the matte project


Beauty Journey: S’thandiwe Kgoroge

Name: S’thandiwe Kgoroge

Age: 40 something

Occupation: Actor and entrepreneur


I was born in Columbus,Ohio USA. My parents were students at the Lutheran college in Ohio. I have 3 brothers, although my childhood hero, my eldest brother was murdered during the political violence in Maphumulo where I spent most of my childhood between Ohio and Canada. I grew up as a naughty tomboy (brothers!)

My Dad who passed away last year (2016) was a lecturer at Kwa Maphumulo at the Theological seminary. I have the fondest memories of Maphumulo. It was a contrast to snowy Edmonton, Canada and a beautiful tapestry of contradictions that would mould me into who I am today. These beautiful contradictions and frames of reference have definitely influenced my creative outlook. 

As much as I was a tomboy (my poor Mom!) I was always watching my mom, admiring her, in awe of her impeccable classic style. Being well dressed for my mom meant smelling good too. She wasn’t allowed to practice as a nurse in Canada because my Dad had the study scholarship but she was an Avon lady and was so busy learning how to do cool stuff. My Mom has always been amazing with her hands – cooking, sewing, making candles, you name it.

She never went to bed, up to this day, without a bath. She would then spritz a wiff of Avon perfume behind her ears just before bed!


I’m everything Nimue. I used Dermalogica for the longest time until it felt like it was drying me out. I’m a sucker for facials, especially vitamin or serum based facials that leave me with a glow. I never wash my face with hot water – lukewarm then rinse with freezing cold. Even a face dip in ice does it for me. A trick I learnt from my young looking aunt.

I learnt about sunscreen too late in life. I wish I had known about it in high school. Sunscreen and water are the best beauty essentials!!


Everything is political unfortunately. Beauty is especially political – always has been. In the 70’s an afro was a political statement. Being too dark amongst black people is still an issue. Light skinned women are called Yellow Bone. That’s political because it traces it’s poison in colonization and oppression. Keeping your hair “natural” is political. Why are beautiful black women in 2017 still bleaching their skin? Political.

Beauty for me is freedom of the mind. That beauty is unmatched! You glow when you’re truly free.That freedom is knowing who you are as an African, loving who you are, respecting fellow humans, being kind and knowing God. That is my lesson on beauty to my children, that it’s not on the surface but internal.

A beauty trend I wish would just stop already? The huge brow trend.

In terms of fragrances, I love Marni and Juliette Has a Gun. My ultimate beauty crush is Diana Ross.