24 December 2016

Fat Girl Shopping: Summer Body

Shopping For Plus Size Swimwear in South Africa

south african plus size blogger,

Shopping for plus size swimwear hasn't been much of a consideration for me because big bodies of water aren't a thing in my life. But because I'm thinking about swimwear for plus size women, I found myself thinking about being in water as well.

One of my swimming-related memories, that aren't that one time I almost got swept away by a river current as a child or my first time in a swimming pool when I visited KwaMashu when I was seven years old, just popped into my head as I am thinking about how scarce water has been in my life since I moved away from a place with rivers. I am 10 years old and we are on a school trip. For some reason, I am wearing my black and white school uniform, which isn't even the school I attend's uniform. We are going to one of Durban's beaches and I'm excited. At the beach, a girl named Boh lends me her floral tights and I swim in them and the under vest my mother -- all the way in Johannesburg -- taught to me to wear when I lived with her for the first time the previous year. I'm fat so I stretch the tights.the ride up my thighs and I remember feeling bad afterwards. But never while I was playing in the waves.

A few weeks ago, I went to Donna to try on their swimwear selection and it was an insightful exercise.  

8 December 2016

Their Names

Trigger warning

nokuphila kumalo, corrective rape, eudy simelane, women's month, women killed in south africa, 16 days of activism, noluvo swelindawo

On Monday, I typed two words in in all caps in my email's draft and watched as the red lines appeared under each word. This is what happens when computers don't recognise the name (usually when it's not a Western or English name). The red lines underlined the words Noluvo Swelindawo. My heart was broken and heavy. Two words. A name and a surname. A black girl. Dead. Made dead by violence and hatred. It had been three months since I last did that.

Help #GetSibutoLA

Watch the video and reshare it.
For the culture.

26 November 2016

What to Do in Soweto

soweto, visit soweto, soweto activities, south african tourism, what to do in soweto
Things to do in Soweto away from Vilakazi Street

16 November 2016

How Earphones Help Me Navigate Public Spaces

cute cat ear heaphones, kawai headphones, cheap rosegold earphones in south africa,
I'm coming up to three weeks of navigating the world without earphones. The pair that came with my current phone seems to have disappeared to where beloved things go. I wasn't too upset when I realised because only one earphone was still working at that point. But this sudden disappearance has meant that I'm commuting and walking in a way that might suggest that I'm more interested in engagement than I actually am. When in doubt, assume I'm not. Truthfully, people merely being in your orbit does not automatically mean they want to talk to you.

4 November 2016

What it’s Like to Wear a Crop Top With a big Belly

south-african-plus-size-blogger, plus size fashion blogger,

Fat-acceptance is not a destination. I always think that these are my best days body love-wise but then I catch myself at an angle in the mirror at my work toilet and I mutter something like “wtf, stomach?” I have accepted those days as part of the package. Maybe it would be great to be able to live without any doubt regarding my fat body. (No maybe about it, tbh.) But this doubt says, in a small way, that I’m human. Even with that lapse, I still believe I am a good person and that my body as it looks is a good body to be in. Even with my belly doing the most.

1 November 2016

5 Things Moving Has Taught Me

soweto blogger, young south african blogger, travel to soweto, soweto travel guide,
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we were finally able to move to a bigger space – a house! Well, on Saturday was a whole month since three dudes piled everything into a bakkie – to my disbelief – and drove a few kilometers to where my sister and I now live. A month, sbali! This is what I've learnt about myself and other stuff. Realising things, bbz.

20 October 2016

Wearing Black in Spring

South-african-plus-size-blog, south-african-plus-size-blogger
It's ridiculous to me that on a weekend it could be bitey enuf for me to wear a poloneck and a few days later, it's 30+ degrees outside. Now it's raining (blessing!) and cold but I know the heat is out there. Lurking and licking its lips. I kind of hate winter now -- it was appealing when I believed I could get rich and spend my perpetually wintry life being luxurious and doing luxury bitch things but I'm not sure about this warm thing either, hey. 

16 October 2016

New Place Wish List

At the end of September, I packed up my life -- notebooks, piles of notebooks, magazines and books, piles of clothes and kid sister -- and moved house. It was exhausting. We haven't even finished unpacking but we are HERE!

12 October 2016

Using Uber in Johannesburg

Why I mostly hate Uber and the (very easy) hack a driver taught me

uber, uber in south africa, uber jhb, using uber in johannesburg, does uber work in soweto, does uber go to soweto, uber africa, uber discount code, how to use uber, how much does uber cost in south africa,

I don't have a car. Not only that, but I also don't drive. These two things can be very disadvantageous when you are looking for work (as I learned from my 15 months of unemployment between 2014 and 2015) or you are a person trying to have a life filled with moments of going places. The Johannesburg geography and our poor public transport systems mean that night life can be hella exclusive

2 October 2016

Bae Caught me Slippin'

how to style a slip dress, plus size styling advice, plus size dress, rihanna inspired plus siz,

I walk past a lot of "ngoja" shops on my way to my taxi each morning. Most of the times, unless I'm very preoccupied /overtly anxious, I think about how easy it is to dress like yourself, "be stylish" and dress like a thot when you're thin. Sometimes I tweet my feelings on the matter. My envy feelings have been on a lot of items, but none like the slip dress.

12 September 2016

When Brands Reclaim Their Narrative

Why #LoveMyCarvelas Misses the Mark but is Unsurprising

Black youth have made industries out of OK brands that weren't checking for them for generations. It's a part of blackness, to make something out of nothing, to make your own symbols and darlings. My father and his brothers wore Adidas slides and Kappa suits. By the time he was working, Crockett & Jones shoes became his staples. None of those were designed with him in mind. Who would have imagined Italian leather moccasins resonating a world away  in the townships with black kids and their cool older cousins?

6 September 2016

Five Years of Nomali from Soweto

I bought a domain. You are reading this on nomalifromsoweto.com and I never really thought that would happen. A couple of months ago, I bought a pre-designed theme. Nothing fancy. It was on sale. I saw it and thought I might as well since I was yet again trying to redo this blog's look and I wasn't quite sure if the two column situation had ruined the design forever. Buying this current design was easy because I knew it would be a way for me to stop overthinking and over-tinkering and wasting my data.

22 August 2016

When You Are Fat, You Get Excited About a Pair of Jeans

south-african-plus-size-blogger, plus-size-south-africa

This is my second pair of jeans in four years. Jeans were never really a big part of my wardrobe growing up because I hated bootleg jeans with a passion and the whole low-rise thing the 00s had going on made me feel bad about my fupa (fat upper pelvic area/mkhaba and love handles). Or whatever. But by my late teens -- first year -- I began wanting jeans in my life. I remember, in first year I had a pair of jeans my mother had bought for me when I was, like, 15, taken in because I'd lost weight and alterations don't cost as much as a new pair. Anyway. Back to my new jeans and going jean-less for four years...

7 August 2016

Fat Girl Shopping: 3 Merien Hall Dresses at Edgars

merien hall dresses

I don’t know much about the Merien Hall brand that Edgars carries. I’ve mostly encountered it at the store on Rissik – not that I visit many Edgars stores anyway. But I thought maybe it’s Australian and that's what I'm going with since google couldn't school me otherwise. If you know the true Merien Hall story, please leave me a comment! 

If you'll be attending a wedding this summer and need a dress, Merien Hall is worth a look -- even though their sizing is pitiful.

3 August 2016

3 Reasons You Should Try Garnier Pure Active 3 in 1

garnier 3 in 1 face mask, garnier pure active south african review, south african beauty blogger, claymask review,

Who's up for a switch up? The last few posts have been rather word-heavy, which is great! But I've decided to finally get around to reviwing the garnier Pure Active 3 in 1. Who doesn't like the dog ear and flower crown filter? I've gotten in the habit on turning to Snapchat whenever I'm getting my mask on, usually on a Saturday, and waiting for the fifteen minutes to pass. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally realised why the Garnier Pure Active 3 in 1 product is worth a buy. 

25 July 2016

Being a Person on the Internet

I don't think of myself as outright "likeable." I'm kind, I'm funny, I can be helpful and friendly.  A big chunk of the time I'm prickly at best. I can be withdrawn and that's my best mode. I sink into myself like an old, comfortable couch and the world disappears. I'm not nice, which you know is rarely acceptable on a woman, even less when you are black. This is not how you get people to care about your blog (or other work).

20 July 2016

The Foxy Five: A Celebration of Intersectionality that Falls a Little Short

the foxy five, foxy five webseries, nadia newman, african webseries, feminism,

The net has opened up opportunities for marginalized storytellers around the world. Daily, hundreds of thousands of digital natives watch, read and listen to stories that would have otherwise gone untold had it not been for the (debatably) accessible platforms the internet has made possible. I’ve watched close to half a dozen young black people from around the world talking about life, blackness in an anti-black society and belonging while the London-based filmmaker Cecile Emeke trained her lens on them. Emeke is also the brain behind the short film (and six-part web series) Ackee and Saltfish about two best friends. It’s that simple, just two black girls being.

17 July 2016

How to Waste a Tuesday Night in Johannesburg

From the old JHB Hive when I went to see The Honey.

Johannesburg winters are terrible. Even when they're mild. In the evenings after work (and through my two taxis), I keep my head down and imagine my house socks on my feet. My bra off. Warm.
Last Tuesday, I delayed this joy because a friend and I wanted to see an artistic director and visual artist "in conversation" with an arts editor.

10 July 2016

Protective Style Moisturising

How I have been keeping my scalp not dry while my hair is in braids (twists protective styling).

how to take care of box braids, how+to+keep+box+braids+looking+fresh, take_care_of_natural_hair_in_protective _style

My scalp can get very dry. In fact, it has been itchy and dryness ville up in there. There was a patch so dry one time that, if I didn't know for a fact that my last relaxer was during that bad decision in 2012, I would have thought my scalp was suffering the effect of relaxer burn. I blame the dryness and itch on my still having not figured out my moisturising.

8 July 2016

Recent Beauty Favourites

beauty bloggers south africa, plus size beauty blogger, south african beauty blogger, black girls who blog, grey box braids,

Hi, I'm Nomali, and I'm obsessed with lip colours. I'm finally doing a post on my recent favourite beauty buys and decisions.

5 July 2016

After June

Using stylised "lifestyle" stock images on my life blog feels weird.

June has been a ride. Not terrible, just filled with a lot of feelings. For seven years, June has been an incredibly tender time for me. Tender like pins and needles when your limb has dozed off. Tender like gushing. An outpouring. 

22 June 2016

The Greys

south-african-plus-size-blogger, south-african-plus-size, blog-south-africa,
If you have read my wardrobe "mood board" for autumn and winter 2016 (and the foreseeable future, tbh) then this dress and look in general isn't much of a surprise. Grey and "ribbed" are a big part of what I'm currently thinking about for clothes. 

20 June 2016

Fat Girl Feels

#HereIAm by JC Penny

jc penny campaign, self-love, plus size campaign, body positivity,

Ok, first things first, this video made me tear up. That’s how much representation matters. It’s life-affirming to see yourself in things, and this JC Penny ad/video has done a little of that for ya grl.

10 June 2016

On The Yearning

One of my favourite people, and my current writing partner, wrote a book. This isn’t new. She wrote it ages ago. She finalised the manuscript in 2012. She allowed me to read it in late 2015, she was fed up with our publishing industry and was quarter to self-publishing it. To get it into the world. “100 coppies,” she had said.

Then life happened.

the yearning book, the yearning, mohale mashigo, south african author, new south african book, sowetogalsbeauthorstoo, which book should i buy, african literature, book recommendation,

9 June 2016


Lol, should I have just left out the "A" for autumn in this? 

I have been thinking (more often) about what it would take for me to dress like myself. What that would look like outside the functional, "it fits" clothes I have in my mother's wardrobe. I see things from a moving taxi and want them: A champagne, knee-length jumper situation with high slits, faux leather motor jackets, a faux fur gilet (it's in the wrong colour, I convince myself). But is that even my style? If the gilet were forest green, would I be a faux fur vest sort of person? Where would I wear it to?

But in April, I made a realistic (in the sense that I liked the items, not in terms of size availability) list of things I wouldn't mind making a part of my autumn and winter uniform. This post is about that list.
My winter (life, tbh) palette.

5 June 2016

Meet my New-New Phone

south african blogger instagram, south african tech review

have bought the Hisense Infinity Prime twice in under six months.

It's no longer really news, but I have graduated from Blackberry to Android. This can be seen in how much more active I have been on Instagram these last few months. I got my first Blackberry (an 8520) at my first job. I was 19, and suddenly, I had email, long internet and apps. I really got into Twitter around that same time too. 

3 June 2016

How to Eat Johannesburg - A Guide

I was a notorious picky eater in my childhood. Which simply means I was picky about where I ate. I loved my food (but not cooked carrots) and I ate it. In the safety of, like, my home or my friend's house where I couldn't resist her grandfather's peanut butter porridge.

johannesburg foodie recommendations, johannesburg street food,

A part of me wonders whom I'm writing this to because if you travel the Johannesburg CBD on the daily and aren't eating it, angazi. How are you?

24 May 2016

Evans South Africa

So Evans, the company responsible for my favourite, blogger-fueled envy phase aka the great two-piece of 2014, is now available in South Africa through Spree.
Gabifresh in the two-piece of my dreams.

15 May 2016

Ash, Bye.

I honestly have two references for camphor. One is the advert, which was a fixture in the late 90s about the man stranded on a desert who'd rather die of thirst than be ashy. The second, more important, reference is that I was such a Vaseline baby (the petroleum jelly) that one time I used camphor from head to toe and sweated my life away.
south african beauty blogger, vaseline intensive care revie, vaseline camphor restore review

So when I was approached and offered a gift of the new Vaseline intensive care camphor restore for review, I was curious. When winter approaches, I have to complicate my body care regime a little. By which I mean I pull out all the oils to add to my lotion routine. A product aimed at helping dry winter skin recover is exactly the sort of thing that could change my winter moisturising routine for the better. 

Here's a little review of the Vaseline intensive care camphor restore if you are shopping around for a new moisturiser/body lotion this autumn/winter.

12 May 2016

Calling Myself Fat

 fat positive blogger, plus size african blogger, south-african-plus-size-blogger,
It's not me being cute, I don't have the body privilege that would take.

28 April 2016

Hair Care

My first decisions when I got a job last year included paying back rent (what a relief, how embarrassing) and coming through on an old promise to buy my sister a new (better from what she'd had) phone. I then bought coconut oil. It was generic and I got the version that doesn't have the smell. I couldn't afford to pay extra for the smell but also, like, I'm not walking around making the world crave Romany Creams -- this joke is not mine. I'm a saint, tbh. A poor saint but still.

A few months into the coconut oil, I finally added a water spray as it was something I felt I needed. I don't care about shrinkage and love putting water in my hair. The daily -- or every other day -- combination of water and coconut oil was all right. My hair was taking to it. But I needed more, especially when I tired of the coconut oil and started noticing that while my coils were oiled and nice, my scalp was a desert road. 

13 April 2016

Jean 2 Jean

Who among us doesn't have a secret pinterest board of Rihanna looks we would one day like to try? An anonymous tumblr? A folder in your phone/computer? It's a rite.

While I have a few Rihanna LEWKS chilling in my my (nonexistent) dreams board, or whatever they are called, there is one that I have always carried in my ~heart~ as a jean lover. It seemed practical and doable, unlike the other looks, which I could only emulate with my attitude and not in actual outfit form because it's hard for a fat thot. I can barely get basics in life, how would I get a velvet tsupna? When I finally found a denim skirt I liked, I knew it was time to put this goodness in the world.
south african plus size blogger, plus size blogger south africa,

23 March 2016

The Power in Beyoncé Getting Blue Ivy in Formation

"I'm a star"
By now, it's old news. Sometime on Saturday, 7 February -- US time -- Beyoncé snatched her fanbase and most breathing black women bald. Everybody was minding their own business aka anticipating what Beyoncé would do at the superbowl the next day when she decided to slay us.

By now, you know that Beyoncé released a song and music video that stinks with Southern US black pride. You know that the next day she took to the Superbowl stage accompanied by 30 black women all dressed in black and berets, bringing to mind Black Panthers. You know her white audience was confused af and nobody actually cares. Shurrup, black women are talking about a black woman's art.

16 March 2016

LA Girl Matte Lip Gloss at Dischem

buy matte lip gloss in south africa, la girl matte lip gloss review

In November, during what I can only describe as a haze of menstrual pain fuckery, I rushed to the Dischem by my job to get some Nurofen. Then I started thinking, I was already there and it was the nice kind of Dischem. The kind where old white women surely shop. Where it's the stock is up to date. I'd already gotten my coconut oil at my local-ish outlet -- read underwhelment here. What else could I get? Oooh! A cleanser. Yes, I need one of those. I went with a pink Nutrogena liquid (I'm pretty sure that it's grapefruit?) It was then, while loitering and sniffing up and down the aisle, that I remembered I have lips, which I like to colour. Not only that, but I've meant to colour with the famous LA Girl Matte shandis. I scurried over and discovered that not only did they have a variety in stock but the also had one in purple. It's called, "black current," you know, like the Drink O-pop flavour. I love purple lips so I had to have it.

la girl matte lip gloss review

14 March 2016

Trying to Change my Mind About Donna Claire

south african plus size blogger,

Donna Claire makes me sad. It's the one place where my Fat Girl Feels go to die. But, sometimes I see something that sparks my hope because clearly I haven't accepted that this relationship is really bad for me and I should let it go. Last December, the thing that made me hopeful was the swimwear situation they had going. It wasn't perfect but THEY HAD TWO-PIECE OPTIONS. 

I was at the mall a few weeks ago, hoping I don't die, and wandered into the Donna Claire store. I saw the was a sale going (still expensive) and I thought it wouldn't hurt to try on a few of the pieces I didn't completely hate.

2 March 2016


All Hail The Honey

Fun fact: I thought up this series, IDKWCIDWM, after seeing the first few images in the first chapter of "The Honey" series by graphic designer/illustrator/all round genius, Rendani Nemakhavhani aka MissBlacDropp aka Praise Be! and her collaborators, the photographers, D.O.Ps and art directors Kgomotso Neto Tleane and Khotso Mahlangu.

 For days, I was thinking about that first series of of photos: a black woman in  a sundress carrying imvubu. I wanted to talk about the concept and the meaning -- not what Rendani set out to do, but what I found in it -- with someone who'd get it. I wanted to write about it but in those first fews days, I really didn't know what to say. I wanted to gesture. I wanted to smile smugly. I really didn't know what to do with myself. And here we are.

12 February 2016

Jet Love Yourself Campaign

jet love yourself campaign, yoliswa mqico jet love yourself, LeeAnne Dlamini model, nova masango, jet fashion, jet store plus sizes,

Pretty much everyone who uses on the the internet in South Africa -- likely the Southern African region at large -- is likely to have seen Jet's new campaign. I came across the Jet Love Yourself campaign not because I'm very good at the internet or on any PR lists that would have made sure it comes through to me as a fat South African woman interested in body positivity and representation across our media. The Jet Love Yourself Valentine's campaign found me through the very basic act of a colleague uploading the video in the "random" channel on slack.

I, of course, really enjoy this campaign. Not only does it showcase quite a variety of different bodies and women -- who are not models -- from different fields discussing what self love means, it also manages to keep the focus on the women and Jet's customers by extension. After I was done freaking out, I started thinking about the campaign's command to women: Love Yourself dammit. Many brands over-simplify self-acceptance as if it were something we as women don't actively pursue after we finally realise that our relationships with our bodies, media and other external forces is not healthy. As if it's not ongoing. Daily practice. A number of the women mention this in the video. It takes time, you are doing well. We are all doing well. Take another step.

10 February 2016


Mpho Sebina Covers

It's been a long/hard few weeks and, like, I'm thankful I discovered this music. So thankful. For the first time since I thought up this series of posts, I literally don't know what to do with myself or what to say. But I hope you enjoy this music and I hope this post is what you needed to hear.

Fun fact: though the memories are not solid or rooted in time, I'm pretty sure I had "Lerato" in my life back when I was a child and didn't even understand the language.

Thank you to Mpho. Thank you to Brenda. Thank you to Boom Shaka and, my love, Lebo.

8 February 2016

Lush South Africa

Back in December, at my job they made an announcement that we would go to Lush South Africa as a treat for everybody for pulling through the year (two months for me) and generally being nice to work with. The deal was that Lush South Africa was the only place that we would be able to get up to a whole lot of treating ourselves. But I had questions.

Lush bath bombs available in South Africa, Lush south africa, good lush bath bombs

22 January 2016

Candyfloss Bbz

I found this shirt, which, beautiful a it is, wrinkles horribly, on my first thrifting trip of the year. I bought a playsuit, crop top and shirt from a label called "Harry Potter" for my shop. And this little thing for myself. And then, when I started thinking about wearing it and how I would "style" it, I also started thinking about the bbz aesthetic. How would a bbz dress? How would a bbz worthy of my time dress? Cool was the first word. Cool as in laid back but also playful. As often is the case when I channel cool, boyish, I think of my father and his brothers. And gold teeth. And shy smiles, always shy smiles. 

Shirt &Trousers - thrifted, Shoes - Adidas

So here I am, channeling my inner bbz. Thinking of all the tender boys who have internalised all the fucky things, beautiful boys I cannot help love on sight. It's also worth noting that, while I was being in all these feels and pretty, I got my first period of the year. Funtimes. I'm mentioning this because I think I made the most ME instagram post on that day/off the downer of getting my period. Bbzes make things happen. Bbzes are beautiful. Bbzes are life. That's my bbz life mantra or whatever.

Sharrout to my co-worker who still agrees to take pictures of me even though I'm not the most pliable in front of the camera. Thanks, bbz.

20 January 2016

Fat Girl Shopping #2

south african plus size blogger,

In which I'm in the Mr Price dressing rooms, discuss the harmfulness of "removing the plus" and venture into the realm of Sandton City solely for the goodness -- for me because I'm probably on the average-ish side of of fat -- that is American sizing. Stained mirror pictures and (not as many clothes as I initially thought I shot) ahead.

15 January 2016

Orange. Wind.

I cannot get over how really bad my hair is here. 

Immediately after I nagged my co-worker into taking these pictures for me (and lured her with great poses that didn't materialise once the camera was out) I began writing this in my head. It was the 11th of January so I definitely wanted to address how I wouldn't be 23 much longer. I wanted to discuss that end and those feelings. By the 12th, it started feeling more and more like loss than anything. I wouldn't be 23 anymore. Or 22. or 21. Had the years even meant anything? Time is just so fast and I'm a slow bloomer. I'll never catch up to it. Let alone settling my bones in it.

It feels like loss even though I'm grateful to be here. To be able to count the years in my fingers like I was taught as early as three years old. You know what Sandra Cisneros writes in "Eleven," of which I've only read extracts (thank you, tumblr), you are never just eleven. I always feel like I'm just 23. Just 24. 24 and regretting not going out at 23, not loving myself better at 22, not snatching the world at 21. I'm like those stacked dolls (one inside the other until there's only the big one visible) in the worst ways. I cannot see the good 23-year-old in me. The strengthened 20-year-old. But I know myself

I wish I knew where this blur was leading. This rush that leaves me spinning each year I have to start a new age.

plus size bogger shorts,south african plus size blogger, plus-size-blogger-south-africa,

south african plus size blogger, plus size summer style, plus size solange inspired,
Top - Thrifted, Shorts - Thrifted + DIY-ed from bad bootleg jeans, Shoes - Likely Adidas.

I have worn this combo at least three times. Each time it's worth it. I used to live in boxer shorts that dipped in the meeting of my thighs because, regardless of weight, my thighs are always fat. I used to live in the shortest shorts but on two occasions -- before December came and made me reckless and carefree -- I chose to take these ones off and not wear them in public. It's not my thighs. I love my thighs. I use taxis. I go from where I stay to Noord and from Noord on wards. I cannot just wear things carefreely. I have to decide if on that day my scowl is big enuf to carry the look. Will I be able to not flinch should a man decide to do something. Will I? When December came, I decided I was menacing enuf. Fresh out of fucks.

All I really know now is I'm in orange. I decide my teeth are enough to support me should the need arise. The wind was in my hair. I count all the years. I'm still here. Maybe still 10 years old as much as I am not strictly 23. It's the wind. It's my hair. It's my eyes barely open. It's me.

14 January 2016


#BlackFolk by Elise R. Peterson

I came across this collage series by American artist, writer, educator Elise R. Peterson a few weeks ago. I was lurking Peterson (through Adult Mag) as I do most women writers/artists I find. I put names in google, I fall down rabbit holes: I click on everything they've done and recommended. My blackberry inevitably shuts down and I lose all the pages. But I never forget.

 Grace meets Matisse by Elise R. Peterson
© Nomali from Soweto | South African lifestyle blog. Design by FCD.