Rumbie Mutiswa’s journey from Zimbabwe to the Sydney hair scene is a bold,
inspirational tale that champions the idea of embracing your true self. Best of all, she’s
just getting started.
As a hairdresser who runs a salon specifically catering to Afro hair, Rumbie Mutsiwa
strives to practice what she preaches to her clients at Rumbie and Co. salon, which, by
her admission, isn’t always an easy task.
“It took me a long time to do this,” she said about her short, natural curly hair. “I preach
to my clients that you’re enough and you don’t have to have your hair chemically
straightened, but it was hard to go through with it. I remember one night picking up the
paper scissors on my bedside table and just cutting it off. I thought, ‘this has to happen
right now or it never will.’”
Feeling close to her natural self has been a large part of Rumbie’s personal mantra and
business model. Encouraging others to embrace their Afro and curly hair is what has
established her flourishing business. Now in Sydney, she has found her place inside the
sizable industry as a beloved and successful wavy, curly and Afro hairdresser and
Growing up in Zimbabwe, she said, hair was considered immaterial. “In Africa you can
just sit down while you’re hanging out and braid – it’s not like every body braids but
you’re just siting and laughing and someone is doing your hair. So you don’t look at hair
as valuable, its just hair,” she said. Making the move to Sydney has provided an industry
that she would have otherwise not experienced in Africa. She said it is only now that she
has viewed hair as art – after watching Australian hairdressers’ creative processes. In an
industry she believes to be lacking in Afro stylists, she feels she is offering an artistic and
necessary aspect to the industry by going back to her roots.
Though now a blossoming industry professional, Rumbie’s inspiration wasn’t always so
prevalent when conquering the world of hair. “I worked in nursing for about 6 years but
I knew it wasn’t right. I kept changing roles to try something new and I was never
satisfied,” she said. “Every night I would come home it would be ‘me’ time. I would write
down what I’m good at, what I love, and my strengths. Time went on and I did this every
day still, but then one day I had a feeling rush over me and I knew that I needed to quit
Without a job or a clear plan to conquer her new career path, Rumbie started applying
extensions from her home. This was a perfect first move as a hairdresser, but slowly she
began to discover its pitfalls. “I could apply extension and weaves flawlessly, but I couldn’t cut or colour, so clients would go somewhere else to finish the look,” she said. “That was my work, but I couldn’t reap the rewards.” This realisation pushed Rumbie to attend hairdressing school and take her career to another level.
After educating herself in the art of curly hair from a range of impressive mentors at the
Pivot Point International Academy, Rumbie began her journey as a fulltime Afro and
curly hairdresser. In the past she has experienced difficulty finding an Afro stylist for her
own self and even now struggles to find apprentices who want to learn the components
of curly hair.
In an industry that has struggled to provide curl professionals, Rumbie has had the
opportunity to make her mark. She is currently creating a line of extensions ranging
from Afro to kinky curl, to better suit clients’ ranging curl patterns.
“Most extensions I find don’t offer a multitude of curl patterns. So, if a client wants
extensions, they often have to chemically straighten their natural hair to match the
extensions. I plan to create a line that will merely enhance the hair you already have,”
Now based in Chippendale, this Afro hairstylist and artist is constantly preaching to her
clients the importance of being your true self, with or without a weave. She strives to
display an excited and confident energy in her own work and life to inspire her clients to
believe in her business mantra: ‘you are beautiful.’ So far, we would say, she’s