The Initiate

In our daily life, we sometimes find ourselves stuck between traditional and modern living. Meet Nomfundo Zama, a woman who embraced her Zulu tradition, or rather her calling, and founded an organization called “The Initiate”. Here they use natural and traditional materials such as impepho, ibovu to create everyday self-care products. At the heart of their products is impepho which they infuse to products like soaps, teas, oils, sprays and other beauty products.

Miss Zama was born and raised in KwaMakhutha but spent more time in Amanzimtoti where she attended Warner Beach Preparatory and Kingsway High School. She is now based in Durban North. When I asked her how “The Initiate” came about, this is what she had to say:

It came about through my journey of self discovery and a quest to reconcile parts of my identity as a traditional Zulu woman living a modern life in the city. Things like burning impepho and incorporating it into my daily routine while living in a flat with people who don’t share the same belief system were particularly challenging. After ample research on how to infuse impepho into my essential self-care product, “The Initiate” was born.

She started making products for herself and also shared with friends. She soon had orders from strangers who had heard about her products. Some of her best-loved products are:

  • Bendalo glow clay: a cleanser made of ibovu (red South Africa clay), turmeric, vegetable glycerine and impepho emhlophe.
  • Peaceful Resistance: essential oil blend that contains lavender, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Bergamot, impepho emhlophe
  • Ubuhle body scrub: emulsified scrubs infused with vanilla fudge and imphepho emhlophe

If you know ibovu then you know it leaves a golden glow and is a common traditional skin care for Zulu women. Miss Zama says her products are unisex and cater for everyone. As time changes, so does our ways of doing things and this shows that by incorporating ancient and modern we find a balance in our everyday life.

Find out more check out the Initiate Instagram page.

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