Afropreneurs: Mozambique's Celmira Amade Celebrates the Natural Beauty of Melanin-Rich Skin with TSAKA

TSAKA is the first in the U.K. to exclusively use Olacaceae extract—derived from a flower found only in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Madagascar.

If there’s one thing England is famous for, it's the country’s cool, rainy weather. Mozambican entrepreneur Celmira Amade discovered that the hard way when she moved to London to study international business.

“I was born and raised in Mozambique, where it was summer year-round. Winter for us is 22 degrees Celsius—a summer day in the U.K.,” she says. “When I moved, I started getting dry skin and blemishes. No skincare products worked. The only thing I could do to manage the changes was wear makeup because that was all that was available in mainstream stores.”

Frustrated at these temporary solutions, Amade began using her grandmother’s Mozambican skincare recipes handed down through generations of her family. After studying entrepreneurship at Cambridge’s Judge Business School, Amade began to consider turning her pet project into a full-fledged venture. Today, she is taking her family’s beauty secrets to the masses through new vegan skincare line—TSAKA. Meaning happiness in Mozambique’s Ronga dialect, TSAKA celebrates the natural beauty of melanin-rich skin.

Photo courtesy of TSAKA.

“There has been very little change in the mainstream beauty market to address the needs of people with melanin-rich skin. While there has been some evolution in availability of makeup and hair care, skincare continues to lag behind,” Amade says.

TSAKA plans to fill that gap by developing an internationally-recognized inclusive beauty brand. In recent years, African beauty ingredients like shea butter and marula oil have gotten their fair share of hype. TSAKA hopes to add a new addition to that mix: Olacaceae extract. The flowering plants are only found in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, and have anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight hyper pigmentation. In TSAKA’s signature face mask, the natural ingredient not only detoxifies the skin, but also minimizes blemishes. Launched in 2016, the beauty line is the first in the U.K. to exclusively use Olacaceae extract.

“I wanted to do something that created a community, and helped improve people’s self-image without changing it,” Amade says. “You don’t need makeup to look beautiful. There are simple ways you can enhance your natural beauty.”

Celmira Amade. Photo courtesy of TSAKA.

From ingredients to application, simplicity is at the core of TSAKA’s ethos. To use the face mask, Amade recommends sprinkling some of the powder with a teaspoon of water before applying to the face for half-an hour. With a preservative-free formula, the mask can be a component of any beauty routine.

The formulation isn’t the only African feature—the brand’s gorgeous, colorful packaging also celebrates its roots through symbols and colors on its ankara-inspired lids. Yellow and brown symbolize the wealth of TSAKA’s active, natural ingredients, and purple highlights the premium nature of its products. Infinity symbols signify unlimited potential while four hearts represent a love of Mother Nature.

For now Amade is concentrating on building buzz about the face mask, but don’t rule out additional TSAKA products in the near future. “We may launch a face serum sometime soon as a next step in our skin care regime. Our face mask deep cleans and detoxifies the skin, but the serum will help restore moisture and leave you glowing.”

You can find TSAKA's products on their website here.

Image supplied.

Interview: How Stogie T’s ‘Freestyle Friday’ Became a TV Show

Freestyle Friday started as lockdown content but is now a fully-fledged TV show on Channel O. In this interview, Stogie T breaks down why the show is revolutionary and talks about venturing into media.

When South Africa was put under a hard lockdown in 2020, Stogie T started Freestyle Friday to "make SA rap again." Freestyle Friday, hosted on Instagram, saw a different cohort of rappers each rap over the same beat picked by the veteran rapper. From niche and emerging rappers to some of the most notable names in South African hip-hop—the likes of AKA, Focalistic, Ginger Trill and several others all participated.

In the last few weeks, however, Freestyle Friday has found its way to cable TV. The show airs every Friday on Channel O, one of the continent's longest-running music TV channels. Freestyle Friday as a TV programme isn't just about freestyles, it's about the art of rapping and the music business, particularly SA hip-hop. Guests range from lyricists to record executives and other personalities aligned with the scene—Ninel Musson and Ms Cosmo for instance.

But Freestyle Friday is only the first media product Stogie T is working on as he is in the process of starting a podcast network, a venture in which he is collaborating with Culture Capital. In the Q&A below, Stogie T breaks down the relationship with Culture Capital, how the show moved from the internet to TV, why it's a revolutionary idea, touches on his venture into media and his future plans.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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