THE BEAUTY GROUNDBREAKERS
MILISUTHANDO BONGELA, WRITER, BLOGGER, CREATIVE CONSULTANT TARYN GILL, FOUNDER OF THE PERFECT HAIR
Taryn Gill left a career in media to launch a range of locally made natural hair care for African hair, which is sold online and at its retail space The Potato Shed in Newtown, Johannesburg. Milisuthando is a member of The Feminist Stokvel, a group of women hosting events talking about social issues affecting South African women, as well as monthly hair soirees talking about natural hair. She is working on a documentary about hair as a tool for expression and repression of black identity in the new South Africa.
‘Hair is a very emotional thing, and for many South African women, how we feel about our hair is intrinsically linked to how we see ourselves in our community. For a woman, choosing to wear her hair naturally, taking that weave off, is a huge psychological statement, and there is much freedom in that. I’ve tried to build a business and brand that touches that part of South African women, one that celebrates the power that comes from treating yourself kindly. We employ black women, source local ingredients and package and manufacture the products here, too.’ Theperfecthair.co.za @theperfecthairtaryn
‘It’s about time that women lead. Decolonisation – whereby everybody becomes free – is very much about the feminist agenda, and it is not a one-dimensional struggle. I’ve come to know that I walk around in an oppressed body and that as women, especially black women, we all have social scars to heal on top of our personal ones. I’m currently working on the second-last stage of my documentary about the history, evolution and politics of African hair. I hope this will take the conversation about the realities of the relationship that women have with their hair to a greater audience.’ @missmillib