Bruny Dusabe is a 20 year old Fashion Design student,who not only has a passion for fashion but enjoys decoding the messages that fashion conveys.Read more about her below.
Where did you grow up and where do you stay now?
I was born in Kenya, Nairobi. My dad was a Congolese, Rwandese (he passed last year) and my mother is Kenyan (Maasai, Kikuyu) native.My parents brought us to South Africa; I went to school in Johannesburg. My cousins and Aunts from back home always make fun of my apparent ‘SA accent’, I love it and love it here.
When did you start doing creative hairstyles and What inspired you?
The first time I started doing creative hairstyles was as soon as I got out of high school. I remember sitting in my mother’s office the year of my Matric year, and asking her if I could get my septum pierced and she said “Finish with your Matric, and then you can get all the piercings you want and put as much colour on your hair as possible” – and I did.
Do you agree/disagree that hair is part of your identity?
I completely agree that hair is such a sacral part of any human beings journey whether it is long, short or even bald. Hair carries so much energy and always has a story to tell no matter how short or extensive the story is. It is a journey of growth albeit spiritual, mental, emotional or physical.
What does owning your crown mean to you?
Owning my crown means paving the way for all the African girls who have been told their hair ‘Is not good enough’ or ‘worthy’ of relevant praise.
African women, all shapes and sizes, different skin tones, looser or kinkier curls deserve to always be treated like the queens they are, and should always strive to be. If owning my crown no matter how hard the world gets, means other African women like me get to wear theirs pro bono – that’s my job done.
Any hair trends you’re looking forward to try?
To be honest I am not much of a trend follower – regarding my hair. My hair and I are like sisters. I listen to the requests it has and try to my very best to keep it satisfied. I talk to my hair a lot and like any African girl, my hair has been through so much for me not to have such a strong connection to it.
I went from Yarn Locs – a journey that was not only for me but a greater message for society as a whole.
To now free forming dreadlocks, I feel as I have gone through a stage where I have gotten to the door of knowledge through my hair. I can now hear what messages she has, and we can share our journey hence forth.
Do you have a creative process before you do any hairstyle?
I’ve always had a creative process before I did my hairstyles. My main source of inspiration was the beautiful nature around me. The reason why I always did two colours was to instil the constant idea of balance within everything to do in life. Life should have balance, no matter how tough it gets.
I wanted to break away from the notions that women of colour especially African women ‘could not’ or ‘should not try’ colour. I stayed away from weaves not because I had anything against them but because that was not my calling or message to the people.
I particularly chose chunky dreadlocks because as a society are still going through a stage where people with dreadlocks are being ostracised in schools, public and in work places – because of the notion of the untidiness of the hairstyle.
What would you change about the Hair industry?
Alopecia needs to go, long hair isn’t everything. The health of your hair is way more important.
Stop relaxing – there are a ton of chemicals in there that literally can disintegrate a coke can. (You can find this on YouTube).
African men should start appreciating African women and their hair journeys, do not discredit her because she’s got more kink than prescribed Eurocentric trends. Be her guide and allow her to flower as you will flower. Well I guess men in general.
How much more beautiful and confident would our women be, also how much money and pain would we save – cause natural is the most beautiful way, and the most painless.
Always,the names of my crowns varied to the message I was trying to send.
- The first colours I had ever played with were a tribute to the High School I attended – Jeppe High School for Girls. Even though it was a brilliant school, the underlying racial tensions were always seen by the African girls at the school, and hair was always a big ‘issue’ in school. Black and White were the schools colours and so that was the first time I played with colour. Those were chunky twists. I had done black on the left and white on the right.
- The second crown I did was a tribute to the Rastafarian culture and their whole beautiful intrinsic belief on hair and the sacred part to it as well as the colours and their signifiers. I had black in the front and at the back, because I usually kept my hair in a bun; I had red yellow and green.
- The third crown was a repeat of the black and white, which were in dreadlock form. I fell in love with the look of yarn dreadlocks on myself and felt I would not have done myself justice if I did not do the black and white in yarn dreadlocks.
- The fourth crown I did was a tribute to my Maasai heritage. The famous blue and red. It was a tribute to my mother and her people. The year before I had also purchased my Royal Blue 1460s and Cherry Red 1460s. I had always mismatched them; my mom has copious amounts of shukas in these colours and felt that since I had the exact same shoe – I could do what I wilt. I did blue on the left and red on the right. I also collaborated with LEVI’s – everything just seemed to fall into place.
- The fifth crown was my tribute to sunflowers and my sunflower child-like similarities. Sunflowers have always resonated with me and have had a healing charm to me and my journey. Brought me back to my days of really loving the sun and soaking up all the Vitamin D rich melanated skin I call my own. I got yellow on the left and orange on the right.
- The sixth crown was my tribute to Autumn and the Jacaranda Trees. Jacaranda trees are like one of the first trees to go naked before winter and this was me saying I missed them and their beautiful slippery flowers. Jacarandas were the first tree my dad pointed out to me (as one of the indigenous) when I had first arrived here in South Africa. I did lilac on the left and green on the right.
- The seventh crown was my tribute to a friend of mine’s who had a loving for fish and had the most amazingly beautiful fish I had seen. There was one particular fish that stuck out to me and it was a fish that literally was half yellow, half purple – not variated or blotched. Half half. So I did deep purple on the left side and yellow on the right side.
- My eighth crown was a beautiful one, as I was going through a trying time with everything from school, finances, my dad being sick and life just being hectic. My mom and I went walking and there were Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow flower bushes everywhere. She gave me a history on the flower and added a beautiful quote that has kept me going and will keep me going until the end of time. It had lightly rained and the Jacaranda Trees and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow flowers were ceremoniously swimming in the puddle. That’s where I got inspiration for my next crown. Pink and Lilac. I did pink on the left and lilac on the right. I named this one ‘The Beauties of Spring’
- My ninth crown was as beautifully balanced as the first crown I did. My dad had passed away – I had to choose between studies and his at the time medical fees. Then getting the news that he had passed. My world almost shattered. To everyone who I was not intimate with, it seemed like I was so strong – but inside I was literally a minute away from disappearing into an unknown abyss of sadness and depression, everything seemed to be crumbling under my feet but I had to keep going my mission was not over yet, my message was not done. November is for the Birds, The Bees and The Fruit Trees. Dedicated it to life after death and the beautiful transition from Winter to Spring to Summer when the fruits start popping out cause it’s not too cold for the bees to go out and give thanks. My dad did not even get to see his 53rd. His birth date on the 17th of November. It was a growing time for me and my family. I had to make them smile somehow.
- My tenth crown was a tribute to the struggles of African people worldwide, and the perfect event came at the right time AFROPUNK. I had always been told by friends that I encompassed what an AFROPUNK was. I didn’t just wear my hair in the colours I did because they were ‘cool’. No. I delved much deeper into what every colour meant to me. This was not only a tribute to my home, Kenya. But to the Pan African ideas, to the struggles, the blood of my people that has spilled, to the land that we do not yet own. This was green and red. Red on the left and deep green on the right.
Is it heavy? I come from people who walked miles to fetch water from rivers, and carried this sacred water in huge buckets on their heads. Yes on their heads. Discipline and determination as well as the acceptance of strength go a long way.Does your hairstyle influence your fashion and music?Too an extent, I went from matching my clothes with my hair to complimenting the colours to just knowing which colours to play with. Trends Analysis at LISOF had a major impact because not only did I understand colour from an Art Student’s perspective (High School), but I later learned what it means in dress and how to convey certain colours in different ways.
When I started my yarn journey, a friend of mine named Vuyo used to do my hair. But then I got the hang of it and started doing it with my Mother, my rock, my soul and now it’s just me, myself and I.
Does your hairstyle influence your fashion and music?
Too an extent, I went from matching my clothes with my hair has always been super thick, to the point where I wouldn’t even be able to see the lines on my scalp anymore – this was when I did my crowns.
In your opinion do you think hairstyles reflect a person’s journey at that specific time?
Definitely, but in my opinion, if that is a thought you have. Don’t be rude and assume. Ask find out, there are so many beautiful things to be learnt from every being.
Besides hair, how else do you express yourself?
The entirety of who I am in itself is an expression. My name, my being, where I come from where I’m going and how I master that into a being or into the physical sometimes surprises me.My dad grew up in Kinshasa, he lived among The Sapeurs and was a Sapeur himself, he never looked out of place and always had me begging to grow up so I could too break free of the conformities of uniform and be able to express myself.My dress is pretty AFROPUNK – I understand what it means to be an African, the struggles and choose to not conform, I tie it all in with my signature Dr Martens. I resonate with Dr Martens not because of the ‘cool factor’ (but they are the coolest). But because Dr Martens have a history the people that wore them in the 60s were fighting for a reason, for a cause for a purpose. I too am fighting for a cause and a purpose and in doing so breaking down conformed ways of thinking in my wake. I am not always successful – but who always is?
Name the people that are owning their crowns unapologetically?
Lesego Seoketsa.Khensani Mohlatlole.Hlengiwe Lesedi.Zandile Makombe.Lungi Nhlapo.Vuyo Morgan.Nondumiso Fatyela.Kenya Khanyile.Tayla Mulzack.Tamarin Sleep.Sharon Githingi.
Please share your work or social media handles.
@iambruny – Personal
@aswadannisa – Work