The dangerous and degenerate politics of Ntsiki Mazwai

Poet should stop criticising black women and know that there's nothing foreign about weaves

Poet and musician Ntsiki Mazwai is married to controversy and for this reason I rarely pause to engage with much of what she posts on social media. It is said that the role of the artist is to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. But from where I sit, Mazwai’s politics have little to do with disrupting the comfortable and comforting the disturbed and everything to do with the performance of a bizarre kind of “radicalism” that aims to shock, insult and offend. But she does not insult or offend just anyone – her poisonous dart is aimed specifically at black women.

I wouldn’t normally invest my time writing about a woman whose politics I find so abhorrent, in part because it is not in my repertoire to make black women objects of my criticism. But this past weekend I read an article about the launch of DJ Zinhle’s hair business, Hair Majesty, which specialises in Peruvian wigs. The article details how Mazwai launched an attack on Zinhle, arguing that she was glamourising “foreign hair” and making the youth “focus on hair”. She concluded her rant with an incoherent point about how selling weaves is akin to selling drugs as both reflect an “addiction”...

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