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Activist and author Zulaikha Patel launched her first book, My Coily Crowny Hair, which aims to empower young girls to embrace their natural hair.

Zulaikha Patel Celebrates Black Hair With New Book 'My Coily Crowny Hair'

News of South African activist Zulaikha Patel releasing a new children's book titled 'My Coily Crowny Hair' had us leaping for joy.

Zulaikha Patel is releasing her debut book, a children's title aptly named My Coily Crowny Hair, which aims to encourage young Black girls to embrace their natural hair. The book's foreword is written by fellow South African and Coming 2 America actress Nomzamo Mbatha. The young South African activist was thrust into the media spotlight at age 13 for calling out outdated racist hair policies at Pretoria Girls High in 2016.

Read: Lupita Nyong'o Shares New Audio Book Adaptation for 'Sulwe'

My Coily Crowny Hair explores the diverse presentations of Black hair. Through this book, Patel wants little Black girls to remember and know that their hair matters — no matter what shape or form it comes in. The book, she says, was inspired by her own experience of having to fight for her identity and expression at her alma mater, Pretoria Girls High. Patel also reflected on how fighting for her right to wear her afro instantly thrust her into the activism space. "I wanted to ensure that no other Black child that comes after me should ever experience this severe form of intimidation," Patel explained during her Kaya FM on April 14, 2021.

The famous photograph of Patel defiantly standing up to her white headmaster immediately went viral on social media and landed her a mural in Johannesburg. Her bold stance became the image of #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh which caught the world's attention, including civil rights activist Angela Davis.

Efforts to suspend discriminatory hair policies in schools that insist on maintaining Western ideals are still ongoing. The policies admittedly rob Black girls of their confidence, self-esteem and overall identity. My Coily Crowny Hair launches on May 8, 2021.

Preorders are available at CNA.

Photo: La Fédération de la Haute Couture

Lukhanyo Mdingi on Making his Paris Fashion Week Debut

We talked to the South African designer who, after co-winning the LMVH Prize last year, showcased his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 collection in Paris earlier this month.

In 2015, South African designer Lukhanyo Mdingi founded his eponymous label. Inspired by his mother and grandmother who raised him, Mdingi has created a formidable brand that is centered on building a bridge between heritage and timeless fashion pieces. Since the brand’s inception, Mdingi has made great strides in fashion, from his NYFW debut in 2019 to being crowned a joint winner of the 2021 LVMH Karl Lagerfeld Prize.

This year, Mdingi took his vision of Africa to France’s fashion capital, Paris, where he made his Bodyland Autumn/Winter 22-23 debut for the Paris Fashion Week Menswear Collection. Being the first designer on the program schedule to present, Mdingi showcased a collection that spoke of the relationship he shares with himself and the artisans he collaborates with. For the past two years, Mdingi has been working to source his woven textiles and knitwear from crafts communities in Burkina Faso, Somalia, and the Eastern Cape, and the collection featured textural and sartorial nuances paying homage to his being a young Black creative.

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