As most great love stories and friendships go these days, I came across Katlego aka Kat aka TheGalWithAFro on social media and we’ve been in one another’s mentions since 2012. We had spoken about doing something like this together a while ago but in between clashing schedules, general life and finally getting to hang out a few weeks ago — the timing really couldn’t be more perfect.
Outside of being generally dope, the creator of Froday Fridays shares afrocare knowledge and tips and tricks which encourage people to celebrate and embrace their kinky, coily and curly hair. The detailed routines have been posted across her social media pages allowing users to not only engage with the content, but be featured on the platforms too.
N: For starters, tell us about Kat. What does a day look like for her? What does she do?
K: (laughs) wow, I wish I had a simple answer to that. I am a student, a content creator and recently began my journey as an entrepreneur so every other day is different. I have content to shoot then I have entrepreneurial workshops to attend. I have a business to work on, assignments to do, job interviews to attend and and and. So, long story short, I get up in the morning and do whatever is in my diary. Yes, in 2018 people still use actual diaries! I work out in the afternoon then head to the library at night; that’s Katlego.
A busy girl with a lot of goals who is currently getting her shit together.
N: That I can believe because even being around you in a casual context, it’s very obvious there is a lot going on and it’s fascinating to watch. Another thing I was always fascinated by (and I probably will never stop telling you this), is how well you maintain both your natural hair and extensions when you play around with those. I imagine you probably got a lot of questions about how you managed that. Is that what inspired Froday Fridays?
K: Definitely. I mean all my life I wanted to become an advocate. Froday Fridays was never in any of my set out plans. In fact, becoming a naturalista and discovering that I have this passion for afrocare didn’t happen overnight. In that way, I feel like I know my passion comes from a real and genuine place because of how organic my growth has been throughout this whole process and journey.
When I started my natural hair journey, I had no idea what I was doing. I had to do so much research to teach myself how to take care of my hair.
Somewhere in between me trying out different products to get my hair to “behave”, I started to realize that it is more than just hair. I started to notice the way I view my hair — it became an extension of the way I viewed a part of me and to be honest, that bothered me. You know just like many other Black women, my views on my (Black) hair were so negative and I was in a space where I needed to view everything about me as beautiful and perfect in its own right. That’s how I started loving my hair and nurturing it as such. I dedicated time to my hair and it grew so big and beautiful that people started asking me for advice. The more people asked me for help, the more I wanted to share the knowledge I have. After I got over my self-doubt, I decided to create this platform.
N: So after figuring out that this was what you wanted for yourself and for your image, did your natural hair journey begin as a transition or was it a big chop?
(If you did transition, how long was that process? If it was a big chop, what was the big story? I feel like every big chop has a big story)
K: Well I started out transitioning because the thought of cutting my long hair was too much! I hate how as Black women we can be so attached to the length of our hair — especially considering that our hair grows mainly in volume before length. So, six months after I began my transitioning, I decided to chop it off, and this is where I tell you my big story (laughs).
One night, my then boyfriend of two years comes to my house. While I am minding my own business, doing my girlfriending thing, he basically tells me that he met someone else 2 weeks prior (and whatever feelings he had developed for her during those 2 weeks are strong enough for him to want to leave me for her). How random and heart-breaking? So, the next day I decided to go “talk” to the girl but the joke was on me because when I got to her job, baby girl (a cutie with short hair) was on a lunch break with my “boyfriend”.
After causing a slight scene, I went to my aunt’s house because I just needed to cry in a loving environment (well that and I had a salon appointment the next day, and my aunt lived closer to the salon than I did). So, the next day arrives and I get to the salon. After Sanele took out my weave she asked me what I wanted to do. In my stressed out state, I told her to cut it all off. That’s how it happened. I didn’t have the energy to deal with my hair and I am convinced that on a subconscious level I thought that maybe if I looked like what he wanted, he would want me again. Sad right? So that is my big chop story — brought to you by heartbreak and low self-esteem (laughs)
N: This just threw me back to that “so are you over him now that you’ve cut your hair?” drag (laughs). I am so sorry you went through that but if we are talking silver linings, this story kind of propelled a brand in the end.
I’ve witnessed the growth of the natural hair movement I’d say, over the past 3-4 years. This makes me so excited for women of color who had previously struggled with this in areas like the workplace. Do you reckon this is one long trend or is it here to stay?
I reckon it is here to stay. As Black people, a lot of the messages about our identity have been relayed back to us as “less than” and when you take into consideration the oppression we have faced, you see why people finding beauty in themselves has been so impactful.
A lot of us are learning to love ourselves through simply embracing ourselves and that’s big. Whether it is through natural hair, telling more African stories or through representation — this Afrocentric movement we are experiencing is here to shake the tables that we were told we cannot sit at unless we change ourselves.
As someone who gets thrilled every time I watch a movie and see the main actress with braids or see big brands start to make ranges that cater for natural hair, I sure hope the movement is here to stay because for far too long, I have been treated like an unwelcome guest in my own country. I hope that because of this new found global pride in blackness, my kids won’t feel the need to “change themselves” in order to feel like they belong.
N: I love that. What would you say is/was your greatest fear and how have you conquered it?
K: I am terrified of geckos. I don’t care what anyone says, those things are creepy, shifty and whenever I see one I cry out for help. But on a serious note, my biggest fear is definitely failure and rejection. Just that “I am not good enough” feeling is the pits! Most recently, this fear has made its way into my thoughts when it came to starting my business. I am scared that my hair-care products aren’t going to work for people, I am scared that my business will fail, I am scared that I won’t be able to live out my dreams. I am however in a space where I am realizing that fear just isn’t working for me anymore. I am coming to terms with the fact that I should get used to failing because this is real life. It will happen and it is going to suck, but what I cannot let happen is for it to hold me back. And you know what? I would rather fail than live in regret.
N: Finally, before you sign off, who is your current hair crush?
K: Current hair crush? Just one?! Can I say me? No? okay… Well most recently I had @KaySonwabe host the monthly IG takeover on FrodayFridays and I love her! Great hair, great face and most importantly great hair-care.
Can you relate to Kat’s journey? Don’t forget to visit frodayfridays (Instagram) for your daily and weekly fro routines and product tips. You can also keep up with her on her personal IG thegalwithafro as well as her YouTube channel here