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Editor's Letter: Dare to be different

Emmanuel Tjiya S Mag Editor-in-chief
S Mag Editor-in-Chief Emmanuel Tjiya.
S Mag Editor-in-Chief Emmanuel Tjiya.
Image: Steve Tanchel

A delightful piece of text finds me on Twitter. It’s in the middle of a scorching Limpopo summer’s heat, with temperatures uncomfortably searing through December while I try to get some much-needed rest in my mom’s rustic farmhouse after a whirlwind year.

Like clockwork, the retweet count changes faster than I can open the article link. I take pleasure in being one of those annoying people who are not that active on Twitter, yet here I am following every trending topic and hashtag.

The previous few days were gluttonous, lazy holiday days and my priority was binge-watching the second season of The White Lotus (let’s escape to scenic Sicily), Better Call Saul (what a thrilling final season), and House of the Dragon (horrifyingly brilliant), and hate-watching Emily in Paris (the main protagonist is tiresome).

So, I open the article titled “How a Nepo Baby Is Born”, in which New York Magazine’s entertainment news site Vulture declares 2022 “The year of the nepo baby”. The Nate Jones exposé on the matter is as brutal as it is pacy, compelling, and amusing.

Image: Steve Tanchel

Each paragraph comes packed with a punch. But, halfway through, I get to one that has my imagination running wild with ideas. Simple, at first, but loaded: “The hottest trend in media [involving nepo babies] right now is the intergenerational team-up, which GQ has made a specialty, running spreads of John C Reilly posing with his ‘model-musician son’ LoveLeo, and Pierce Brosnan alongside his ‘model-musician-filmmaker sons’ Dylan and Paris.”

There it was — a week or so into my December rest and relaxation this issue of SMag was birthed. Nepo babies is the undercurrent theme in this edition, featuring actress Connie Ferguson and her casting-director daughter Lesedi Matsunyane-Ferguson, plus veteran broadcaster Azania Mosaka with her TV-presenter daughter Shamiso. It’s all satirical. There is so much we are collectively going through as a country, from widespread gun violence to load-shedding and more. Let’s take a minute to have fun. We are happy to welcome back Azania, who graced the second edition of SMag in 2016, and Connie who, alongside Lesedi’s son Rowena, fronted the Heritage issue in 2019.

Image: Steve Tanchel

But the main theme is that this is our Beauty issue, curated with the tagline “Black is Beautiful” in mind — a term first coined in the 1930s, reaching its popular status in the US in the 1960s, and given a local twist through the activism work of anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko.

Over the years, especially in fashion, the meaning of the term has evolved, but it remains honest to Black people’ devotion to fully embracing and representing their culture, identity, and beauty. The intention with this issue is to redefine the iconic concept that is the pride of melanin magic for the current generation.

How, you ask? Through the lens of Gen Z, countless beauty trends have been upgraded and made edgier, more inclusive, sustainable, and unapologetic. Skin- and haircare brands are being held accountable more than ever, because Gen Z interrogates anything from the ingredients being used to social impact, embracing products that hero a message of self-acceptance.

Stars such as Shamiso, Lesedi, and Themba Broly (Ekhoneni) are freer to wear tattoos as they please, making beauty statements or expressing themselves or using them as art therapy.

But make no mistake about it, we got it from our mama, auntie, and/or granny. The pairing of our SMag cover stars serves as a great example of honouring generational beauty.

Our trusted beauty editor Nokubonga Thusi has got all the hair and beauty guides to ensure that your curls, lashes, nails, and skin routines are next level. She even called on the help of Sheika Daley, makeup artist to Zendaya, Kelly Rowland, and Serena Williams, to assist you with long-lasting glow. Elsewhere, writer Shingai Darangwa went in search of all the nepo babies in Mzansi — not an easy task.

As we enter autumn, remember to moisturise, drink water, and mind your own business — unless you are a journalist like myself, of course!

Image: Steve Tanchel