News Brief

Fees Must Fall Activist Nompendulo Mkhatshwa is Set to Have a Seat in Parliament

Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, the prominent Fees Must Fall activist, is set to sit in parliament with the ruling party ANC.

Nompendulo Mkhatshwa is the former president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the University of the Witwatersrand where the Fees Must Fall movement was born. She has been shortlisted onto the ruling African National Congress (ANC) top 50 national list of individuals to head to parliament after the party's vetting process is complete.


In 2015, after the government announced that there would be an 8% increase in tuition fees at universities across South Africa, student leaders gave birth to a movement that would make South African history. The SRC at the University of the Witwatersrand was then headed by Mcebo Dlamini, who is now currently running for presidency of the ANC Youth League. Dlamini was stripped of his position as SRC president following several disciplinary hearings and thus Shaeera Kalla stepped in to lead the SRC. She then handed the baton over to Mkhatshwa.

READ: #FeesMustFall Reading List: 9 Important Reads on South Africa's Student Protests

Thousands of students from all over South Africa went on to shutdown their universities in an effort to have their demands met and to highlight how financial exclusion was turning universities into elitist spaces that sought to prevent capable but poor black students from obtaining access to them. After brutal clashes with police and the heavy militarization of university campuses, thousands of students marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to speak with then president Jacob Zuma. On that day, the government announced that there would be no fee increases for the following year.

Students went on to fight for free education in 2016, although this is still an ongoing battle.

READ: Black Child, You're On Your Own: The Plight of Black Students in Democratic South Africa

According to the SowetanLIVE, Mkhatshwa may be on her way to joining the ANC in parliament after the 2019 elections which are taking place in April. However, this will only be confirmed after a thorough background check has been done to ensure that she is in line with the party's image and values.



Photo: Sean Thomas.

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Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Image courtesy of Jay Trigga.

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For 21-year-old Zambian hip-hop artist Jack Lumbeta Kafukwilwa also known as Jay Trigga, the need to showcase Africa to the world through music has been his greatest motivation. "I would define my sound as afro-fusion as it is a mix. I am quite versatile so finding a word to define my sound is tricky because I do trap music as well. In clear terms, my sound is chill, youthful and futuristic," Jay Trigga tells me over our virtual conversation from China where he is currently studying a masters degree in business management.

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Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

Freddie Harrel Is Building Conscious Beauty For and With the African Diaspora

Formerly known as "Big Hair Don't Care", creator Freddie Harrel and her team have released 3 new wig shapes called the "RadShapes" available now.


Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


The normalising of Black and brown women in wigs of various styles has certainly been welcomed by the community, as it has opened up so many creative avenues for Black women to take on leadership roles and make room for themselves in the industry.

Radswan (formerly known as Big Hair Don't Care), is a lifestyle brand "bringing a new perspective on Blackness through hair, by disrupting the synthetic market with innovative and sustainable products." Through their rebrand, Radswan aims to, "upscale the direct-to-consumer experience holistically, by having connected conversations around culture and identity, in order to remove the roots of stigma."

The latest from French-Cameroonian founder and creator Freddie Harrel - who was featured on our list of 100 women of 2020 - has built her career in digital marketing and reputation as an outspoken advocate for women's empowerment. On top of her business ventures, the 2018 'Cosmopolitan Influencer of the Year' uses her platform to advocate for women's empowerment with 'SHE Unleashed,' a workshop series where women of all ages come together to discuss the issues that impact the female experience, including the feeling of otherness, identity politics, unconscious bias, racism and sexism.

And hair is clearly one of her many passions, as Freddie says, "Hair embodies my freest and earliest form of self expression, and as a shapeshifter, I'm never done. I get to forever reintroduce my various angles, tell all my stories to this world that often feels constrained and biased."

Armed with a committee of Black women, Freddie has cultivated Radswan and the aesthetic that comes with the synthetic but luxurious wigs. The wigs are designed to look like as though the hair is growing out of her own head, with matching lace that compliments your own skin colour.

By being the first brand to use recycled fibres, Radswan is truly here to change the game. The team has somehow figured out how to make their products look and feel like the real thing, while using 0% human hair and not negotiating on the price, quality or persona.

In 2019, the company secured £1.5m of investment led by BBG Ventures with Female Founders Fund and Pritzker Private Capital participating, along with angelic contributions from Hannah Bronfman, Nashilu Mouen Makoua, and Sonja Perkins.

On the importance of representation and telling Black stories through the products we create, Freddie says, "Hair to me is Sundays kneeling between your mothers or aunties legs, it's your cousin or newly made friend combing lovingly through your hair, whilst you detangle your life out loud. Our constant shapeshifting teaches us to see ourselves in each other, the hands braiding always intimately touching our head more often than not laying someone's lap."

"Big Hair No Care took off in ways we couldn't keep up with," she continues, "RadSwan is our comeback.It's a lifestyle brand, it's the hair game getting an upgrade, becoming fairer and cleaner. It's the platform that recognises and celebrates your identity as a shapeshifter, your individuality and your right to be black like you."


Check out your next hairstyle from Radswan here.

Radswan's RadShape 01Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 02Photo: Courtesy of Radswan


Radswan's RadShape 03Photo: Courtesy of Radswan

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