Nikiwe Dlova is a young creative from Soweto, South Africa who expresses herself through her hair, fashion, music and art. She started a Hair Street Culture platform, which showcases freedom of hair expression in individuals, art and media productions.
Every woman's crown is an expression of who they are or where they are in life. Whether passively or actively, African hair is a versatile and dynamic canvas that can convey infinite expressions. Bald, relaxed, natural, dreadlocks, protective styles and everything else in-between, African hair can morph into anything you want it too, making it not only a form of expression and style but a moving art piece.
In not only documenting her own hair journey but that of others, hair stylist and enthusiast Nikiwe Dlova has found that conversations around hair and its maintenance can be decoded to reveal who people are and the relationships they are building with themselves, according to an interview she did with Bubblegum.
"And that's how ownURcrown (her online platform) was formed. And I spelt 'your' as UR to emphasize that U R who U R. Just own it!" Dlova said.
Dlova is a graduate of the University of Johannesburg, where she obtained a Diploma in Clothing Management. She has gone on to collaborate with an impressive array of top local and international brands, such as New Balance, Rimmel London, Converse, Sunglass Hut, Palladium Boots, Herschel, Dr Martens and more.
In 2016 she started her ownURcrown blog, which lead her to the digital media space. The platform stands for being bold, creative, different and daring. On it you will find hair edits, hairstylists, hair interviews, brand collaborations, a fusion of hair meeting music, hair art and events.
Dlova's mantra is, "My crown has a voice! Fight for hair expression and keep loving your crown."
Dlova's stance has fuelled her involvement in the more political aspects of hair, including the discrimination experienced by schoolgirls based on their natural hair. She created the Uniform Crown Series after she was inspired by the Pretoria Girls High School pupils who marched against racism and the school's hair policy in 2016, in order to let young girls know it was okay to be 100% yourself.
"One day I hope and pray that freedom of hair expression will be allowed at schools. This will help with identity, expression and confidence," she said on ownURcrown.
"Let the kids express themselves through their hair in schools!! Let them own their crowns!! Hair policies in schools should be adjusted to accommodate all hair expressions and not restrict pupils," she added.
Dlova has also been a part of the #ColabNowNow residency, which was hosted by the British Council in Maputo. Recently she was included in the Okay Africa 100 Women's List of 2019.