About Akona

Last weekend I declined all social invitations and dedicated time (and a lot of bum in seat time) to pampering myself. Well, parts of myself.

In May, I had taken off my braids and decided to keep my kinky afro to let my hair breathe before returning to protective styling. In any case, I knew what style of braids I wanted to do and the only person I trust was on maternity leave. She referred me to someone she trusted and so the journey began

On Saturday morning, I visited the much raved about hair and beauty salon Candi&Co in Randburg Square. Here is a review of the place that really helped my choice to let someone touch my hair – Wiscellaneous Get Candi Coated –  I was a little bit hesitant because most of the people who have reviewed the place have different hair to mine. Them being black too, (though mixed race / coloured) would be mean we will have different hair and I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but jumped in anyway.

I arrived to clean, well lit, neutral in scent and quiet salon, (trust, if you’ve been to traditionally black salons, these are not things to immediately expect) – You can read a rant on black hair salons here – MissMillib Hair Chronicles & part two here

Back to me; my appointment was confirmed and I was asked to wait a few minutes while my stylist finished up on another client. While I waited I was offered a delicious cappuccino off the menu and free wi-fi. My stylist then led me to the seat on one of the two rows of chairs, we began with a form with personal details, work industry, health and exercise habits, hair behaviour and caring history, which then led to us discussing what kind of hair I have and how best to care for it. She then recommended treatments for me and I chose to have a deep scalp treatment, opted against heat drying and had a trim of my ends. I have coily hair and the tips tend to knot – I wanted to be able to comb easily so we took off about three centimeters. Hair care is intimate and I felt safe in her hands – I felt like she cared for what she was doing and the advise she was giving. She was very complimentary about my hair – though dry, she kept on telling me how well I’d taken care of it and that the texture was enviable. This is amazing to me because I kept it very simple in the self-care department. Wash, dry, oil, and then if I didn’t feel like styling, would put it into a headwrap and carry on with my day.

I was very happy with the results and would highly recommend a visit. I learned a lot about hair and the stresses that your scalp & hair can endure and how to counteract.

pamper post (Large)

Next stop was to finally get my eyebrows threaded and shaped. Some background; a few months ago I had gone to barber on Slaone Street in Bryanston and the threading they did ended with me having freakishly thin brows. So I had to grow them out to their full size and rowdiness before being able to tame to the shape and size I wanted. Friend who had been accompanying me for the day guided me to a small centre at the bottom of 5th street in Linden to a little barber shop where my friend promised would become my go to place forever.

Indeed it was. I sat in the maestro’s chair, closed my eyes and allowed faith to take me to a place of serenity. The session lasted about 20 minutes, beginning with my begging not to repeat a too thin threading. The process itself sounds weird – cotton used basically pluck out each brow hair (is that was they are called?) until the desired shape is achieved. I am so impressed with my eyebrows I would take a look at my reflection at any and every opportunity the whole drive home.


July 2014 (Large)

The next morning, before the final phase of pampering – I posted this image to instagram and captioned it “going to get my hair did selfie” – I didn’t want the point of the picture “my stunning eyebrows” to be obvious, but secretly wished they were noticeable. Shameless vanity, I know.

20140706_112043And finally, Sunday morning, after having bought the hair piece to create the style that I was getting braided (Kinky – Afro Twist Braid) and arriving an hour later than my appointment – I know the drama of making an appointment, arriving and then waiting a while before being attended to – so I called my braid lady, Kate, to make sure she was ready

Arrived at this little Nigerian owned salon filled with food and hair scents, loud music competing with wonderfully crazy Nollywood film. All the stylists always all turn towards the door when you open, and while your eyes and nose and ears adjust to the explosion of senses they greet with big happy smiles. Already, you are sussed out, you can tell they are all trying to guess to themselves what you will be there for. Luckily, I’m already used to this non malicious judgement and I was expected.

Kate was finishing off plaiting this young man’s afro, whose hair that reaches his shoulders once braided. He is was the son of my salon crush – this gorgeous Nigerian woman married to a Dutch man and they with their three boys live in Sweden and every so often holiday in South Africa. I’ve seen the family three times at the salon and I might make a standing appointment for whenever she is there.

So, this was hour one of five of sitting still, reading, chatting, watching my salon crush and other patrons their do’s done, watching Nollywood films, live tweeting my day and complaining about numb bum, drinking Stoney and generally making sure that only one person was plaiting my hair – the women tend to help each other to work faster but I prefer one person being in charge of how my head will look.


5 hours later, we were twisting and boiling the ends

July 20141

Finished product selfies below

InstaSize_2014_6 _ 72153




Posted in Moi

Have you seen the #likeagirl video? Always video championing confidence in girls by attempting to make people change their thinking and stop seeing or referring to things done ‘like a girl’ as insults. Well, 13 million page views tells me you might have.

Have you seen one of Dove’s many “beauty” championing videos, specifically the one called Camera Shy? It is a montage of real life reactions of women who are faced with a camera and proceed to do what most women do naturally, hide. A question is asked at the end – when did you stop thinking you’re beautiful?

Both, very  powerful and purpose serving. Both speaking to women and girls, but also one speaks specifically to young girls and the other, to women. To me, different, but also similar.

The other day I was caught off guard by this tweet claiming that Always plagiarised Dove. Having seen both these videos, I questioned my recollection of them and had to ask – did I miss something?


The premise may be similar – raise confidence. The execution is similar – using true to life scenario and normal people. This does not scream plagiarism to me. It is storytelling. It is using of human insights specific to a target market and creating communication that may change perspective.

Here are the two videos – please share your thoughts.





Maybe I’ve missed something. Maybe plagiarism is a too strong word. Maybe.



Bought Lianne La Havas‘ last year  and for a few months I was stuck on this song.

No room for doubt featuring Willy Mason

Everything about this song is perfect. The melancholy of her voice, his haunting and assuring voice, the poetry of the instruments.

I don’t know Willy Mason’s music more than in this song so it is incredibly exciting that he will be performing at Oppikoppi later this year. I want to know nothing about him until then so I can just experience his music live and then decide. I’m weird like that



Hello from a grumpy me on a chilly Joburg Monday morning

It’s been a weird weird year so far – it’s May and I still haven’t figured 2014 out. Started with my amazing getting hitched quite spontaneously, followed by my nephew going to live with him (and not me) in Newcastle, a weird break-up with a somebody I enjoyed, some general disinterest in my every day and frustration with mundane same sameness path I seem to be on, skip some existential crises and pity party fests; last week I had a car accident and wrote off my beloved Bokomo. I knew it was time for a new car, however I hadn’t yet accepted this inevitability in my life. I wasn’t ready to go back to paying car installments yet.  Just wanted more time I guess; to really think about this big and (in my opinion) grudge purchase. Why on earth do I not live in a walkable city with amazing public transport?

It seems that 2014 has been a year, so far, of creatively negotiating the unexpected. It has not been as testing as other years seem to have been, but hard enough anyway.

My friends tell me that I am terribly hard on myself and that sometimes I need to be kinder to me. This mindset change is a bit of a biggy in my world because I am so used to falling into the negative in any situation and I refuse to see to the positive. For example, I break a glass and I torment myself for being clumsy and start questioning everything else I do. Obviously seeing a lesson in absolutely everything is heavy and unnecessary, but I do it. I don’t know if it works for or against personal growth, but I’ve decided to try find the silver lining in everything or at the very least; not take every damn thing so seriously and to stop blaming and berating myself for every single that happens. Sometimes its just life, sometimes it means something, sometimes it means nothing.

In any case, this is me trying to keep from crying over spilt milk. This is me making a public promise to be nicer to myself. This is me having a moment and trying not to be over indulgent about it even though I’d rather just crawl into a hole and ignore the world for the rest of the year.

I prayed things would change, and now here goes. Change is inevitable and I’m coming to terms with the fact that I can’t control everything. Good or bad. It’s my choice how I let this play out and how I rise to the occasion.

Either way, I need to some imphepho and burn the hell out of this bad juju and keep it moving.

I think I’m over sentimental about Bokomo because we have been through so much together. Some great memories and some terrible. I remember long trips to the Eastern Cape with her, the time she was stolen while I’d walked to a garage 400m away because she’d stopped working (i looked under rocks for her), the time she got broken into while I was giving food packages to homeless people on a rainy Christmas afternoon, racing down M1 in complete silence and being grateful for my freedom, using her as my mobile wardrobe with a minimum of six pairs of shoes all over, the rickety sounds that taught me I know (old) cars well, the days and nights of great times with friends. After I got my driver’s license, I would walk right past her in the mornings, opting instead to take taxi’s to work because I could not bare the idea of clutch balancing. I’ve cried in her, laughed, screamed, danced, and even though I was usually alone in her, I felt like our history and future together always kept me company. One of my saddest memories with her was when my father told me of the passing of my mother in 1999. I was in the passenger seat trying to break the window so I could jump out, run down the street; believing that if I ran fast and far enough away, the news would not be true. I couldn’t get out. and now I can’t let her go. I don’t want to. I will have to.

My Bokomo
My Bokomo

Ah life, you cruel and beautiful thing

Love & light and may the journey forth be filled with good.


Posted in Moi

Apologies for missing both March and April posts – I actually got quite depressed after researching everything around the continent and realising that I would attend none of the amazing festivals. I mean, I still weep at the fact that I missed Ms Erykah Badu at the Cape Town Jazz festival. Ah well. next year

I’m pretty excited about May on the continent. Here goes our next installment – Wanderlust Afrique – May. Dear Universe…

1. Afrika Burn: Tankwa, South Africa 28 April – 4 May 2014

Source: http://www.sarahduff.com

Source: http://www.sarahduff.com

Afrika Burn is a local spin off from the Burning Man festival in U.S.A. where a bunch of crazy, yes crazy, people pack up and go party in the desert. Same goes here – a bunch of mad hatters go and enjoy a week of desert living, with out of this world costumes, burning effigies, building themed “homes” and partying the day and night away in the middle of the Karoo, a place called Tankwa Town. The desert comes alive as its own self sufficient town – I have read and heard that people bring goods and wares to barter to survive. It’s a week of creative expression and community

Annually, the tickets to Afrika Burn are sold out within days and people spend a year planning the trek.

One day, when I am brave.

See more here – http://www.afrikaburn.com/


2. HIFA – Harare, Zimbabwe 29 April – 4 May 2014



Harare International Festival of Arts is a 14 year old music and arts festival held in Zimbabwe annually.

I think it would be amazing to attend this festival to see a side of Zimbabwe art, culture and music that we rarely are exposed. From videos and images found online HIFA tells a story of energy, creativity and celebration. I imagine it is a similar festival of the arts to the National festival held in Grahamstown, South Africa in winter.

See more here – http://www.hifa.co.zw/

You can download the programme and read all about the artists involved  – http://issuu.com/hifa/docs/hifa_pogramme_2014_r_lores_singles

This is a definite for next year

3. Azgo: Maputo, Mozambique 23 – 24 May

The Azgo festival was started off the back of Bushfire festival as part of the Fire festival route. “AZGO is the second stop on the Firefest route, a network of festivals that links HIFA in Zimbabwe, AZGO in Mozambique, MTN Bushfire in Swaziland and Safiko Music in Reunion.”

The festival was started in 2011 by ex-music crush Paulo, the drummer of 340ml and has been dubbed as one of the important festivals on the continent. Though the main focus of the festival is music, it also incorporates film, art, craft fair and culinary adventures for the festival goers to enjoy

Though the festival is young, last year saw over 4000 people enjoying the celebration of Mozambican culture and music by established and upcoming artists.

Azgo is slang for “Let’s Go”. Shall we?

More here – www.azgofestival.com 

4. Mawazine: Rabat, Morocco 30 May – 7 June 2014

source: welovebuzz.com
source: welovebuzz.com

Started in 2001, Mawazine is held in the capital of Morocco, (I thought Casablanca was the capital) is an annual festival that sees local and international artists grace the stages over a week-long celebration of music. Also known as the Festival of Rhythm.

The festival has seen some big names in music such The Jacksons, Rihanna, Lenny Kravitz, Kanye West, Quincy Jones and David Guetta.

This year is no different with Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Jason Derulo (vom) and even Ricky Martin on the bill. More here – http://www.festivalmawazine.ma/home

5. MTN Bushfire Festival, House of Fire, Swaziland 30 May – 1 June

Last year, on a whim, my friends and I packed our things and jumped into the car and drove the three hours to Swaziland for a weekend away and to attend the annual MTN Bushfire festival.
I’d heard about this festival and had always wanted to see and feel and hear it! It far exceeded any and all expectation.

15 000 People from around the world attending this expression of creativity through music, poetry, arts and crafts in mountainous Swaziland in a large open venue called House of Fire. The energy is amazing

During the day and into the night there is theatre, eating, drinking, fun for kids, music and all manners of expression at House of Fire, with a crafts section of the huge open area where people sell accessories, clothes, shoes, pottery and more. I bought a lot of earrings.

MTN bushfire is by far one of the best, most comfortable, easily enjoyable festivals I’ve been to. Swaziland is beautiful and easy to get around, with natural majesties to get touristy and explore if not at the festival. What’s also quite wonderful is that because tickets aren’t ridiculously pricey, the festival is inclusive for everyone and not “well off” foreigners. I believe that proceeds of the festival also go NGO’s for community development, so the fun is for a good cause.

The drive from Joburg is incredible; the wait at the border on the festival weekend is remarkable – i think we waited 2 hours to get stamped. but well worth it. So Bring your Fire

More here: http://www.bush-fire.com/

I’ll be missing out on Spoek Mathambo, Nakhane Toure, Oliver Mtukudzi, artists I’ve never heard of and more in favour of, LAST BUT NOT LEAST ….

6. DStv Delicious Festival – Joburg Botanical Gardens  31 May

Last year saw the inaugural  Music & Food Festival of epic proportions in Joburg – the DStv Delicious festival. (Most people who know me know how much I love saying the word “delicious”).

In 2013 the festival was held at Blue Hills Estate out in Lonehill and it was perfect! a 2 hour electrifying set from Jamiroquai, sightings of hobo looking Idris Elba, beautiful people, a lot of delicious food, and the most incredible sound system I’ve ever experienced. I mean, every note from every single artists was clear and crisp – I heard lyrics I thought were mumbles, beats I’d never noted before. Danced and danced and danced and accosted Jamiroquai at the after party

This year, I’m ridiculously excited for the international line-up at the open air festival – Brand New Heavies, Soul II Soul, Incognito. I may pee in my pants. I may die after that weekend. (The day before, 30 May, I’ll be checking out Foreign Exchange at Bassline in Newtown). Can you say scream?

For more on the premier Music & Food Festival that you cannot miss out on, check these links.

Tickets can be bought here: Computicket 

Follow Delicious here for updates: @DeliciousFestSA

Til the next Wanderlust, see you on the streets my people

I don’t know who Skrillex is / are but this video made it onto my radar and I may have watched it 100 times already – adding to the already 5 million views in the 10 days it has been out.

Shot in Joburg it is fantastical and grimy and too damn awesome

I was trying to describe it to a friend and I ended being tongue tied and confused and blabbering incoherently and finally screamed – I WANT IT INSIDE ME. Don’t know what that means, but it makes sense okay