My name is Bontle Nxumalo. I was born in Botswana, but I’ve been living in Gauteng for most of my life and I’m currently completing my Matric year. As much as I enjoy binge-watching a good coming of age series, learning how to speak new languages though apps, or being on Astro Turf with a hooked bundle of fiberglass commonly known as a hockey stick, I have always had a passion for beauty.
After my first big chop in 2014, I realised that this natural hair thing wouldn’t come easy. Taking care of my hair is a lot of work, but 9/10 times the 4 hours of finger detangling and freezing at the wrath of a spray bottle is worth it the next morning. And most of the time, still so a week later. Every year since grade 9, without fail, my hair has been my English speech topic. It has, and continues to play a monumental role it plays in my life; it is one I’m quite well versed on (if I do say so myself) and although I understand I am not obligated to inform people on the importance of the natural hair movement, it` is one that is close to my heart so it tends to come up often.
Outside of my love for hair, I have always been fascinated by makeup and it is the only career path choice that’s remained consistent over the years. Together with my interest in science, my ultimate goal is to become a cosmetic chemist! (essentially, the scientist who makes makeup
1. How do you feel about going back to school?
We are still in the midst of a global pandemic and the number of confirmed cases is continuing to grow so I am very anxious for everyone’s health and safety. I wish it wasn’t so soon. However, I do understand that there is a lot of content we need to cover, nevermind exam preparation considering the fact that one of the three sets of exams matrics would normally go through won’t take place. I do appreciate getting back into the traditional school set up with a teacher standing in front of a board and classmates beside me.
2. What have you been doing during the lockdown?
Rediscovered a video game called Dance Central on YouTube which I think I can safely say was enough of a workout to replace this year’s hockey season. There’s also 80s dance aerobics video I’ve been obsessed with since the beginning of the year and I finally had time to learn it. 50+ consecutive movie nights had fun with make-up and hopped on the bandwagon by taking the mirror outside for pictures. Yes, my mother knows!
3. The good and the bad of being home…
I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss the structure school gave to my life. Having a detailed schedule of your Monday to Saturday handed to you was a lot easier not only because we could hold each other accountable for projects and practical’s, but it also provisioned quality time doing the last rounds of our winter sports derby days, musicals, inside jokes with our main combos among many other things. Now that we home 24/7, we’ve had to take on a tad bit more responsibility than most of our predecessors and realised how much we enjoy each other’s company and that we cannot take any more of it for granted. I hope for my peers to choose to see that this unexpected turn of events as a lesson on the uncertainty real life will present us with, we won’t always have control and that sometimes all we can do is our best.
That being said guilt free sleeping will be missed dearly. I’m lucky enough to go to a school signed onto an online platform that allows lessons to be recorded. If there is one aspect of regular school conditions I can simulate, it is doing school work during the graveyard shift.
4. Do you think you’ll get the marks that you desire?
I’m very tempted to say no because I know that onlookers from the outside might agree that these are difficult conditions, but I think they have the average South African matric learner in mind and I know I do not represent that. I am well aware of my privilege as a pupil of an affluent school in a suburb with a safe home environment. I’m not necessarily a top achiever academically, but I decide I want to work towards them, I could achieve them.
5. Plans for next year?
The plan is to start working towards a degree in Chemical Engineering and/or Psychology at a local university.