By Buhle Andisiwe Made
The Hairitage 2023 exhibition was held at the Black Power Station on 27 & 28 October. The production collaborated with Organic Live for a nightlife experience and was sponsored by the up-and-coming Lewatle Magazine.
The event welcomed the audience to express themselves through their hair, and the attendees successfully complied. Guests had many distinctive hairstyles – some had flowers in their hair, and others elevated their hair looks by incorporating beads into their hairstyles.
It embodies embrace – embracing our journey with our hair and the meaning of the coils, curls and protective styles to each individual. Chiskop. Fade or afro hair can have a range of significance and can extend to having an influence on one’s style and demeanour. Hairitage encourages a safe space for attendees to showcase their hair.
One attendee, Njabulo Dlamini, mentioned she had been drawn in by the visual aspect of the exhibition, where artist Lithemba Nziweni had to put together a video representation of effusive over hair. Captured by the photography, Njabulo enjoyed the ‘feels’ of her second Hairitage exhibition and is delighted by the experience, saying, “Lithemba has amped up his game”. Njabulo shares that her hair journey hasn’t been so linear either due to conflicts, beliefs and standards of her past schooling experience. With long and hale dreadlocks, she mentions that she almost had to cut them all off because her Afrikaans school preferred hair in a specific way.
Zintle Nojoko, a first-time attendee of Hairitage, is ecstatic as she finally got to experience the exhibition – “To be here tonight is like a dream come true because I’ve always admired his work”, she exclaims. Zintle adds that the documentary was her highlight of the show, how the artist, Nziweni, dove deep into the concept of the exhibition and its representation of diversity, mentioning, “I feel like he’s got a lot to out into the world.”. On her journey, Zintle said that her ethnic grouping was often questioned due to the texture of her 3C hair, which is textured and curly, and being a part of the experiences and stories brought up during the exhibition made her appreciate her curls more “My hair is my power.”
Speaking to Grocott’s Mail, Tumelo’ Tumi’ Msutu, a Rhodes University student and Head of Operations (HOO) for Organic Live, talks about how the collaboration between Hairitage and Organic Live came about – through a conversation between two friends. After proposing the idea of an exhibition with a nightlife experience, the events company found it advantageous as the experience aligns with Organic Live’s brand.
The events company has taken some time off and has been planning for the future. The collaboration over the past weekend was a preliminary event of what’s in store for Makhanda folks.
“We have been working this year to create something big; 2024, something big is coming,” said Msutu, elaborating that their team want a relaunch that will be on the identical spectra as previous events in terms of attendance, creativity and performance.