Avid readers of local publications may recognize Amonge Sinxoto from all the gorgeous photos that surfaced after Johannesburg’s first Afropunk festival back in December but hers is a name you should definitely remember going forward.
Who is she and what does she do?
Sinxoto is a matric student and a proud young Xhosa woman from Johannesburg, South Africa. She is also the co-founder of an African youth organisation called Blackboard Africa.
According to Sinxoto, Blackboard Africa is “a platform to inspire future ideas with a fresh perspective while maintaining a clear view of the mixed memories of our past. To create a space in real time and online where like-minded youth come together to write on this new board. Our vision of blackboard is a place to share ideas, intrigue our creative appetites through music, spoken word, art and sharing of beautiful stories.”
The platform takes the form of a youth forum and was established by the youth for the youth because Sinxoto and her peers didn't feel as though there was anywhere for them to engage with the rest of the world authentically.
Blackboard exists with the aim of achieving three main objectives; to help young people discover their inherent talents, to provide a platform for youth to vocalize their voice and celebrate their identity and to inspire leadership in their communities.
A passion for fashion
A quick scroll through her images on social media show a young woman who loves expressing herself through a variety of looks, both with her hair and the clothes she chooses to wear. When asked where she gets it from, she says she owes it all to her mother.
“Fashion, I can say, is somewhat in my blood. My mother is a fashion director/ stylist who has worked in the fashion industry since before I can remember. So I had always been exposed to fashion and clothing which essentially shaped the way in which I view it,” explains Sinxoto.
“My mom was always the one who basically forced me to stand out from the crowd in regards to fashion so that I'd know that swimming in your own lane was cool. I was able to witness fashion as a medium of storytelling which I truly admired and have since utilized for exactly that,” she added.
The execution of the teens’ looks has become more deliberate as she has gotten older.
“This year I promised myself that I would be intentional in all that I do. So, as I was conceptualizing my matric dance (prom) look, I knew even though it was generally a night to celebrate finally being in Matric and really a night to do the most and look amazing, I also saw it as an opportunity to say something, to make use of an unusual platform of expression.”
Sinxoto says that her main aim is to be intentional about the attention she is given and to say something meaningful.
“And so I chose to use this night to be a physical representation of my testimony as a young, black, middle-class girl living in South Africa in 2018. I wanted to wear my story, my struggles, my fears and my revelations for all to see.”
You may also notice that Sinxoto attended her matric dance with a famous face on her arm and when asked about it, all she said was that she had asked Isithembiso actor, Zamani Mbatha, to be her date.
Check out what they wore in the gallery below:
Photographer: Judd van Rensburg
Artistic Director/ Stylist: Mpumi Sinxoto
Makeup: Beverly Mushwana
Hair: Indique South Africa
Clothes (both his and hers): House of Ole
Artist: Zwelethu Machepa
Main image credit: Supplied. Photographed by Judd van Rensburg