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Zozibini Tunzi

Zozibini Tunzi Slams Popular Beauty Store Over Racist Hair Advert

South Africa's Miss Universe criticised beauty store Clicks' following a controversial advert that labelled Black natural hair as 'damaged'.

Zozibini Tunzi has slammed popular South African health and beauty store, Clicks, for their controversial hair adverts. On Sunday morning Clicks started trending on Twitter for images of the store's online hair campaign. Images of natural Black hair were labelled "damaged" and "dry" while caucasian blonde hair had the descriptor of "natural fine hair". Tunzi, who won Miss Universe in 2019 with her natural short hair, described the hair adverts as "disrespectful to Black lives" in a Tweet to Clicks.


The politics of Black hair in South Africa have left a crimson stain on the nation. Twenty-five years after Apartheid ended, politics that police Black hair are still prevalent. In 2017, Pretoria Girls High students protested hair policies that barred natural Black hair in all forms and styles including combed-out Afros and dreadlocks. #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh fired up social media platforms and ultimately got picked up by international publications. The national Department of Education had to eventually intervene and a;though it supported the protesting learners, it did not recommend an amendment to the private school's racist hair policies. Zulaikha Patel, then a grade-eight learner, became the face of the natural hair protest movement. Patel's feisty nature and big afro captured civil activist Angela Davis who later invited her as a guest at UNISA's 17th annual Steve Biko Lecture. The 73-year-old Davis and 13-year-old Patel stood side by side sporting their big natural Afros.

Racist perceptions of Black hair abound beyond South Africa. Malawi earlier in the year lifted a government ban on dreadlocks in schools following the rejection of a female Rastafarian student into an all girls' school. In the African diaspora, the Black hair battles are the same. Marianela Pinales who served as Dominican Ministry of Education Director was dismissed from her position after the release of a government campaign that encouraged Black girls to wear their natural hair. Pinales signed off on the campaign titled No Bad Hair, No Good Hair but the message was not supported by the multi-ethnic Latina government. The Dominican government went on to deny that Pinales' dismissal was linked to the campaign even though it had come mere hours after it aired.

Clicks has issued a public apology and removed the images from their website but a majority of Black South Africans have decided to boycott the store. Political party, EFF, endorsed the boycott and further instigated nationwide riots at Clicks stores under #ClicksMustFall.


Some South Africans expressed confusion

Others expressed defiance and supported the boycotting of Clicks stores.

Some shared pics of their natural hair in defiance.




Photo courtesy of Kunjina

Spotlight: Ethiopian Brand Kunjina Is On a Fashion Metamorphosis

Founder and creative director Kunjina Tesfaye speaks on her namesake brand, and how her personal evolution manifests through the unique garments.

In our 'Spotlight' series, we highlight the work of photographers, visual artists, multimedia artists, and more who are producing vibrant, original work.

In our latest piece, we spotlight Ethiopian fashion brand, Kunjina. The Addis Ababa based label focuses on ready-to-wear fashion and empowering woman through their garments and designs. Creator Kunjina Tesfaye established the brand in 2017 in her home country Ethiopia, and has since shared her distinctive designs with the world. Each garment acts as a physical embodiment of Kunjina's life experiences, and the stages we all go through to become closer to ourselves. "When the work comes from a personal place, it portrays a true feeling therefore the output becomes Authentic", the young designer says on the website. Each garment is carefully and intentionally created, as the company prides themselves on their choice to reduce unnecessary waste -- often times what happens with brands focused on trends.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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