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Woza Sisi | Photos of Street Hairstylists by Dahlia Maubane

In her work-in-progress photo series Woza Sisi, photographer and multimedia designer, Dahlia Maubane, creates a new lens through which to look at the lives and experiences of migrant women who line the streets of Johannesburg working as street hairstylists. The series exposes hardworking women who execute artistry daily in the form of hairstyles but whose contribution to street culture is often overlooked.

Wozi Sisi explores how these street hairstylists work, negotiate, navigate and shape the complex demarcated trading zone. Showing the often overlooked business side of these women; Dahlia’s images aim to tell of how the women are placed in groups and have a block leader who makes sure they adhere to the informal street trading by-laws of the city of Johannesburg; how they form a network of service providers sharing ideas and skills; attract and maintain a clientele; and produce value at a minimal cost while dealing with firm competition. Dahlia hopes to give us a broader view of these women’s lives beyond their mobile studio comprising of a chair, marketing boards depicting types of hairstyles they can execute and their call to potential clients –“woza sisi, woza uzobona, woza nice”.  

In a collaboration with DOPEstore, Woza Sisi will be shown as part of a series of cultural events hosted monthly at the concept store to develop visual arts. DOPEstore will be working with different creatives in the fields of art, fashion and music. The photography exhibition will also launch Woza Sisi merchandise to be revealed on the opening night, which will be available at the store throughout the duration of the exhibition.

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