My Aesthetic: Noxolo Mafu

The deputy editor at Huffington Post is coming for everything

deputy editor at Huffington Post Noxolo Mafu

Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Chisanga Mubanga

Noxolo Mafu first came onto our radar with her critically acclaimed documentary, Soweto Rising, a project that positioned the township as an important hub for creative expression and socio-economic change. 

The 23-minute documentary Noxolo made with her friend Lilian Magari was an important contribution to the culture, and what made it even more impressive was how young Noxolo was.

“Making that project was really important to me because it bridged my deep love for street culture and the visual medium I use,” says Noxolo. “I find it incredibly distressing that we don’t document the shifts in ‘the culture’ because that’s our history in the making. The ebb and flow of our art, fashion and street culture as South Africans is a beautiful one, and I have always been about making sure those moves are noted.”

deputy editor at Huffington Post Noxolo Mafu

The Huffington Post has identified Noxolo’s talent and recently appointed the 24-year-old as deputy editor, the latest role for the Rhodes graduate who has been on a fast track to success ever since she started her career at the biggest news producer in South Africa, News24.

“It’s been a roller coaster but I’m learning every single day and pushing hard to use my experience to mould a career that suits my passions.”

This new role puts the young journalist in a position where she’s able to focus on issues that matter deeply to her, like representation. 

“I want to ensure that all voices are heard. I guess I need it to be known by little brown girls, in this country specifically, that it’s possible to be what you want to be and more.”

deputy editor at Huffington Post Noxolo Mafu

In the same way that it's her job to tell the stories of people who deserve a voice, Noxolo’s clothing broadcasts who she is to the casual observer without her having to even say a word, which is why The Way of Us asked the media maven to style herself in outfits that best represent her.

“I wanted to play with the range of colours that overwhelm my wardrobe. The Selfi jumpsuit is playful with a touch of simplicity. The jeans are me on any given Sunday and the bomber makes me feel a little tougher and gives me a different way to honour femininity. I love the combination of texture and the brown and black jersey is part of an outfit I’d most likely wear during the work week as well as the weekend, just with a few changes in footwear. The black dress shows how practical I keep my style. This allows an easy transition from daytime to eveningwear and when worn with the black boots, makes me feel a little sexy.”

deputy editor at Huffington Post Noxolo Mafu

Essentially, these looks embody the facets of style that Noxolo is drawn to, and as long as she keeps being served with daily fashion inspo on Tumblr and Instagram, she’ll continue to play around with her personal style. 

“I love experimenting with textures and have gone through phases with colour, but as I’ve grown up I’ve gone back to the basics. I’m not too trend focused, and prefer to keep things classic. I understand how clothes sit on my body and so I make distinct choices.” 

Believing that femininity reveals itself in different ways, Noxolo is able to harness this through items like a bodycon dress and other clothing that clutches to her hips or shows off her back or collar bones. 

deputy editor at Huffington Post Noxolo Mafu

“I think the joy of femininity is that it’s yours to define, and so even if I am wearing boyfriend jeans and a T-shirt there will always be a touch of my womanhood in how I style myself. But I can’t lie, I do like a little bit of drama and a statement piece. I suppose my message changes as I grow. My style is an ongoing, quiet conversation with the world.”

Listing the likes of Oroma Elewa, Tracee Ellis Ross and Rharha Nembard as her style icons, Noxolo also mentions Joburg’s fashion sense as something that’s slowly making its mark on her personal style.  

“The style here is unique and I guess a little telling of which corner of Johannesburg you frequent. I think Johannesburg style is honest and gritty and I think that’s slowly starting to rub off on me.”

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