Female collaborations unite women to highlight strength in unity. "Full Circle" is a collaborative visual hair story by Mamello Mokhele, an emerging make-up artist and hair stylist Bonolo Gabuza who worked with a talented team. The story is about the pendulum swing of African hairstyles from natural, to Western-influenced styles, back to natural. The title "Full Circle" speaks to the theme of coming back to the origins of everything, where everything from space and colour will go back to its most original state.
"I have been an advocate of women wearing their natural hair with pride without feeling the pressures of societal beauty standards. I wanted to create a modernised look of natural African hairstyles by bringing back the old techniques such as wool-woven hair as well as afro-textured hair plaited into braids, and twisted dreadlocks." - Bonolo Gabuza.
Black hair has always been a contentious and political subject with symbolism often much deeper to a subject than the object's external perception. And natural hair in particular has had revolutionary connotations and associations; thus this visual story functions as a rebellion against societal beauty norms. This visual story recognizes that as much as there is a resurgence of natural hairstyles, there is still the challenge of natural hair having negative perceptions in Western societies and so there is a continual need to celebrate and create visibility around natural hair.
On the makeup artistry Mamello says, "I was inspired to use a primary colour when creating the makeup looks, carrying through the idea of authenticity and the original state of things. Black beauty stories are still not visible enough in the media. I feel it is our responsibility to create images for us by us, and tell stories from our gaze."
Beyond reflecting the significance of natural hair, Full Circle is a representation of the myriad forms of black women's beauty.
Photography: David Blaq
Photography Assistant: Harness Hamese
Hair: Beezy Braid SA (Bonolo Gabuza)
Make-up: Mamelo Mokhele