99FM – Your Inspiration Station

Self Acceptance and Trust


“People will always have opinions so you might as well be yourself. I had to find that trust again, the same trust I had before society told me who I should be, it was beautiful.”

Namibia is about to see the arrival of our first ever hair and beauty expo focussing specifically on the natural-haired community. 99FM’s MYD Art sat down with one of the organisers Zodidi Gaseb to talk about the natural hair movement that is embracing natural hair and natural beauty.

99FM’s MYD Art asked :

How did you get into the business of advocating Natural Hair and self-acceptance?
“About 3 years ago, I did the big chop, which is basically cutting all your damaged ends off so you can reveal your natural strands and start growing your hair healthier. I did this because of my daughter and for myself. After I cut my hair I was confused because for the first time in years I didn’t know how to actually take care of my natural curls. I went onto youtube, various blogs and found ways on how to take care of my hair in this climate and society as well as starting my own line of natural hair products.. On this journey I received some good comments as well as bad which just encouraged me to be truly myself. The more I embraced my natural self, the more of a positive change I realized in my daughter, she even had her hair loc’d a year after I cut my hair. It is because of this that I continue to be true to myself and challenging stereotypes of how women should be according to society.”

Did you need to trust yourself to be able to do what you’re doing?
“Honestly, there were times I was not sure because I was aware that not everybody would react positively towards this change, but there was a sense of freedom when I decided not to care about others opinions about me. People will always have opinions so you might as well be yourself. I had to find that trust again, the same trust I had before society told me who I should be, it was beautiful.”

Why is it important that we learn to embrace our natural selves?
“If natural selves means your authentic self, I think it’s a necessity because society conditions us to look, act, dress, be a certain way and how liberating it is when you don’t conform because you are an individual. In terms of embracing natural hair, from my perspective, I’ve learnt about a healthier lifestyle, being conscious about what I put on and in my body, what products I use, if they are beneficial to my hair and scalp, or if they will cause more damage. There is also a bigger role we play as this generation. As a mother I have learnt that we set an example to the younger generation and we need to raise this generation to believe that it’s more than ok to be different, to be individuals, to be themselves in every sense of the word.”

Do you think it is important to trust yourself?
“Oh yes definitely! No one can be as consistently supportive of you as you can learn to be. Being kind to yourself increases self-confidence and lessens your need for approval. Loving and caring for yourself not only increases self-trust, it also deepens your connection with others.”

How did you learn to trust yourself?

  1. “Realize that failure isn’t a reason to judge yourself. This is really important, and if you learn nothing else, this is the takeaway. Instead of internalizing failure as an indicator that we are not trustworthy or not sufficient, we need to learn that failure is just an external event. Forgive yourself for past mistakes. This was a difficult one for me and it took me 4 years to learn how to do that. You have to be willing to want to change. Before you can start to trust yourself again, you have to go over all your past failures, and the bad feelings you have of them. Just take 10-20 minutes today to do that. Yes, you failed. Yes, that’s OK. We all fail. That’s no reason to feel bad about yourself. Let it go! Tell yourself that you are good, that mistakes we’re your fault but the fault of the method.
  2. Start to make and keep promises with yourself. This part takes longer, because trust isn’t regained overnight. Make small promises to yourself. Even something like I’ll cut my hair tomorrow, or I’ll read that book I’ve been meaning to read. Small promises, but big efforts to keep them. Over time, you’ll start to learn that you are trustworthy.
  3. Learn to get through the tough times. There will always be times when you don’t feel like doing the habit, when you feel like giving up, when you miss a day or two for various reasons and don’t feel like starting. First, recognize that these are dips in your motivation and that it will take a little extra effort to get through them. Second, recognize the negative thoughts you might be having about your ability to get through them, or the rationalizations that you have to not do it, and don’t listen. Third, tell yourself that all you need to do is find some extra motivation — ask a friend for help, go on the forum to ask for some accountability and encouragement, give yourself a big reward, announce a challenge just to get through this sticking point.
    I literally have 5 people whom I share my promises to myself with and they are great at reminding me and keeping me accountable.”

Do you think there is a link between accepting yourself and trusting yourself?
Yes, they are very closely intertwined. Once you learn to trust yourself, acceptance is part of the process. Self-trust can be summed up as the assured reliance on your own character, ability, strength, truth and individuality.

Tell us about the event you are hosting on the 12th of September?
The 1st Natural Hair & Beauty Expo is a showcase of local entrepreneurs who sell natural hair and beauty products, as well as vendors who will showcase some delicious food. We will also showcase upcoming artists such as Stardust and Meta as well as Ros Limbo, a poet. There will also be a discussion and debate platform to challenge stereotypes, information sharing and product reviews. A few months ago, Sharon Kasanda-Emvula, Kumbi Short, Patience Mukandi, Maliza Mukungu and I got together and wanted to share our stories, products and information with a bigger group of people who would appreciate it, and the expo was born. We also wanted to showcase other entrepreneurs as we’ve realized there’s been a boom in the local natural hair industry. Our overall objective is to encourage entrepreneurs to seize opportunity, to be different and to define their own beauty standards.


Poster 2
Watch Zodidi’s TEDx Windhoek talk here titled “I am not your stereotype. I am not my hair”