In the Ubuhle documentary film, directors Mbali Mashaba and Pretty Mangena delve deep into the politics of hair and beauty for women of colour living in South Africa. While African women have had these conversations before, whether as a group of friends, in the work place or on social media, we rarely ever see this conversation packaged and consolidated in a local documentary film.
Issues of colourism, what’s considered beautiful and what’s not, who is beautiful and who isn’t takes different forms but they all eventually determine who gets privilege and is in a better position to get more opportunities and grow. This, in the grand scheme of things determines what doors they’ll be allowed to enter, what positions they have the opportunity to occupy and who they can and can’t hang out with.
Most women if not all women are conscious of how they measure against societal standards of beauty and what it means to tick all the boxes and to tick none.
Poet Lebo Mashile, model and musician Baby Caramelle and others weigh in on this issue and how it has affected and continues to affect women. So far the documentary has screened at the Bioscope in Maboneng and at the Wits Main Theatre. On the 14th of November it will be screening at the Cherry Film Festival in Ficksburg. Follow the directors for more screening dates.