A model with albinism, Nontobeko would love to walk the Victoria’s Secret ramp one day and aspires to be a criminologist. She talks to us about her challenges, perceptions of beauty and what’s next.

Nontobeko - Africa Is Now Magazine

Tell us a little about your background.

I was born in Richards Bay, I grew up in Ladysmith and I was raised by my mother’s sister. I completed my degree in Political Science and Criminology in 2018, and I’m currently doing a diploma in Fashion and Textile. I love art.

How did you start your modelling career?

I was spotted by a photographer who assisted me in finding an agency.

Do you think the world of beauty and modelling is changing in that people are beginning to challenge narrow perceptions of beauty?

It’s gradually becoming more inclusive in the sense that it is now slowly allowing people of different shapes and shades to be a part of it and so more people relate to it.

How has your perception of beauty adapted over the years?

Meeting different types of people has taught me that there’s a lot more to beauty than how people look physically. Physical appearance is a part of beauty, but not entirely it.

Overall, what has your experience of being a model with albinism been like?

I would say it has been both positive and negative at the same time because people tend to underestimate your abilities because of your condition and that sucks. But sometimes I get jobs for being an albino which is good and bad, depending on how you look at it. I think I’ve shown a different side of people living with albinism – we are beautiful and capable of doing anything.

How has modelling helped you as a person?

It’s helped me to realise that my skin is gold and I should treat it as such.

What’s next for your career?

My ultimate goal in the modelling world is to be part of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I love helping people, especially those who can’t afford proper assistance in the crime field, so I’m planning on furthering my studies in criminology and in 10 years’ time I’ll be a practising criminologist.

What are your healthy habits?

I work out three times a week and I’m a vegetarian.

Any advice you’d like to give to other young people with albinism who might be struggling with traditional beauty ideals?

I think it’s time we stopped trying to be beautiful or accepted by society. We need to focus on being happy because I believe that there’s nothing more beautiful than being happy within yourself.

How would you describe your personal style?

Casual and relaxed.

Your top beauty tip?

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Nontobeko - Africa Is Now Magazine
Nontobeko - Africa Is Now Magazine
Nontobeko - Africa Is Now Magazine
Nontobeko - Africa Is Now Magazine
Nontobeko - Africa Is Now Magazine


How do you feel when you’re being photographed naked? 

Pumla: There is a range of emotions I tend to feel when being photographed naked. It can range from being free to feeling vulnerable. As an artist, I am always pushing to make myself feel confident in all shapes and forms. For me, it is all in the intentions of the connection between the eyes of the soul and the soul of the person behind the camera.

Kingsley: Being photographed naked in my opinion is a form of art. It tells a story and expresses an emotion or feeling, whether it’s hurt or happiness. This, in turn, gives me a very good understanding of my body, so yeah, I feel empowered.

However you identify sexually, what are your thoughts on the changing and increasingly complex views towards human sexuality?

Pumla: My sexual identity is my spiritual identity. In the sense that my preference doesn’t come in any shape or form. As a human being, I believe I deserve to desire and love whatever and whomever I want to regardless of gender, sex, race or even morality. I believe human sexuality is moving into a new form; a beautiful form where we are able to just adapt without feeling afraid.

Are the old views making way for new? Do you see younger people in Africa being more accepting towards all sexual orientations?

Pumla: I come from a strong Afro-Caribbean culture (Jamaican/Cuban) where it was taboo to be free in mind and spirit about sexuality. It was not something you were able to express. Since becoming my own person and living in South Africa and experiencing different types of people and cultures, my sexuality is not something that hinders me from making friends, hugging and telling my brothers or sisters that I love them. I feel we are in a generation where people are more loving and accepting of each other in general.

Kingsley: Yes, there are old views making way for new. The world is fast changing, as are our minds and thoughts towards life and I do see younger generations accepting sexual orientation and gender identities more than our forefathers. People are more verbal about different sexual orientation now than before.

What are your thoughts about the end result of the shoot?

Pumla: I was able to share a moment of brotherhood with my long-time friend and brother Kingsley, who is dear to my heart. This is someone who pushes me in the industry and something who has struggled as much as me to make a difference regarding the perception of black male models. I was able to connect to myself and my body and appreciate all that was given to me throughout the years. Each image is perfection and speaks volumes.

Kingsley: At first it was overwhelming because it’s the first time I’ve ever done this type of shoot. But in the process, I felt good about it because I was using the different angles of my body to describe the hurt/happiness of another person. It’s always important to put positivity into everything that you do… you might have just healed someone through these images. So, I felt good and excited when I saw the images.



Beauty Editor Alice Coloriti goes graphic to illustrate the bold make-up trend.

The super-natural and minimal make-up look is on the out. We still have the light, fresh base, but on the rest of the face, we’re free to play more with colours and shapes. Plenty of beauty brands, such as NYX Professional Makeup @nyxcosmetics_sa, have launched neon eyeshadow palettes, punchy eyeliners, highlighters, glitters and illuminating products. We zoned in on neon orange and yellow to illustrate the trend.


Take a look around Instagram and you’ll see thick sculpted eyebrows, heavy contouring, false eyelashes and paint-job lips. Long before the Kardashians were contouring themselves silly and even triggering a bizarre lip-plumping craze, drag queens had ‘mistressed’ the art of make-up. They’ve been influencing the beauty world for decades and this trend is a clear nod to their dramatic creative approach.


If you keep your foundation natural, you can go wild with colours on your eyes and lips because there’s a good balance. If everything is bold, it can be overwhelming.

It was dubbed the Fenty beauty effect, and over the past few years, many other brands have launched or expanded their foundation lines to include more shades, especially for darker skin. Now MAC Cosmetics is making a big statement of its own. The brand will be offering an additional 18 shades of its best-selling Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 The brand is also offering more shades for the entire Studio Fix Line, as well as additional shades of its concealer and contour palettes. The new Studio Conceal and Correct Palette is a must-buy for every woman with darker skin.

We used NYX Professional Makeup Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Delight once more, but this time we got creative with the shape. The key here is to make it easy and to first draw a guideline that follows your natural eye shape (don’t pull the side of your eye to smooth your skin). Then you can perfect your liner.

This eye colour is a blend of two colours from the new-to-SA brand Makeup Revolution SA Revolution Pro Pigment Pomade Classic Red and Revolution Pro Pigment Pomade Lemon Yellow. Take same amount of each colour and blend them in the palm of your hand, and then apply on the lid. Be creative and play with colours. Start off with primary colours and mix to create your personal colour blend. Their products are good quality and prices are affordable. For the gloss effect, we added MAC Lipglass Clear.

To highlight the face, we used NYX Professional Makeup Bright Idea Illuminating Stick in Rose Petal Pop. Whether you go for a natural look or full highlighting, the areas to highlight are always the same: cheekbones, tip of the nose, cupid’s bow and corners of the eyes.

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in What A Blast saturates the lips with colour and won’t wipe off easily.

We applied MAC Lipmix in Orange which is a highly pigmented cream that can be used to mix and customise lip colours. It’s great for creating your own unique shade



Beauty Editor Alice Coloriti on healthy, glowing summer skin.

The rich, deep beauty of your dark skin is special, and melanin is what makes all the difference. A pigment that gives your skin its colour, melanin is present in all skin types and colours, but darker skins have more of it. The plus side is that melanin offers you some protection from damaging UV rays, as your extra melanin is what helps absorb and disperse the sun’s rays. But while it does offer a little protection, dark skins can still get sun damage and skin cancer, so it’s important to always use sunscreen.

Be sun wise. When you go into the sun, you produce more melanin and if you don’t use sun protection, you’re prone to getting skin problems like bumps, rashes and dark marks. An excess production of melanin, produced in specialised skin cells called melanocytes, can lead to hyperpigmentation, where patches of skin become darker. There are numerous causes of hyperpigmentation, from post-pimple scarring to a skin condition like eczema.

If you’re worried about hyperpigmentation and other skin conditions, it’s best to make an appointment with a dermatologist who will diagnose and treat your skin accordingly.

Africa Is Now Magazine - Sun Kissed


As always, the first thing to do is exfoliate your skin. There’s no sense in moisturising your skin if you don’t first remove the layer of dead skin cells. The products will absorb better and hydrate your skin more effectively. I discovered local brand Bee Natural which makes products using pollen, beeswax, raw honey and propolis as their principal ingredients. They’re gentle on the skin and work well, too. I used Bee Natural Honey and Vanilla Body Scrub which is made with all-natural ingredients, including honey, brown sugar and vanilla, that wash away dirt and dead skin cells, leaving your skin polished and smooth. Using a scrub is essential to maintaining and replenishing your skin. But how often you exfoliate depends on your skin type. The oilier your skin, the more regularly you can use a scrub.


I applied the Bee Natural Head to Toe Healing and Beauty Balm. Like the scrub, this balm also contains gentle, natural ingredients that are super-hydrating: beeswax helps to reconstruct the skin and forms a protective barrier, keeping moisture locked in; raw honey opens up the pores so they can be properly cleansed; bee pollen nourishes the skin, keeping it healthy; propolis acts as an antioxidant and healing anti-inflammatory; and finally, cold-pressed avocado oil, which is packed with essential nutrients, conditions the skin.

To protect the skin, I used one of my favourite brands for skincare and sunscreen – Eucerin. Their products are especially good in terms of hydration and the sunscreen products are light in consistency and don’t irritate the skin.

It’s a good idea to use a sunscreen formulated for the face such as Eucerin Sun Creme SPF50+ and a different one for the body like Nivea Sun SPF50.

Nandipha, Kathlego and Kitso, who modelled for us in the sun-kissed body shoot, give us their top five tips to keep skin hydrated and glowing

Nandipha Gumede @blaqjello

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! In winter, my skin is forever dry, but I’ve noticed in summer I have a natural glow, so I don’t have to do too much work. After taking a shower, I use unscented coconut oil and it stays locked in.

Always use sunscreen. I know black don’t crack, but I don’t feel like tempting fate. I use sunscreen before applying my foundation and even my foundation has an SPF to keep me protected.

Try not to wear make-up. All right I know I just mentioned foundation, but it’s a good idea to let your skin breathe when you can. So, if I’m not working, I usually don’t wear any make-up, not even mascara. Just clean skin, moisturiser and sunscreen, and I’m good to go.

Drink water. It may sound obvious, but it really works. Drink enough water to keep your skin and
body hydrated.

My last tip is don’t let people make you feel self-conscious. We all have different skin types and skin tones, and what might work for you, may not work for me – and vice versa. If you’re unsure, get advice from a skin specialist. Also, get enough Vitamin D – get out in the sunshine for 15 minutes a day!

Kathlego @katomarley

Exfoliate your skin regularly

Use bathing gloves every day as a light exfoliator.

Give yourself monthly exfoliating body-scrub treatments – I use a mixture of lemon drops, coconut oil and bicarbonate of soda

Drink as much water as you can.

Exercise to keep the blood flowing.

Kitso @kitsokgori

I like to use a shower gel like Sanex which cleanses my skin well.

I follow this up with a nourishing lotion like Nivea Q10 Firming Body Lotion
and Bio-Oil.

I drink water as much as I can and try to eat fresh salads and non-oily meals.

Sunscreen is vital! Even when you’re dark skinned, you need to protect your skin the same as any other skin colour.

Always remove your make-up before you sleep.




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