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Soul Cap, a Black-owned brand that creates swimming caps for natural hair, was denied certification for approved Olympic swim gear.

The hats, made by the company Soul Cap, have been rejected by the International Swimming Federation (Fina) for use during the olympics, citing: “the athletes competing at the International events never used, neither require to use caps of such size and configuration,” adding the caps deviate from “the nature form of the head.”

Soul Cap, created in 2017, is a company that designs swimming caps specifically for natural hair in order for athletes to compete easily without struggling with cap size or the threat of damaging their hair. Following the decision to not be allowed at the olympics, Soul Cap released a statement explaining their disappointment and what it means for inclusivity within the sport.

“We hoped to further our work for diversity in swimming by having our swim caps certified for competition, so swimmers at any level don’t have to choose between the sport they love and their hair.”

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SOUL CAP founders Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman were understandably disappointed, calling out FINA’s “failure to acknowledge the diversity of competitive swimmers.” The duo established SOUL CAP in 2017 when they took adult swim lessons and found that they couldn’t buy caps to fit over their hair. The brand also partnered with Alice Dearing, the first Black woman to compete in swimming for Great Britain at the Olympic level.

“For younger swimmers, feeling included and seeing yourself in a sport at a young age is crucial,” Ahmed told Metro. “‘How do we achieve participation and representation in the world of competition swimmers, if the governing body stops suitable swimwear being available to those who are underrepresented?’ There’s only so much grassroots and small brands can do — we need the top to be receptive to positive change.”

On Twitter, the brand noted that they’re not considering the decision as a setback, just an opportunity to open the dialogue around inclusion in swimming.

 

Miss South Africa Zozibini Tunzi has a unique idea for her Miss Universe National Costume competition entry asking men to send in love letters to the women in their life to form part of her outfit inspired by Khosi Nkosi.
In preparation of her journey to represent Mzansi at Miss Universe 2019, Miss SA Zozibini Tunzi has called on SA men to write love letters to women with the launch of her #HeForShe campaign. The letters will be an important part of the design process of a costume that she will don at Miss Universe in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 8.
The campaign is aligned with the UN’s #HeForShe global solidarity movement that advocates for the advancement of gender equality aiming to mobilise men as allies in the struggle against Gender-based violence and the creation of an equal society for all.
Tunzi has urged SA men to pledge their support by posting videos and selfies on social media using #HeForShe and #MissSALoveLetter. In the caption they must include their love letter to SA women.
She took to her social media:
 
I am asking men to write love letters to the women of South Africa. Those letters will be inscribed on to ribbons of fabric which will, in turn, form part of my national costume,” Miss South Africa said.
“In what will be a first, I will literally take South Africa with me to Miss Universe; I will wear a wave of love from men in the form of love letters celebrating and honouring the women of this country.”
The 2019 Miss South Africa winner said she wanted to shift the perception about gender-based violence.
Women are constantly being taught how to defend themselves against attack from men. I would like to shift the perception,” Tunzi said.
“I want to say that responsibility should no longer rest on the shoulders of women alone. I want the men of our nation to stand and take a stand against gender-based violence”.
 
We have to start the narration where right-thinking people act as role models for those who think it’s okay to mistreat women.
That’s my aim with my campaign.
To be part of my #MissSALoveLetter, make your pledge by visiting www.heforshe.org and share your message of love to the women of South Africa on Twitter and Facebook. By using #heforshe and #MissSALoveLetter as well as @official_misssa and @zozitunzi, your message of unity will be seen by the Universe.