I was around six or seven years old and watching TV with my mom when the Felicia Mabuza-Suttle show came on. I remember wondering who her guest was going to be when a woman with the most beautiful hair that I’d ever seen walked on to the set.
Her hair was smoothed back into a big bun that was beautifully accessorised and she was talking about what she does to take care of her hair.
Seeing successful black women rocking different hairdos that I’d never seen before planted the love of hair into my soul. At that young age, I started to see that I – a young girl from Soweto – could be like Mabuza-Suttle and her guest, and that experience shaped my path today.
I started learning how to braid and style hair from the age of 12 under the guidance of my cousin and when I got to university, I decided that I wanted to create a YouTube show for black women called Buhle Talks Hair. The show will focus on how to take care of our hair while also providing a stage for women to engage in dialogue on serious issues such as the politics of identity and the importance of representation.
I have since started a small business – Braids by Buhle – where I braid and style people’s hair as well as make and sell different wigs. I am saving money from my braiding business so that I can fund and start my hair show.
The more I work with hair, the more I realise how much power it actually holds. I firmly believe that my work on this Earth is to empower women, and hair is the channel I’ve chosen to do so. – Buhle Zulu (24), as told to Mashadi Kekana