From Miss South Africa 2019 to Miss Universe 2019, after the crowning of Zozibini Tunzi, a number of black women were beyond excited because something was definitely different in regards to the beauty standards. She is a gorgeous dark-skinned woman with natural short hair. How amazing! Her crowning resulted in the topic of black hair headlining a number of blogs, magazines and so forth. People were trying to wrap their minds around the idea behind natural hair and how we’ve come a long way as black people… Black females. This is simply because for as long as we could recall, a black woman was never included when it came to the creation of global beauty standards. This led to some serious researching on the history of black women’s hair.
During the 15thcentury, hair and hairstyles displayed a kind of social hierarchy. Therefore, if one had long, thick, clean, ‘neat’ hair, you would be identified as a prominent figure in society. If your hair were less managed, then you’d be seen to be from the lower class. However, it was important to understand that if one were experiencing grief their hair etiquette was not considered. During the 16ththrough to the 20thcentury, millions of Africans were shipped across to the Americas and other parts of the world to be sold as slaves. They were abused, disregarded and dehumanized. However, they held onto their uniqueness. Even though they were in a completely different environment, they moved with their customs, heritage, and identity.
Let’s start off with the Afro. Afro, which is also called natural hair, has been around for years because initially when a black person’s hair grows it comes out in its natural form. Afro was seen as a political symbol that represents power, strength, and dignity. However, there has always been a large misconception when it comes to natural hair. It was seen as dirty, nappy and incapable of growing past a certain length. So, during the slave period, the oppressors and slave owners would shave their head bald to humiliate and demoralize the oppressed. Many black females were told that “nappy” hair isn’t beautiful which then led to straightening using hot curl irons and chemical treatments. This then introduced the “Jheri Curl” in the 1980s. Then weaves came to be in the 1990s.
Cornrows have been popular for many years; this hairstyle is introduced at an early stage of a black child’s life; as a toddler. This is a definite trait of black culture. During the Atlantic Slave Trade, slaves were usually forced to shave their hair because it was seen as untidy and dirty. However, a few managed to get away with not shaving their hair off by braiding their hair tightly so that it appears ‘clean and tidy’. However, they took advantage of their craft and used cornrows to transfer and create maps that they could use to escape the plantations towards their freedom. Are you are asking yourself “why didn’t they use a pen and paper? But because black women and men were slaves, they weren’t given the privilege of writing materials.
Dreadlocks, represented rebellion, power and pride. However, they were highly misunderstood. They were also seen as dirty and untamable, (they were seen as worse off compared to Afro). The Himba tribe in Nambia had a lot of meaning attached to dreadlocks e.g. a young girl would hang a dreadlock over her face when going into puberty and young women ready for marriage would tie their deadlocks to expose their face.
Braids, have been in style for years! So no, the Kardashian’s didn’t start the trend. Braids date back to 3500 BC. This hairstyle started in Africa by the Himba tribe in Namibia. Braiding was seen as more than a hairstyle, it was art, a way of expressing yourself. Women would plait 5 big braids and let them hang or they would loop them on the side if their head. The younger females would add silver coins onto their braid just to add that extra spark (aesthetically pleasing).
I think in the corporate world we can never really stop speaking about the fact that South Africa’s boardrooms are dominated by men. The conversation for me personally can never be old or stale until something is done about it. The conversation I feel we need to move away from is the conversation that always involves ‘’empowering women’’ for being in a male dominated industry? It is almost saying they do not deserve to be there, or they should be praised because they are there because they are women.
Research conducted states, 29%, of senior roles in South Africa are now filled by women while 20% still have no women at all in senior positions. Research has also found that women in senior management teams has been rising slowly but steadily from 26% in 2014. There are still too many businesses without a single woman in their senior management team, however, and this needs to be addressed as an ongoing matter until it has reached a level of satisfaction for both business and women.
Globally research has found that the percentage of businesses with no women in senior management has dropped from 34% in 2017 to 25% in 2018. The proportion of senior roles held by women, however, has marginally fallen from 25% to 24% over the same timeframe.
The percentage of black women in senior management position is significantly lower especially in South Africa. It doesn’t really surprise me that this is still an issue in our country, if we are still currently going through gender-based violence matters which are still not resolved, it really goes to show women in general are not respected never mind in the working environment. I honestly feel we still have a long way to go.
Do we still view it as empowering if you see a female executive in a boardroom full of men? Or are we able to shift from the term ‘empowering’ and move towards the term ‘acknowledgment’? if we look at the definitions of both words. Empowerment means ‘authority or power given to someone to do something’ and Acknowledgement means ‘acceptance of the truth or existence of something’. For me what’s important to note here is that acknowledgment for women is in executive positions is where we want to be positioned. The definitions are these words really do tell us lot.
I have worked in companies whereby the MD or CEO was female, and I don’t want to exactly say that walking into a boarding was still shocking for some people but when the MD/CEO spoke it did shake the boardroom a bit. The reaction was almost of the notion of ‘oh wow I didn’t expect that from you’. In 2020 for me this is the kind of paradigm we need to change of shift. Let us set the tone for corporate SA for women.
Last week saw two major international brands launch collaborations with South African talent and if there was still doubt, these developments make it clear that Africa is firmly part of global beauty and fashion.
A few years ago, major brands overlooked the African continent but now most brands are looking for new territories to grow in to and what better place than a continent with some of the fastest growing economies in the world and a youthful population. For perspective, the average age in South Africa with a population of 55million is 27 years and the average age in Germany, Europe’s biggest economy with 82million people, is 47 years. So clearly the buying power of the future is in Africa.
Sometimes though, brands get their collaborations and partnerships wrong. In a time where consumers are more powerful and have more options, brands can’t afford to make mistakes. In Feb 2020, MAC Cosmetics launched two makeup kits curated and in collaboration with Pearl Thusi.
Here are some of the reasons we love the Pearl Thusi X MAC cosmetics collaboration:
- We believe that Pearl has been using MAC for more than 10 years, as she said during her launch. In recent years we have seen her social media posts that clearly show she uses MAC. We believe that even as a model starting out, she would spend on a better quality, albeit more expensive makeup brand to give her a better shot at auditions. The age of brands partnering with celebrities just because they are big is gone, it needs to be believable to make an impact on that brands equity, bottom line and profitability.
- There are many things we can say about Pearl Thusi, and one of those is that she is authentic, she shows herself as she really is, she doesn’t sanitise her image on the streets of social media. When she is hurt and offended she shows us, when she is happy, excited or in love, she shows it. Her excitement at partnering with MAC, a brand she has been using for as long as she has been an adult, smacks of authenticity. We love and thrive for authenticity, it is the easiest way to be. Everybody talks about authenticity but don’t walk the talk.
- Pearl is clearly hardworking, as many of the women we love in the entertainment and media space in South Africa are hardworking. We loved what she said during her launch, that she doesn’t want her daughter to wish her mom was Beyoncé. Her daughter must be inspired by her mom, Pearl Thusi, showing her that the world is her oyster and she can do and be whatever she wants.
- Taking up space. Pearl is clearly using all opportunities available to her to chase her dreams, she is #BossingUp (and to be an amazing role model to her daughters). We at Girl Boss SA are definitely inspired by her to dream bigger and to chase harder. As she said in one post, echoing Zozi Tunzi, – take up all the spaces you want and can. Pearl has her own natural hair care range, she is the first African collabo with MAC and is the first actor to lead a Netflix original show in Africa with the release of her new series on Netlflix, Queen Sono, on Friday 28 February 2020.
On the David Tlale X Avon collabo, we are happy for him and we understand why Avon would choose to partner with David, he is an experienced internationally acclaimed fashion designer. We understand that an international brand like Avon would want to partner with a designer of his stature.
If you hadn’t seen the announcement, David Tlale is partnering with Avon and he has designed accessories such as handbags, sunglasses and scarfs that will be sold via Avon. Avon is a network marketing brand that makes it easy for the every day woman to make money by selling their products to other women. The products and designs by David Tlale are gorgeous, we can’t wait to get our hands on them.
BUT we do wish that the partnership was with a female fashion designer. Avon is a female driven brand. The majority of people that sell Avon products are women and the majority of the Avon offering is for women. As a brand that should understand the nuances of gender inequality, especially in this country and continent, we would have expected them to partner with a female designer. This is not to take away anything from David Tlale but our reality necessitates that gender equality should always be top of mind. This is why it matters:
- By choosing David Tlale they are saying they can bet on women only to a certain extent. Too many industries that target women, and where women are the main drivers as consumers and decision makers, actually benefit men, from retail, fashion, beauty and food. When we talk of renowned chefs, fashion designers, makeup artists, hairstylists, the majority are men. Brands and society must start walking the talk of gender equality.
- To enable women to assist in unlocking the economic potential of the continent, women need to see other women doing what has previously been unreachable for women. Women need to become manufacturers and creators not just seeking employment and being consumers. This lack of balance is making it difficult for our economy to grow the way it needs to.
We can’t say it enough, representation matters, it is actually imperative for creating an inclusive, progressive and peaceful world.
Baby girl are you saving right? Are you able to travel every once in a while? Are you able to enjoy December with no stress? Are you able to send your family that large sum of cash when they ask for your financial assistance? If you were financially comfortable in 2019, big ups to you and keep up the good work. However, if 2019 wasn’t your best year when it came to saving, it’s okay, we are in a new year and a new decade. There are plenty of opportunities and ways to get it right. But this obviously means that it’s time to try something different. Here are a few tips on how to save and stay out of debt. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and saving is not a common strength among people, especially when we are in our youth and prime and constantly in a state of desire to live our best lives. But, nothing great comes without compromising, and this is rather a great challenge towards obtaining financial freedom, breaking a few negatives in our lives. So, let’s do this together!
It is imperative that we get rid of old debt and stay away from creating new ones. So inevitably, it would be required of you to plan on how you’ll be settling that clothing account, fees account, cellphone bill, furniture account etc. The unfortunate thing about these accounts is the interest, that is forever mounting up, making it seem almost impossible to settle. Some companies charge an interest fee of up to 20.50%, imagine how crazy that sounds, but this is the reality that some people are currently facing. So, depending on your salary you can start slow by paying as little as R100, every small amount makes a difference, however, if you have a great salary, make it your mission to pay off as much as you can e.g. R500 or R1000. No amount of debt, no matter how little it may be, will result in a stress-free life. By settling your debt, at least you will be able to concentrate on more important things.
How you can save
- Get your coins sis!!! Yes, literally, save every single coin you have in your wallet or lying around. All those R1s, R2s and R5s can make the greatest difference. A suggestion is purchasing a large jar or an empty 2l Cold drink bottle and cut out a slot. You’ll slowly start depositing that into the jar. Do that the whole year. But be disciplined enough never to take out from that jar, no matter the circumstance.
- You can also save by doing the ‘52-Week Challenge’. Yes, we are approaching February already; however, you can cover up for January by adding an extra R100. You’ll see the table below which gives you a breakdown on how it’s done. By the end of the year, it you are consistent’ you could’ve saved up to R13 880, that sounds like a trip to Zanzibar.
- Another way of saving is to come up with a set plan. Say for example, you can set a certain amount for every month and commit to putting that money into a savings or a 32-Day Notice account – depending on which bank you bank with. This will require discipline for that day when you don’t have money or when you are craving Mc Donald’s, girl don’t do it, please don’t hurt yourself, the reward is far greater. Slipping up may result in the worst ripple effect. Rather opt for the 32-day notice account, this type of account is basically a ‘safe’ and if you need to take out ‘emergency cash’ you will need to pay a penalty.
Cut down on unnecessary groceries and expenses e.g. buying tons and tons of snacks and going out often can be very expensive. Junk food and eating out should only be bought when one has extra cash that has been budgeted for. It will be wise to concentrate on necessities. The small changes will make a huge difference in the long run.