Bongani Ndlovu Showbiz Correspondent
VETERAN modelling instructor Sipho Mazibuko says it is time that she rebrands herself and the first step is relaunching one of her products, Strides Hair Salon.

She held a ceremony yesterday at the salon situated corner 6th Avenue and Fort Street in Bulawayo, with staff and family members attending.

Mazibuko made her name after more than two decades through her Miss Strides modelling pageants. The salon was at first situated on Joshua Mqabuko and 10th Avenue and moved to its present venue in 2010, after Mazibuko started having problems in her life. In 2011 she fell ill and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was no longer monitoring the salon and boutique.

After her recovery, Mazibuko said she was not hands on with her salon and it was now run down.

“I’m proud to be back, I am back with a bang after I spent quite a long time at Ingutsheni Central Hospital battling bipolar,” said Mazibuko during the launch.

“The shop has been running for 19 years now, but since I started battling bipolar disorder, it got run down. Remember it used to be the top salon in town, but now it was one of the worst. So, I decided to rebrand it, such that we restore its former glory.”

Mazibuko said her support base of her family, and close friends helped the salon hang on by a thread while she was recovering.

“There were people who helped me along the way who held the fort during my recovery. I’m grateful to them for their dedication and patience with me. People like Khumbulani Dube the shop manager stayed on and helped, they are so amazing,” Mazibuko said as she tailed off briefly shedding tears.

The salon offers hairdo, dressing, manicure among others, while she said other elements of the brand strides will be opening soon.

“I’ll be slowly opening things here and there. I’m learning to be helped with using social media, and it’s a new thing every day. I just want to take my time and get things to the high standards that I had set myself, small steps to bigger things,” said Mazibuko.

She is the brains behind the now-defunct Miss Winter, Summer Strides and Miss Rural modelling contests. Through her Strides Modelling Agency, Mazibuko nurtured beauty queens like Samantha Tshuma and Lorraine Maphala-Phiri. —