Development & Education

School Year Blog: I tried to give fashion advice to a South African teenager and this is what happened

Tandie-Dress.JPG

Credit: Anders Kelto

Tandie was clearly not impressed by the dress that I suggested.

This story is part of a year-long series, School Year: Learning, Poverty, and Success in a South African Township.

A few weeks ago, I did a story about Tandie, a COSAT senior who was getting ready for the prom. In the process, I made a couple of trips to the mall with her.

On one of these trips, Tandie was looking at dresses. After about an hour and a half of fruitless browsing, she seemed a bit discouraged. The two friends she had brought along – both guys – weren't offering much help.

So, I decided to break the first rule of journalism – don’t interfere with the story - and suggested a dress. It was a long, black gown that was hanging on a rack nearby. In my mind, it was the perfect prom dress. I pointed it out and was quite happy to have suddenly solved all of Tandie’s problems.

This was her response:

In retrospect, I still think it was a great dress. But, needless to say, I didn’t offer much fashion advice after that.

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