Smangele’s love for hair began at a very young age. Her first client was her grandmother who complained about getting a new hairdo every day, but Smangele couldn’t help it. Today she owns Indalo Nubian Naturals, a natural hair salon every woman wants to visit.
“Sometimes I would dream of a certain hairstyle then wake up with an urge to recreate it into existence. I became the hairstylist of the family, everyone came to me to get their hair done and in primary school, I started doing hair for money. After high school, I trained at Jabu Stone Academy in Soweto where a two-week long course only lasted two days (lol) I was overqualified”
Later she would work at salons where she gained more experience and finally decide to spread her wings and fly.
“Working at other salons made me realise that I had to do something bigger, conflicts always arose when I wanted to steer the creative direction towards my vision. My first month unemployed was filled with clients walking in and out my flat to get their hair done and that gave me the confidence to open Indalo Nubian Naturals. I am thankful for all the experience I gained and the challenges I faced, they made me who I am today.”
Indalo Nubian Naturals Salon is situated in a vintage building with majestic doors and beautiful interiors. What sort of vibe were you going for?
“The one thing that has always driven me is my creativity, I wanted a space that is classy, clean and higher than my past experiences.”
What inspires you?
My background, the relationship I have with my grandmother and family. All of that contributed to me discovering my passion for hair, which was at once just a hobby.
“It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done a hairstyle before, every time I do it on Claire Mawisa people fall in love with it all over again.”
What has been the best moment for Indalo Nubian Naturals?
“Being featured on Top Billing twice. The first time was an interview for natural hair with Bonnie Mbuli and Samkele Ndlovu; the second time was a coincidence, we met again at a hair event and because I was a lead hairstylist they were happy to interview me again.”
What are Indalo’s signature hairstyles?
“I’d say two hairstyles; one is every hairstyle I do on Claire Mawisa. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done a hairstyle before, every time I do it on Claire Mawisa people fall in love with it all over again. She has been a great inspiration. Our second most popular hairstyle is our custom made Afro wig, Every time I post it on Snap Chat, it’s like I am posting it for the first time.
What do you look for when hiring a hairstylist?
“I love working with creative young people. The biggest thing I want for my hairstylists is to have the freedom to grow and have a strong portfolio when they leave Indalo Nubian Naturals. This place can get really get busy so a hairstylist has to also be willing to work crazy hours or work on big events like weddings.”
“After that first selfie I took, I will never look back.”
You are known for playing with hair dye; tell us about your love for colour?
“(lol) I am shy and colour speaks for me. When I add colour to my hair I do so to express myself in a way that I can’t as a shy person.”
What was the best moment for your hair?
“When I cut the Afro that I had growing for 2 years. I went to a Barber wanting a fade with my hair cut really short. After that, I felt like my hair was too plain so I tried green dye for the first time. After that first selfie I took, I will never look back.”
Indalo Nubian Naturals looks forward to reaching out to its clients around the country.
“Our clients come from all over the country so this year we’ll be having a salon mobile tour to meet and reach out to more women.”
Smangele wishes to open a natural hair academy to help young girls realise their talent and know that being a hairstylist can be a fulfilling career path.