BCom Student Finds Second Passion in Executing Special Effects Makeup

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BCom Student Finds Second Passion in Executing Special Effects Makeup

BCom Student Finds Second Passion in Executing Special Effects Makeup

The average individual discovers their one true passion in life and solely sticks to it. Rare breeds like Rihanna, Dj Shimza and Bonang Matheba, however, who own brands in multiple sectors, are prime examples of the fact that there is no limit to the passions one can follow in their lifetime.

University of Zululand (UNIZULU) student Noxolo Mlambo is taking cue from such go-getters and has her sights firmly set on making her mark as a finance professional and special effects makeup artist. Mlambo registered to study BCom Economics and Banking in 2021 owing to her love for Accounting in high school. In early 2022, she unexpectedly unearthed her talent to create “cuts” and “bruises” using makeup products. This has since become her passion and outlet for raising awareness of social ills.

Her first creation happened by sheer serendipity, she admitted. A botched attempt at drawing her brow led to her playfully using the contents of a sachet of strawberry flavour Sweet Aid (a powdered drink) to disguise the imperfections. When her brow turned reddish in colour, making it look like a bruise, this sparked the idea to explore the art of special effects makeup.

“I use a flour and water mix to make the injuries thicker and more realistic. I then use my foundation to make the mix look like my skin tone. Finally, I add red food colouring to give these a bloody effect,” Mlambo shared.

The positive reviews from her family and online friends prompted her to strategically use this new-found talent as a medium to raise awareness of gender-based violence (GBV). As a survivor of physical and emotional abuse, Mlambo feels strongly about flagging the despicable act of GBV and its gross impact as she believes it contributes to the national drive for change. She was further inspired by the tragic passing of renowned South African actor and GBV activist Patrick Shai, who died in January 2022.  

“I became a big fan of Patrick Shai because of the work he was doing to try and end violence against women and children. It broke my heart when he ended up taking his own life. I could not come to terms with the fact that someone who gave so many people hope and courage could end up committing suicide,” said Mlambo who eventually viewed the tragedy as an opportunity to take up the baton.

The makeup artist also resolved to use her skill to put other social issues such as parental negligence and substance abuse under the spotlight. Her content is normally spontaneous or geared towards addressing topical issues. She currently models her own work and occasionally features her niece in child-related awareness posts. Although she considers herself a novice, she has already bagged a few remunerable gigs – two film projects by a crew from her hometown, Mfekayi in Mtubatuba, and a GBV awareness campaign run by the 2022 UNIZULU SRC administration during Women’s Month. She has also recently been profiled in iSolezwe newspaper.

This rapid recognition has reassured Mlambo of her potential, hence she aspires to register for a special effects makeup course upon completing her UNIZULU degree.

“I am hoping to get a sponsor to do the makeup course because I am currently funded by NSFAS,” she said.

– Naledi Hlefane


UNIZULU student Noxolo Mlambo is shining the light on social ills through her recently discovered talent of doing special effects makeup.

Picture: Mbuyiselo Mlaba


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