The smile chronicles

Smiling is such a unique thing for everyone so I decided to see how different people on my university campus feel about their smile and share how amazing they all look when they do. I asked them a few questions, asked them to leave their comfort zone, then broke out of my own and took some pictures. I’ve never been a connoisseur of the camera but it’s been the most unexpectedly fun and joyful task.

Here are the questions:

Have you ever felt self-conscious about your smile?
What makes you smile the most?
What’s your favourite thing about your smile?
If your smile had a catch phrase, what would it be?

– Simi Dlamini – 

Simi 2

“Yes, there was a time when I fell on the steps at home and I had to get fillings.”

“Unexpected acts of kindness.”

“The fact that I don’t need to control it, it just comes out naturally.”

“It’s got a mind of its own.”

– Sane Sikhakhane –

Sane 2

“Not even. People always ask, did you ever wear braces? I’ve always just had a wide smile.”

“My family. If I speak about them, I just become like a little Christmas tree.”

“It’s wide. It’s ear to ear.”

“You beautiful thing.”


B and P 1

– Benevolence Mbano –

Benevolence 1

“I did. I have black gums so I thought they were embarrassing. All my school pictures, I was not smiling, I was making some funny face.”

“Anything nice. I love my family and my friends so if there are positive vibes, I’m smiling.”

“It’s such a big smile.”

“It would probably be one of those Colgate smiles – ‘brighten up your day’.”

– Paidamoyo Bhebhe –

Pandai 2

“Yes. Growing up, people used to ask me how I felt having a gap but I had the total number of teeth everyone else had so it was always confusing. I would hide my face when I laughed but now I see it as a thing of beauty.”

“The camera, of course. And good news and just a happy mood.”

“It shows the gap in between my teeth and I love embracing it because it feels like it shows my beauty.”

“Happiness, all day, every day.”

  Danai Gumbo –

Danai 1

“No. My smile is the one thing I’ve really appreciated. It ended up defining me.”

“My friends. Making people happy.”

“It’s big. It’s inviting, yeah. I’ve been told.”

“Hiiii, come to me!”

– Sibo Zulu –

Sibo 1

“Ya. A lot, growing up. I was really self-conscious. I had an identity crisis when my braces came off because I was ‘the girl with the braces’. But then I couldn’t stop smiling.”

“People. Every time I see someone I know. I’m just a people person,” she said after she had just finished saying hi to a friend of hers.

“Showing off my teeth, I just have to. I don’t even think about it anymore. It just happens now.”

“Check you later, alligator. Because it’s just like, pop, I’m here.”

– Samantha Carolus –

Sam 1

“Absolutely. Before having braces, but after braces, I’ll just smile at everyone.”

“It makes other people smile. Also, a smile is something so simple and it can make the biggest difference on someone having a bad day.”

“My family. My boyfriend. The things that make my heart warm. Small things that people do. Also sunshine, I don’t like cold weather.”

“Heartwarming smile.”

– Thandokazi Silosini –

Thando 1_2

“Yes, recently. Even when I was smaller. My incisors are a bit sharp so I thought they didn’t finish growing and I was always confused. But I became easy with my smile, people know me for that now. Then in May, my house was broken into and my front teeth got broken in the process. I was avoiding people. I didn’t want to take photos. But now it’s back and I’m so happy.”

“Well, I don’t really know if there’s a trademark thing about my smile. It’s free. Now I’m like, just smile, let it all out.”

“People man. Lots of people who know me, know my smile. It’s people in general.”

“Smile, it feels good.”

– Hlengiwe Moyo –

Hlengiwe 1

“Yes, people used to say I have a fake smile. Now I just smile. I had braces so my smile is expensive.”

“When I smile, I have dimples.”

“Food. Okay, let me think of something real, I’m just a genuinely smiley person when I’m around people.”

“Just smile, some will like it, some won’t.”

– Patience Bwanya –

Patience 1

“Ya, sometimes. I know a lot of people have really white smiles so I felt self-conscious about that. I got my teeth whitened but it didn’t really feel different. A lot of people say the first thing they see about me is my smile which made me feel a bit better about it.”

“When I wear lipstick.”

“Food…Happiness. Other people being happy. My boyfriend.”

“Love thy form. I have a movement on instagram that promotes self-love.”

– Nozipho Gumede –

Nozipho 1

“Yeah, my teeth are too big in front and I fell once. I’ve always wanted braces. I don’t think about it though, I smile because it’s an expression of my happiness.”

“The stories it tells.”

“The company I keep. When you feel loved, you can’t help but smile.”

“Share your story.”



3 thoughts on “The smile chronicles

  1. A wonderfully honest and uplifting articles about something each of us have and can use at any time. Marvellous capturing of the “smile” and its empowerment.


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