This year has seen the second installment of the annual Heritage Careers Expo. The Expo is an initiative of the Department of Higher Education and Training in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology.
It is spearheaded by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mr Buti Manamela and its aim is to showcase career opportunities in what has been identified as heritage sectors.
The Expo is supported by various higher education institutions including 5 SETAs and covers careers across various economic sectors including Food, Fashion, Beauty, Hair, Arts, Funeral and Tourism, among others.
The Services SETA has participated as one of the SETAs through its 3 subsectors that are aligned with our heritage those being, Beauty and Hair, Fashion, and the Funeral industry.
As part of its programmes in the Expo, the Services SETA held Roundtables wherein various aspects of the select industries were discussed, and on the 27th of May, the Services SETA hosted a roundtable for the African Hair industry dubbed the Hair-itage Roundtable.
The Roundtable, anchored by leading moderator, Mr Victor Kgomoeswana, hosted various speakers from across academia and business.
Panelists were, Dr Motheo Koitsiwe from the North-West University, Ms Kgothatso Mafiri, also from the North-West University, Ms Kamogelo Magabane from the Redefining Beauty Movement, and African Hair entrepreneur and founder of Jabu Stone haircare products Mr Jabu Stone.
The point of discussion included opportunities in the black hair industry, among others. Entrepreneur and leading player in the industry Mr Jabu Stone shared his experiences of launching his successful African hair products on the market when these products were not very fashionable.
He spoke about how he professionalised his products and created the demand for them by demonstrating how effective they were in the management and maintenance of the African Hair.
Other speakers spoke of the opportunities that lay in the formulation of African Hair products using indigenous products. This included tapping into the indigenous knowledge systems in order to create unique African Hair products that offered properties not available in other western made hair products.
It was generally agreed that there were many opportunities that could be found in the application of indigenous know-how and ingredients to create new African derived products.
However, entrepreneur Mr Jabu Stone cautioned on the use of untested products as many funders were weary of funding untried and tested solutions. The key, he said, was to develop products using tried and methods, then gradually experimenting with one or two indigenous products to begin to create new and distinguished local products that tapped into our heritage.