A swimming cap is all that stands between South Africa and the sea


Dreadlocks are associated with Jamaican island style. Paradoxically, they are the reason Nomvuyo Treffers once couldn’t enjoy the ocean. The thought of drying her dreads for hours after swimming prevented her from exploring the water. Buoyed by the hope of one day swimming with her daughters, Treffers began to design a swimming cap to protect her hair.

She approached close to a dozen different suppliers before finding the right material to bundle up her hair. Success. And in the process of solving her own crisis Treffers realized that many other South Africans face the same obstacle to seaside freedom. So she started her small business, Swimma, to provide hair protection deemed ‘too large’ for stores. From weaves and braids to extensions, there isn’t a style in South Africa that can still prevent people from embracing the sea.

But the purpose of the project was about being closer to her family before turning a profit. Treffers is now able to follow her girls wherever their adventures lead. And their time together in the ocean is all the more rewarding given the lack of opportunity in the past. Treffers acknowledges that the venture has become bigger than herself. It’s her stand for inclusion.