our brothers and sisters from outside South Africa from these senseless attacks.

The good work of the foundation has not gone unnoticed, Sophie Kanza has been nominated as one of 100 Most Influential South Africans for 2017/18 and Louise Kanza was nominated for “Advocate of the Year” at the Africa Youth Awards 2017. We really need more young people like Sophie and Louise Kanza.

Check out the Singabantu video 

 

 

 

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The Art Of Black Hair And The Women Whose Hair Inspires Us

 

In recent years, black women have been embracing and loving their natural hair, ditching chemicals and using protective hairstyles to diversify their hair. There was some kind of shift in the universe because black women started cutting short their relaxed her opting to start their natural hair journeys through locking their hair and letting it grow as it pleases. Consequently natural hair products started popping up everywhere because there was suddenly a demand for products that are specifically for black hair. There are some African women who are free with their hair in such a way that they create amazing masterpieces with it.

Laetitia Ky

Laetitia Ky

Laetitia Ky

Laetitia Ky is a fashion designer from Cote d’ivoire who makes amazing  sculptures using her hair. Laetitia is a bigger part of her art that has gained her thousands and thousands of Instagram followers. To make her hair stand out she uses threads, needles, wires and wool among other things. I have never seen such amazing creativity with hair and I absolutely love all the shapes that Laetitia transforms her hair into. Black hair is beautiful as it is versatile.

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@laetitiaky

Laetitia Ky

@laetitiaky

Laetitia Ky

@laetitiaky

Nikiwe Dlova

Nix Dlova

@nix_idamix

Nix Dlova as Nikiwe is best known is a fashion, hair and cycling enthusiast from Johannesburg. Nix has a blog called Own Ur Crown where she has reinvented they way we view our  Betty hairstyles that we used to do in Primary school. Betty has evolved now, she had more bright colours, she is longer, she is creative and more importantly she is very adventurous and experimental. Nikiwe’s hair changes everything I see her and I love that no hairstyle of hers is ever the same and she is not shy to use bright colours (unlike me) and that is why I am living my #Hairgoals through her.

Nikiwe Dlova

@nix_idamix

Nix Dlova

@nix_idamix

Kwena Baloyi

Kwena is a fashion stylist and style icon from Limpopo and she is easy to spot in a crowd of fashionistas because she is fearless in her fashion and hair. She is always trying different hairstyles from different parts of the continent and if anyone can pull off a risky hairstyle then her name is Kwena Baloyi. She just doesn’t just know how to pull off great and unique hairstyles, she also knows how to dress well  and that is how she got the trendsetter title. Kwena is serious #Hairgoals and I am pretty sure future generations of black girls will learn about her and inspire to love their hair as fearlessly as she does.

Kwena Baloyi

@kwenasays

Kwena Baloyi

@kwenasays

kween-kwena

@kwenasays

Kwena Baloyi

@kwenasays

Black Magic At Abantu Book Festival

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Black people seldom have spaces to be unapologetically black, but Abantu Book Festival is one of the few spaces that has allowed us to enjoy our blackness and indulge in black literature by black African authors without any interruptions. Do not be fooled into thinking that black people don’t read, because we do, we enjoy it and we are even teaching our children to not only read but to love it. The first week of December saw Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, Soweto and Soweto Theater filled with Black African authors as well as the black people who read their books meet to have panel discussions on issues that affect us. The book festival was a safe space were we cried together, laughed together and danced together.

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Writers from different parts of Africa gave a few insights into their books as well as engaged in general discussions about different issues that affect us. What stood out for me is how the majority of discussions were on abuse, patriarchy and women as keeper of secrets. In a discussion with Marah Louw she talked about the cycle of abuse from her mother( who is actually her grandmother) , her sister (who is her real mother) and herself, the abuse they suffered at the hands of men they loved. Finding out that her sister was actually her mother and how nobody in her family was willing to tell her the truth. Family keeping secrets about a child’s biological parents is such a problem all over and it is damaging. In a separate discussion about Khwezi, Mmatshilo Motsei emphasized on the dangers of women keeping secrets when their kids and other women are raped by family members so as to not “disgrace” the family. Everyone who attended the discussion is in agreement that we need to stop protecting abusers and rapists in our families. Our mothers are huge supporters of patriarchy because that is all they know from their mothers and their mothers and they have protected patriarchy as way to survive in the world that has always been unfair to women and the change can only be brought by women of our generation who have already started to make great strides in dismantling patriarchy bit by bit.

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Our African cultures from 500 years ago are not the same cultures that we have today because culture evolves and as we go on every day we create our own African identity. I love the way we are loving our black African selves without apologizing, rocking our hair in its natural state, celebrating our cultures as well as the cultures of our fellow Africans.

Abantu Book Festival in its greatness also exposed the challenges for the black media worker when it comes to the compensation and managing the creative and business aspect of their trade. There is a need to established media institution that will enforce the fair treatment, fair compensation of media workers. Those institutions need to make media work for blacks sustainable.

I cannot wait wait for the 3rd annual Abantu Book Festival in 2018 because the festival is a great initiative and I am pretty sure that it will grow bigger and better, I am proud of the work that Thando Mgqolozana and his team have done for us. AMANDLA ABANTU BOOK FEST! AMANDLA

All images from Abantu Book Festival

Meeting Themba Mbuyisa: South Africa’s Rising Star

The Incredibles

Themba Mbuyisa is a young brilliant photographer from Soweto who took up photography as a way to keep himself busy because he had the time and a creative eye. Photography was an impulsive decision for him and not having a camera was definitely not going to stop him from being a photographer, so he decided to enrol himself into a photography course. Themba does not believe that photography is set in stone for him. I mean, after 4 years in the industry, he’s still trying to figure himself out while not allowing ‘fame’ to get to his head. He is currently studying for his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at the University of the Witwatersrand.

AFRICA RISING - ELLE SEPTEMBER

After entering Elle Magazine South Africa’s ‘ Elle Style Reporter’ for the second time after his first attempt in 2013, Themba finally won in 2016 and has been working with the magazine ever since. His win only registered in his mind when he did his first photo shoot, which he describes as being a great experience. The photographer’s creative process starts with a collage of images and notes that get revised until a clear picture comes up for the shoot. “I construct images,” he says. “My work has a thought process behind it and I decide what needs to be and how the lights need to shine on it.

StreetStyle for Ezpresso Show

StreetStyle for Ezpresso Show

Themba, who values friendship above most things, enjoys working with people who believed in him when he first started out in his career and works with young people in most of his shoots. Although he says that he does not have favourites, he especially loves working with Sthembiso Mngadi who has helped him transform his initial ideas into great images. 2017 for Themba is all about making connections and exploring other parts of photography that he has not given much attention to in the past while also putting himself out there by applying for exhibitions that he would not normally apply for. In April this year, the photographer is looking forward to being a part of the 32 nd Villa Noailles Hyeres Fashion and Photography Festival in France. 

Travel Issue - ELLE SA December

Travel Issue - ELLE SA December

Accolades:

Youth Excellence Award

Sony World Photographic Awards 3rd Place National Award (South Africa) 2015

Sasol New Signatures finalist 2016

Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans 2016

Prime Obsession for ELLE SA

Prime Obsession for ELLE SA

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Article originally published in Moon-Look Magazine

Originally Kasified Clothing Revealed Art Inspired Women’s Collection

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This year Originally Kasified Clothing has been showing women’s collection starting with the Autumn/Winter collection that they showcased earlier this year at Soweto Fashion Week, which I absolutely loved. but by far this Spring/Summer collection inspired by elements of Art is my favourite.”Not only was it a part of this year’s plans but also because I’ve always wanted to make a womens wear collection since I’ve started showcasing at SFW and other shows. It gives me an ability to tell a story through the style that I’ve created in a more realistic and understandable way” , says Afrika Mabena the designer. He wanted to show his other creative side.


The collection is telling a story of a young woman who loves shopping. A clean example of someone who just got paid, looking all nice and classy, feeling herself and comfortable in her outfit. And all this happens in a mall, heading to her favourite shoe store, to pick up her favourite shoes…the rest of the story is just the imagination of how this fun concept ends. Afrika used lines, shapes and colours. The colour combinations of the outfits was amazing, it was the right amount of black and white and the equally amazing touch of mustard and burnt orange. the stripes and the blocks draw you to the collection and the colours keep you there. I imagine that it was fun for the models to wear these outfits and there is no doubt in my mind that I would have had a blast on the runway. There is nothing more sexy than an outfit that makes a woman looks stylish and still allows her to have fun and I believe that Afrika Mabena achieved style and fun in this collection.

All photos by Eunice Driver

Abantu Book Festival

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Abantu Book Festival kick of in SOWETO from the 6th to 10th of  December 2016. The festival is the first of its kind and magnitude, not just in terms of location but to centre black writers and readers.Organised under the theme – Our Stories – the festival celebrates African stories through written and spoken word, visual arts, music and film. It will explore the ways in which our stories are told, and how these inform, or are informed by, our ways of being.The Soweto Theatre (Jabulani) and Eyethu Lifestyle Centre (Mofolo) are the main venuesand the festival will be hosting hands-on workshops, film screenings, panel discussions, intimate conversations by writers and performing artists.

The lineup includes Angela Makholwa, Bheki Peterson, Bongani Madondo, Bontle Senne, Chika Unigwe, Dikeledi Deekay Sibanda, Duduzile Zamantungwa Mabaso, Don Mattera, Elinor Sisulu, Eusebius McKaiser, Florence Masebe, Fred Khumalo, Gcina Mhlope, HJ Golakai, James Murua, Khadija Patel, Khaya Dlanga, Khosi Xaba, Koleka Putuma, Lebo Mashile, Lesego Rampolokeng, Lidudumalingani Mqombothi, Malaika wa Azania, Mbali Matandela, Mongane Wally Serote, Natalia Molebatsi, Ndumiso Ngcobo, Niq Mhlongo, NoViolet Bulawayo, Nozizwe Jele, Pamela Maseko, Percy Mabandu, Phillippa Yaa De Villiers, Pumla Dineo Gqola, Redi Tlhabi, Rehana Rossouw, Sabata-mpho Mokae, Sandy Ndelu, Sihle Khumalo, Simamkele Dlakavu, Siphiwe Mpye, Siphiwo Mahala, Thabiso Mahlape, Thandiswa Mazwai, Thato Magano, Unathi Kondile, Unathi Magubeni, Vangi Gantsho, Xolisa Guzula, Yewande Omotoso, Zukiswa Wanner, and others 

“In this lineup we find depth and variety,” says the festival’s curator Panashe Chigumadzi, “Some of our authors have been telling stories for as long as others have been alive, while others have just begun but are bringing incredible innovations to the art. Together with our storytellers, we’ll be looking black to the future.” African Flavour Books, will have all your favourite African and diasporan titles on sale at the venues throughout the festival.The significance of this festival for the South African and African literary landscape cannot be overemphasized, particularly at a time when the Fallist movement has centralized decolonization in the South African discourse. The festival organizers see this initiative as part of the decolonization project. So too is the importance of holding it in Soweto -the country’s artistic and cultural melting pot- 40 years after June 16, 1976.

Bulbulia Threads In The Streets Of Johannesburg

I was first introduced to Bulbulia Threads on the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg runway this August and I instantly fell in love with the brand and the amazing work done by Tasleem Bulbulia who has been in the fashion industry for over 20 years (If you ask me she does not look a day over 20). From the fashion week I loved how her show was styled, from headwraps to jackets over evening dresses. It all looked too cool. I was so thrilled when Tasleem granted me a chance to style her collection my way and I must say that I had fun playing a model for the day.

The moment I laid eyes on this pink shirt dress I was sold. For a girl who doesn’t like pink I really had fun wearing it with the colourful and very springy jacket. #ShirtDresses are the in thing and for me what was interesting was how I was gonna style it. I didn’t wanna go with the typical scandal or sneaker so I went for a high heeled ankle boot. The dress is really comfortable and I think Ghandi Square as a location really brought the STREET to my street style.

It made sense for these denim pants to be styled with my favourite printed jacket to make the look pop . I loved how comfy the pants are and the detailed buttons are everything.

Seeing this coat at the Bulbulia Threads studio meant that I just had to have it even though I was not sure how to style it. Thobeka and I decided to go with all black and just let the coat and headwrap stand out. This look made me feel like I was in a movie playing some superhero.

I really love this skirt. It is my second favourite  and wearing it was loads of fun. It is full and it really turned heads in Ghandi Square. It looks like I just walked out of some movie set and I own an upmarket penthouse in Johannesburg. I had fun playing a model and now I truly believe that I can be an actress because of all the roles that I played in this shoot.

These pants are everything. Tight at the bottom but a little loose at the top allowing you to be comfortable while looking stylish.

Now this is my favourite look. I love how the yellow pops and goes so well with my skin tone. I could not wait to get into this show stopper of a dress. We styled it with Maasai beads and a shuka to make it more dramatic.

Photographer: George Lewis

Co-styling: Thobeka Mbane

 

Review: African Crest Guest House

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A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spent time at African Crest Guest House located in Three Rivers in Vereeniging in the Vaal triangle. My partner and I arrived on Friday night and we were served dinner that was specially prepared by African Crest Ronnie. African Crest Guest house has been around since 2011 and it has hosted a number of people ever since. Weddings, parties, cooperate year end parties and conferences have been held at African Crest Guest House. The second best thing is that should you have an event there, then you can hire catering equipment , as well as sound and visual equipment. The best thing is that the owner makes time for you and he is a great person to have any sort of conversation with.What I loved most about our stay there is that our food was prepared by the boss himself. He is hands on and he drove us around showing us the beautiful Three Rivers and even had a braai specially for us. The rooms have the amazing space, you could swear that we had the honeymoon suite.

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Every room has air conditioner, digital sage box, Plasma TV with some DStv channels, a mini fridge, microwave, electric kettle and a flat iron. The rooms have pretty much everything you need and you have access to the pool if you fancy swimming and skinny dipping ( this you have to do when noone can see you). You can play darts and pool and other interesting games if you like to unwind and chill while sipping on something cold. The guest house could do with News channels on their TVs but it is a great place to stay at.

Should you be in Three Rivers in the Vaal area then you definitely need to check yourself in at African Crest Guest House  . I promise you that you will not regret it.

 

Diva Designs By Brenda Quin Shown At Durban Fashion Fair

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Brenda Quin showcased for the first time at Durban Fashion Fair revealing a collection called ‘The Rhythm of Africa” which featured lots of colours while embracing the African Queen trend in headwraps and beads. Brenda travels through Africa a lot and that is where she drew her inspiration showcasing the vibrancy of Africa and the feel of locally produced fabrics. Having been designing for 18 years, Brenda has no interest in following international trends

Tuelo Nguyuza Collectiv Bridal Range Brings A Spin To Traditional Wedding Dresses

© Jerri Mokgofe Photography-3

Collectiv Culture

Taking inspiration from the multiple cultures in South Africa, TN Collectiv’s bridal range Collectiv Culture caters for the western woman looking for a modern twist on traditional wedding dresses. Instead of creating looks that already exist, Collectiv Culture has taken what is currently available for brides looking for traditional wedding dresses and reinventing them by using different techniques, finishes and embellishments in order to introduce a new class of traditional wedding dresses. Without completely westernising the dresses, the core aesthetic for each culture was kept without compromising the traditional look so that they can be clearly translated, while staying true to the fashion needs for the modern bride. Part one of the range drew inspiration from the Ndebele, Xhosa, Tsonga, Swati, Zulu and Setswana cultures. Besides having a past working experiences with the all of the women in the bridal campaign, they are beautiful, hardworking and successful women in their own right. Making them the perfect embodiment of the brand and the ideal models for the campaign.

I feel like the collection was specifically made for these ladies as I cannot imagine another person wearing the wedding gowns that they are wearing. Before I was drawn to the dresses, I was first drawn to these ladies and felt that they belong in those dresses and nowhere else. I love that these wedding dresses have evolved with time but there are still embracing our cultures. I think it is safe to say that Africans are moving away from “White Wedding” and I love that. We are beautiful and our cultures are too beautiful, it really warms my heart to see fashion designers like Tuelo Nguyuza showing the African bride that they don’t need to walk down in a white wedding gown in order to be considered beautiful.

Photos by According to Jerri

Accessories: by NtoZinhle Accesorise