Writer, Poet and Online content manager, journalist (just to name but a few), Nonkululeko Godana is one of the names that keep popping up in magazines, blogs and other media portals.
This woman is big ya’ll and has already achieved a massive things at a tender age of 26…uh-huh(this really gets me to get off that couch & get working ).
We hooked up with her to have a chat & suck some inspiration and knowledge from her.
Let’s start with that beautiful Afro before we even get into your career:
FC: You’ve been natural since 2001. That’s almost a decade now. Can you briefly take us through your natural hair journey?
N: It started with a certain consciousness I started having at age 17. I started my hair ‘growth’ round about the same time I started writing poetry. I had long relaxed hair but decided that I didn’t want to go through burning my hair and very sensitive scalp anymore, I also hated the smell of relaxer. I had my hair in twists while I grew the relaxed hair out. My parents were very confused, they thought I would start smoking weed too, kwakwakwa! I found that hilarious because in her pictures as a spring-chic-ken, my mother had the most beautiful afro I’d seen on anyone – AND she was a beauty queen!
During school holidays I apprenticed at a hair salon in Rosebank, where I got the courage to chop the relaxed part of my hair off – at which time the natural ‘growth’ was a little over pinkie finger size. The hairsalon was shocked but helped me through it, showing me how to wash my natural hair and how to maintain it — I learnt a whole lot more along the journey.
That was it, I never looked back. After high school I threw myself into my poetry, while studying journalism. I flaunted my afro in all sorts of hairstyles at poetry sessions and social spaces.
What we’re your ups & downs in your journey?
Honestly, I can’t remember a down moment in my journey, although there for a couple of times I tried out a new salon or hairdresser and they would blow dry my hair too straight, because they didn’t understand natural hair.
The reason why I wouldn’t call this a downside is because I am quite vocal about what I want done on my hair – I never go to a hairsalon without knowing what my hair will look like when I leave the salon.If the hairdresser doesn’t understand, I go home and fix it — spray some water on it to add volume again. Most of the time I wash it myself with Beautiful Beginnings detangling shampoo – for children (it works!) or Jabu Stone’s conditioning shampoo.
I’ve had a lot of ups,especially when I’ve dreamt of a hairstyle (yes, I dream of hairstyles!), try it out new hairstyles and it works well on me. JOY! I’m not afraid to try something new. I change my hair a lot and like seeing people react surprised each time, like ‘You changed your hairstyle AGAIN!’. Hahaha! My answer is, ‘Yeah, tends to happen often. Keep up!’.
What seems to work for your hair to keep you sane?
When I don’t have a lot of time and when I can’t get to a hairsalon to plait my hair, I have a couple of hairstyles I do that allow me to breathe easy. I tie it back in a bun at the back or on top — bhop’ iphondo!:
Otherwise, I use style combs or pins to tuck in the sides into semi-mohawk which stays like that for at least a week. I also know how to do a french plait on my -own hair, so I would sometimes style it into a front-out-back tucked-in hairstyle. That also stays and doesn’t need me to do anything to it in the morning.
What natural hairstyles do you like to rock?
My favourite hairstyles are the ones that look daring. Most of which are hairstyles I haven’t seen a lot on other people (I like having a unique identity). The front-out-back-tucked-in style I spoke of above is one of my fav:
The comb-sides semi-mohawk is also another one I identify myself with – the alternative to that is plaiting the sides and leaving the front, middle and back out:
One of my plaited favourites are a hairstyle my hairdresser and I tried out and liked, it’s a 3-strand front tail hairstyle with beads on it. It’s got a very West African feel to it. I love it for its eccentricity.
Now, your envious resume:
Where are you from?
I was born in Joburg and raised in Tembisa and later Midrand. My lineage stretches from East Rand to Eastern Cape though.
Your job sounds very interesting. What does an online content manager do?
I am in charge of website content creation and maintenance. I also do online and e-marketing strategies (on social media and business-related networks). That’s the basic – depends on which website I’m managing and it’s requirements. I’m interested in building online communities and managing them.
Which sites’ content are you currently managing?
I’m currently managing content for Who’s Who of SA (www.whoswhosa) a professional networking website. I’m also working on a redesign and strategy for my own online/ mobi content hub, www.wellsaid.co.za.
You’re also a blogger, what do you mostly blog about?
Mostly the complexity that come with being a woman who thinks intuitively. I write about this and any chance I get to play with words – for now mostly on my blog http://wildwomendo.blogspot.com. I’ve started a female-only writer’s group called Writer’s Stokvel and we share on a blog called http://kundalinidiaries.wordpress.com. I also teach teenagers in Khayelitsha blogging and podcasting as well – and their writings can be found on www.studentsforhumanity.com.
And poetry, how did you get into poetry? Was it love at 1st sight?
It all started in my English class, my teacher asked me to read a poem called ‘Shantytown’ and after reading that, I swear it was like a lightning bolt hit me, it was the first time poetry intrigued me. I guess you could say it was love at first read! It was also the first interaction I’d had with South African poetry (and written about something I could relate to).
A poem I wrote back in high school called Innersense won at the National Eisteddfod art competition and I had to perform it in front of a huge crowd, including my mother. It was about domestic abuse.
What’s your poetry mostly about?
It’s mostly personal. A lot about my very bias view on womanity, injustice, nature, love, lust, personal freedom, spirituality etc. I’ve also written about the social circles I hang out in. I’m loving writing more about that and about spirituality right now.
Your resume is super-impressive for someone your age. How do you do all these things & where do you get the time?
Thank you! Like I said before, I’m not afraid to try new things (and it’s not just hairstyles!). I’m on a journey to self-actualisation and creative freedom and I’d like to believe everything I do is a piece to the puzzle I’m building up. I have changed jobs A LOT (from print journ, to broadcasting, to corporate communications, to marketing research and online) with the aim of understanding various aspects of media and how they can all be linked together.
I’ve started settling down a little more to put it all together and I’m loving the way it’s coming together. The universe has also presented me with all I’ve needed including time, space and opportunity. I’ve dreamt myself in places where I’ve learnt a lot in the time I’ve spent DOing.
What’s your advise to the youth out there who want to be just as successful?
DREAM wide awake and just DO your part. Everything will fall into place. Simply put: Find or create a passion, keep grinding on it until something becomes of it. BE OPEN to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Stay AWAKE (aware). And importantly, always keep a trustworthy support system (family, real friends), you’ll need them to remind you of who your true self is.
You can follow Nonkululeko on twitter http://twitter.com/missgods
as well as check out her blog http://wildwomendo.blogspot.com.