Mbali Sebokedi uses book covers to create makeup looks


What do you get when you combine books and makeup? Well, books like lusts of course – using book covers as inspiration for makeup looks. Mbali Sebokedi is the creator behind this fantastic idea. The Daily Vox spoke with her to find out how she found this concept.

First, tell us a bit about yourself?

I am currently studying and doing my masters in literary theory. The subject of my thesis is the idea of ​​motherhood and the nation in African literature. I focus on three women writers – from Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia. I’m looking to see if there are any new ideas or if ideas about motherhood have changed in any way. Other than that, I review books on Instagram under books like lustful. It’s basically me.

Sebokedi’s thesis will focus on Namwali Serpell’s Old Drift, Stone house of Novuyo Rosa Tshuma and The Kintu Saga by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.

Before we get to #booksaslewks, what drew you to reading and books?

Since childhood, I was surrounded by many people who read from family friends to cousins ​​and my father. Reading has always been part of the family. I always brag about it – it’s my greatest achievement. In first grade, I got a five on my report card for reading when the highest number was four. So I was able to read from the first year and from there it was the school library and the local library. Christmas was for books. I would have a budget of 1000 rand to buy that many books.

Sebokedi grew up reading Enid Blyton’s books like Famous Five and Gcina Mhlophe folk tales. She also discovered her love of African literature.

So on to Instagram – what made you start reviewing books on the platform?

So my Instagram started normally like everyone else. I would share what I read but never saw it again. So the lockdown helped but really the pounds for the lustful were a fluke. I saw that people were attracted to the face value of the look and then they also read the review because it was there. That’s when I decided that was what I was going to do. And I think I will never stop. It’s so nice to see people tell me what they’re reading and just to see people reading for fun.

Were you surprised at the positive response?

I was surprised because when I shared it, I noticed that there were more likes than usual. Then I shared it on Twitter and it exploded. People were saying we would never have thought about makeup and lusts and I was like – yeah, neither was mine. It just grew from there. Many people also said they don’t know what to read so clearly that many people want to read too.

So what finally made you decide to marry books and make-up?

So it started with this challenge called “Books as outfits” at the start of confinement. I just didn’t have the wardrobe to do the challenge, so I told a friend who wanted me to do the challenge that I would use makeup. For the most part, the book cover does all the work. Like I didn’t think certain color combinations would work, but they work on the cover, so obviously they would work on my face. It’s also about pushing myself in terms of the looks that I create.

One of Sebokedi’s favorite looks is the one she created for Mia Arderne’s Mermaid Fillet.


Cape Town Mermaid Meat – Q&A with Magical Realism Author Mia Arderne

These are some of her other favorites as she really had to step out of her comfort zone to create them.

Some authors have even recognized his work as Akwaeke Emezi and Arderne.

Okay, those were your favorite looks, but what were your favorite books from last year?

Mermaid net. Reading the book made me feel like home because I grew up in Cape Town. Those Who Live in a Cage by Terry-Ann Adams. It’s the importance of Eldorado Park being represented and the story itself was amazing. Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James. It was like a fever dream and I loved the book. Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta. The writing is amazing – five pages and I was tearing it up. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. It was perfect – the storytelling, characters and magic system were amazing.


Terry-Ann Adams writes about Eldorado Park

Sebokedi says his TBR (list to read) is very stressful because it keeps growing.

As an avid reader and scholar, why would you say reading is so important?

So empathy is very important to me. I think you could use theories to understand race, gender, etc., but at the root of every theory is empathy and humanity. Through reading, I developed my empathy. I learned things without being violent towards others. Some say it’s curiosity but it’s violence. It helped me understand and made me a better person. In a very human part of your life, reading is so important. It is important to read far and wide for empathy, understanding and critical thinking.

Featured image provided.


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