Got water?

The Southern African region is reportedly suffering one of the worst droughts in recent years. In light of this ongoing drought, the City Of Johannesburg (CoJ) announced further measures following level two water restrictions have been in place since November last year. These new measures include fines of up to R1500 for the misuse of water by using sprinklers, hose pipes to wash cars and the use of municipal water to fill up swimming pools.


Medical aid dispute remains unresolved

Wits University management has until October 1 to accede to the demand by the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) to remove what the union says is an “offensive” clause in the conditions of employment.


Good hair, no Becky

The group of black high school girls in Pretoria who came together to protest their school’s code of conduct that instructs them to chemically straighten their hair have lifted the lid on the far-reaching effects of institutionalised racism that persists within our schools and  within our curricula.

I can never say I understand how black women feel about their hair, I do not live that reality. I can only speak from what I’ve observed. When I was in high school, black boys were always told to keep their hair to a certain length or to shave it off completely. These “styles” were deemed “neater”.

After the Pretoria High School for Girls protest, I realise that another aspect of the narrative of institutionalised racism is the stifling of black expression in its natural, untainted form. The system in which black people exist aims to rob us of a self-actualised identity. The continual oppression of black people comes from many areas: economic disenfranchisement, cultural appropriation and erased histories.

Since the world functions on the disillusioned system that “white is right, black is whack”, we’re forced to make our black bodies less black, to conform aesthetically to whiteness. This is why natural hair is considered “dirty” and “unruly”. This is why young black girls are expected to straighten their hair – straight hair is less of a threat to whiteness.

Black people are also not entirely innocent in this whole system. We, within our own communities, attach this unfounded importance to hair that ultimately is seen as definitive of a human being. In our own black homes, we are told to cut our hair and, like how my aunt once told my female dreadlocked cousin, that “you would look better if you relaxed your hair”. Black people have been programmed by the white standards of colonialism and beauty to an extent that we unknowingly perpetuate those standards in our own homes. We have also been part of this problem, by not calling out a system that keeps telling us to hate ourselves and all the facets of our blackness.

One thing is for sure, hair is important in black culture. Early African civilisations used hair to show a person’s family background, tribe and social status. In the American civil rights movement, hair was used as symbol of rebellion and resistance. Some groups believed that hair was a conduit for spiritual interaction with God. Throughout history, black hair has evolved and morphed to be a representation of many things and even in 2016, it remains a topic of discussion for being one of the sure-fire ways blackness can be expressed.

But remember this, whatever style you choose, you are not your hair.


Cool kid on campus

TITILOPE ADESANYA is a content producer of Afrodisiac, a weekly show on campus radio station VoWFM.

NAIJA COOL: Titilope Adesanya outside VoWFm. The 23 year old enjoys going to events and hopes to one day be paid for reviewing events. PHOTO: Zanta Nkumane

NAIJA COOL: Titilope Adesanya outside VoWFm. The 23 year old enjoys going to events and hopes to one day be paid for reviewing events.                                                    PHOTO: Zanta Nkumane

Twenty three year old Adesanya, originally from Nigeria, arrived in Johannesburg in 2013 for her first year at college.
Her name means eternal gratitude in Yoruba, one of the languages spoken in Nigeria, yet she coyly admits, “I can barely speak Yoruba”. Her show which focuses on African entertainment is clearly close to her heart. “I love the show, we focus on African entertainment outside of South Africa as it’s covered by other shows,” she said.
She’s been at VowFM for the last year. “I started out in the marketing team and moved over to producing content and news reporting this year. It’s been fun” she said.
Adesanya is also a volunteer for an organisation known as Starting Now, whose mandate is to make an impact within communities in which the volunteers live. The organisation is active in 3 countries: Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa.
“We organise an annual camping trip for the children at Christ Christian Church Care Centre (the 5Cs),” she reveals as she gently tucks her maroon braids behind her ear, “We take them to Harties [Hartebeesport Dam], for three days in December”.
She is currently doing groundwork for a project that will see her partnering with Black & Gold, a Nigerian fashion house. The partnership will hopefully result in the first ever “South African Students Fashion Week”.