Lois Abena Duncan

Photo Credit: Timothyna Duncan

Photo Credit: Timothyna Duncan

I remember my first year of university, when my friend Dami introduced me to the world of vintage. It blew my mind; the way she moved and sifted through clothes in vintage stores to find the coolest pieces and the way she always managed to find the perfect piece to fit with what she already had. She mixed and matched so perfectly. It was intriguing to watch. 

My perspective on colours has changed since then. Before this, I had always been afraid to wear colour. Black always seemed to be the safest option, because I thought it hid parts of my body I didn't want to highlight. It's taken me a while to embrace my curves, so this was the main reason for the fear. A breakthrough came after watching my friends use the prettiest and most colourful head scarves. I became more aware of my love for colours and decided to wear what looked best in my own eyes and not that of others.

 I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, but I know that I get called out for looking too old or too 'ethnic' when I wear colourful headscarves. Shyness sets in sometimes, but with time, I have learnt not to care, and to wear what pleases me. Fortunately, there are several YouTube tutorials that guide me through the process of tying them, so that's helpful.

With Afefa Bestman, a friend

 Photo Credit: Jillography Photography

So yes Colours don’t have to be complicated, complex or too much, and neither do Ankara prints. Mixing and matching is tedious sometimes, but don’t be scared to do it.

Photo Credit: Timothyna Duncan

Photo Credit: Timothyna Duncan

Photo Credit: Timothyna Duncan

Photo Credit: Timothyna Duncan


#Ankara #Color #Fashion #Confidence



A Pop of South African Flavour

Timothyna Duncan

Appreciation of Art is not a right reserved for hipsters. It is the norm.

I had visited the southern tip of Africa, expecting to focus on politics, race, social constructs and other buzzwords I used in the essays I wrote in college.  But as I toured several parts of the country including the laid back Europe-esque parts of Cape Town as well as the buzzing, edgy parts of Johannesburg, I could not help but be amazed by the vibrance and soul that run through the cities.

Photo Credit: Jeanne Kuang

I joined a blind man, who had a wide smile and an infectious laugh, singing “Amazing Grace” by the street.

Johannesburg: Western, but with a pop of South African Flavour

Fashion and Art were comfortable residents in Johannesburg. I noticed stylish and artful people and neighbourhoods--rich and poor--everywhere I went. Many homes and neighbourhoods reminded me of  Brooklyn in New York City. They were artfully painted with bright colours and graffiti. Pieces of art could be found in government buildings or in a poor man’s shack.

Photo Credit: Anthony Settipani

These are artefacts I found while touring South Africa’s Constitutional Court


I am from Ghana and I’ve thought of myself as a connoisseur of African interests and fashion styles. South Africans threw me off. The Jo’burg and Cape Town residents I saw infused Western and African designs to create a cocktail of fashion styles I am still yet to wrap my head around. Perhaps what fascinated me was, appreciation of art and fashion was not a right reserved for the hipsters. It was the norm.

I saw a mother walking her children down the mall matching unlikely, Ankara clothes, and I would see the bus driver wearing colourful striped socks and a hat, adorned with colourful  patterns.

Several definitions of Beautiful

Many women in South Africa wore their hair short, and natural or had braids in all shapes and sizes delicately decorating their scalps.

The women in Johannesburg seemed unrestricted by rigid beauty standards. There were different shapes and shades of women in fashion shows and on the billboards: curvy, white,dark skin, thin, light skin....

Photo Credit: Fredrik Lerneryd 

Lipsticks were less of an accessory, and more of a necessity for women in South Africa. They were like house keys in a purse. Every woman had them. Even in the closely-knit “kombies” (informal buses) women touched up on their lipsticks, and skipped the mascaras, foundations, etc.

Photo Credit: Moeketsi Moticoein

The men’s fashion was bold yet simple. Top-buttoned button-downs were very popular among the men.  Several South African men wore patterned shirts and often completed this look with hats. Their fashion style infused Ankara designs and was a masculine chic.

Courtesy of: Modise Sekgothe

Courtesy of: Modise Sekgothe

In a society that was so unequal financially and so different racially, the appreciation of art and fashion was the denominator that seemed to bind the people of South Africa.