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Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure in Africa

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High blood pressure is a dangerous condition that can damage your heart. It affects one in three people in the US and 1 billion people worldwide.

If left uncontrolled, high blood pressure raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.

But there’s good news. There are a number of things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally, even without medication.

Here Are 15 Natural Ways To Combat High Blood Pressure.

1. Walk and exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure.

Regular exercise helps make your heart stronger and more efficient at pumping blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries.

In fact, 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week, can help lower blood pressure and improve your heart health .

What’s more, doing even more exercise than this reduces your blood pressure even further, according to the National Walkers’ Health Study (5).

Bottom line: Walking just 30 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. More exercise helps reduce it even further.

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2. Reduce your sodium intake

Salt intake is high around the world. In large part, this is due to processed and prepared foods.

For this reason, many public health efforts are aimed at lowering salt in the food industry (6).

Many studies have linked high salt intake with high blood pressure and heart events, including stroke .

However, more recent research indicates that the relationship between sodium and high blood pressure is less clear.

One reason for this may be genetic differences in how people process sodium. About half of people with high blood pressure and a quarter of people with normal levels seem to have a sensitivity to salt (11).

If you already have high blood pressure, it’s worth cutting back your sodium intake to see if it makes a difference. Swap out processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt.

Bottom line: Most guidelines for lowering blood pressure recommend reducing sodium intake. However, that recommendation might make the most sense for people who are salt-sensitive.

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3. Drink less alcohol

Drinking alcohol can raise blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases around the world (12).

While some research has suggested that low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the heart, those benefits may be offset by adverse effects (12).

In the U.S., moderate alcohol consumption is defined as no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. If you drink more than that, cut back.

Bottom line: Drinking alcohol in any quantity may raise your blood pressure. Limit your drinking in line with the recommendations.

4. Eat more potassium-rich foods

Potassium is an important mineral.

It helps your body get rid of sodium and eases pressure on your blood vessels.

Modern diets have increased most people’s sodium intake while decreasing potassium intake (13).

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To get a better balance of potassium to sodium in your diet, focus on eating fewer processed foods and more fresh, whole foods.

Foods that are particularly high in potassium include:

  • vegetables, especially leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
  • fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots
  • dairy, such as milk and yogurt
  • tuna and salmon
  • nuts and seeds
  • beans

Bottom line: Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium, can help lower blood pressure.

h3>5. Cut back on caffeine

If you’ve ever downed a cup of coffee before you’ve had your blood pressure taken, you’ll know that caffeine causes an instant boost.

However, there’s not a lot of evidence to suggest that drinking caffeine regularly can cause a lasting increase (14).

In fact, people who drink caffeinated coffee and tea tend to have a lower risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, than those who don’t drink it.

Caffeine may have a stronger effect on people who don’t consume it regularly .

If you suspect you’re caffeine-sensitive, cut back to see if it lowers your blood pressure.

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Bottom line: Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, although for many people, it does not cause a lasting increase.

6. Learn to manage stress

Listening to soothing music may help lower stress

Stress is a key driver of high blood pressure.

When you’re chronically stressed, your body is in a constant fight-or-flight mode. On a physical level, that means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels.

When you experience stress, you might also be more likely to engage in other behaviors, such as drinking alcohol or eating unhealthful food that can adversely affect blood pressure.

Several studies have explored how reducing stress can help lower blood pressure. Here are two evidence-based tips to try:

  • Listen to soothing music: Calming music can help relax your nervous system. Research has shown it’s an effective complement to other blood pressure therapies
  • Work less: Working a lot, and stressful work situations, in general, are linked to high blood pressure

Bottom line: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage stress can help.

7. Eat dark chocolate or cocoa

Here’s a piece of advice you can really get behind.

While eating massive amounts of dark chocolate probably won’t help your heart, small amounts may.

That’s because dark chocolate and cocoa powder are rich in flavonoids, which are plant compounds that cause blood vessels to dilate (25).

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A review of studies found that flavonoid-rich cocoa improved several markers of heart health over the short term, including lowering blood pressure (25).

For the strongest effects, use non-alkalized cocoa powder, which is especially high in flavonoids and has no added sugars.

Bottom line: Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain plant compounds that help relax blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.

8. Lose weight

In people with overweight, losing weight can make a big difference to heart health.

According to a 2016 study, losing 5% of your body mass could significantly lower high blood pressure (26).

In previous studies, losing 17.64 pounds (8 kilograms) was linked to lowering systolic blood pressure by 8.5 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 6.5 mm Hg (27).

To put that in perspective, a healthy reading should be less than 120/80 mm Hg (4).

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The effect is even greater when weight loss is paired with exercise (27).

Losing weight can help your blood vessels do a better job of expanding and contracting, making it easier for the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood.

Bottom line: Losing weight can significantly lower high blood pressure. This effect is even more significant when you exercise.

9. Quit smoking

Among the many reasons to quit smoking is that the habit is a strong risk factor for heart disease.

Every puff of cigarette smoke causes a slight, temporary increase in blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco are also known to damage blood vessels.

Surprisingly, studies haven’t found a conclusive link between smoking and high blood pressure. Perhaps this is because smokers develop a tolerance over time (28).

Still, since both smoking and high blood pressure raise the risk of heart disease, quitting smoking can help lessen that risk.

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Bottom line: There’s conflicting research about smoking and high blood pressure, but what is clear is that both increase the risk of heart disease.

10. Cut added sugar and refined carbs

There’s a growing body of research showing a link between added sugar and high blood pressure.

In the Framingham Women’s Health Study, women who drank even one soda per day had higher levels than those who drank less than one soda per day (32).

Another study found that having one less sugar-sweetened beverage per day was linked to lower blood pressure (33).

And it’s not just sugar — all refined carbs, such as the kind found in white flour — convert rapidly to sugar in your bloodstream and may cause problems.

Some studies have shown that low carb diets may also help reduce blood pressure.

One study on people undergoing statin therapy found that those who went on a 6-week, carb-restricted diet saw a greater improvement in blood pressure and other heart disease markers than people who did not restrict carbs (34).

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Bottom line: Refined carbs, especially sugar, may raise blood pressure. Some studies have shown that low carb diets may help reduce your levels.

11. Eat berries

Berries are full of more than just juicy flavor.

They’re also packed with polyphenols, natural plant compounds that are good for your heart.

Polyphenols can reduce the risk of stroke, heart conditions, and diabetes, as well as improving blood pressure, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation (34).

One study assigned people with high blood pressure to a low-polyphenol diet or a high-polyphenol diet containing berries, chocolate, fruits, and vegetables (35).

Those consuming berries and polyphenol-rich foods experienced improved markers of heart disease risk.

Bottom line: Berries are rich in polyphenols, which can help lower blood pressure and the overall risk of heart disease.

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12. Try meditation or deep breathing

While these two behaviors could also fall under “stress reduction techniques,” meditation and deep breathing deserve specific mention.

Both meditation and deep breathing may activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This system is engaged when the body relaxes, slowing the heart rate, and lowering blood pressure.

There’s quite a bit of research in this area, with studies showing that different styles of meditation appear to have benefits for lowering blood pressure.

Deep breathing techniques can also be quite effective.

In one study, participants were asked to either take six deep breaths over the course of 30 seconds or simply sit still for 30 seconds. Those who took breaths lowered their blood pressure more than those who just sat.

Try guided meditation or deep breathing. Here’s a video to get you started.

Bottom line: Both meditation and deep breathing can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure.

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13. Eat calcium-rich foods

People with low calcium intake often have high blood pressure.

While calcium supplements haven’t been conclusively shown to lower blood pressure, calcium-rich diets do seem linked to healthful levels .

For most adults, the calcium recommendation is 1,000 milligrams (mg) per day. For women over 50 and men over 70, it’s 1,200 mg per day (41).

In addition to dairy, you can get calcium from collard greens and other leafy greens, beans, sardines, and tofu. Here is a list of calcium-rich plant-based foods.

Bottom line: Calcium-rich diets are linked to healthy blood pressure levels. You can get calcium through eating dark leafy greens and tofu, as well as dairy.

14. Take natural supplements

Some natural supplements may also help lower blood pressure. Here are some of the main supplements that have evidence behind them:

  • Aged garlic extract: Researchers have used aged garlic extract successfully as a stand-alone treatment and along with conventional therapies for lowering blood pressure .
  • Berberine: Traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, berberine may increase nitric oxide production, which helps decrease blood pressure.
  • Whey protein: A 2016 study found that whey protein improved blood pressure and blood vessel function in 38 participants.
  • Fish oil: Long credited with improving heart health, fish oil may benefit people with high blood pressure the most.
  • Hibiscus: Hibiscus flowers make a tasty tea. They’re rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols that are good for your heart and may lower blood pressure.

Bottom line: Researchers have investigated several natural supplements for their ability to lower blood pressure.

15. Eat foods rich in magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that helps blood vessels relax.

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While magnesium deficiency is pretty rare, many people don’t get enough.

Some studies have suggested that getting too little magnesium is linked with high blood pressure, but evidence from clinical studies has been less clear .

Still, eating a magnesium-rich diet is a recommended way to ward off high blood pressure .

You can incorporate magnesium into your diet by consuming vegetables, dairy products, legumes, chicken, meat, and whole grains.

Bottom line: Magnesium is an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Find it in whole foods, such as legumes and whole grains.

Take home message

High blood pressure affects a large proportion of the world’s population.

While drugs are one way to treat the condition, there are many other natural techniques, including eating certain foods that can help.

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Controlling your blood pressure through the methods in this article may, ultimately, help you lower your risk of heart disease.

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AFRICA

Air Traffic Controllers 2-day strike leaves Passengers stranded

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Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers, ATCs, commenced two days disruption of early morning domestic flights across the country to press home their demands for better working conditions.

The disruption is expected to last for three hours each day between 6 am and 9 am.

The action has already affected the flight schedules of many airlines as they had to reschedule.

The action of the Traffic Controllers is coming after another ATC, Mr Aniekan Effiong Inuk, died in the early hours of Monday, November 22, 2021 while on duty at the Nnamidi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

A statement issued by the Controllers yesterday read: “That commencing from 0600 UTC today, 23rd November 2021, ATC units nationwide should operate flow control. That all departures should be spaced at 20 minutes intervals. That all international flights are exempted.”

“That all ATCOs should endeavour to be on high alert should there be a need to escalate this exercise beyond flow control, we are ready to further such actions. That this exercise will be for two days and will be strictly executed at the four major airports with strict coordination from adjacent aerodromes before any start up is issued”.

Speaking further on the grievances of the Controllers and action to be taken in another statement titled: An SOS On Poor Air Traffic Control Working Conditions And Staffing, signed by Abayomi Agoro, President of the association and Rev. Agbonlahor Felix, General Secretary, the union said: “Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA) rose from an emergency meeting conveyed over the tragic, painful and avoidable exit of one of our diligent and dedicated colleague Mr Aniekan Effiong Inuk in the early hours of Monday, November 22, 2021.”

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“The council observed that within the last two years, Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association has lost nine of her members on active service due to stress-related health complications which seem associated with poor working conditions and inadequate staffing. “

“Several appeals to management and other stakeholders in the industry and inactions by appropriate managers on communiqués from the Association’s past Annual General Meetings had failed to address the issues. “

“The death of Mr Aniekan Effiong Inuk on active duty at Abuja airport whose sad event is not unconnected with the unavailability of operational vehicle to move him to a hospital in record time amongst others is one too many.”

“Hence, Air Traffic Controllers are embarking on a three (3) hours flow control for two days, 23rd and 24th November, 2021 from 0600UTC to 0900UTC to register our displeasure and call the attention of relevant authorities and the public to quickly address our concerns without further delay.”

Meanwhile, Some airlines have sent messages of flight delays and adjustments to their customers who were already at the airport while some have cancelled flights outright blaming the action on ATCs.

A Green Africa Airways flight scheduled to depart Lagos for Akure at 1.34 pm was first cancelled, then rescheduled to 4.45 pm and then another notice of delay was sent to customers.

“Flight 318 from QOW to AKR scheduled for 23 Nov 2021 04:45:00 has been cancelled. This is due to an ongoing industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause you.”, the message to passengers read.

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“Please be notified that your flight 307 from AKR to LOS will be delayed due to an industrial action by Air Traffic Controllers at some major Airports in the country today.”, another message reads.

The ATCs are, amongst other demands, asking the government to “approve and implement a 500% upward review of the annual ATC medical allowance to enable ATCOs to carry out comprehensive medical assessment among other stuff.”

“That all Air Traffic controllers be enrolled in an enhanced comprehensive health and life insurance schemes that will meet their health needs. “

“That standard medical emergency kits be provided at all ATC units and yearly Health Safety Environment (HSE) training programs for ATCOs be conducted,” amongst other demands.

Source: Vanguard News Nigeria

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AFRICA

We Don’t Have Control Over Cooking Gas Price ― FG

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The federal government on Tuesday said that it has no control over the price of cooking gas because the product is fully deregulated in the country.

The minister of state for petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva, who made the declaration in a chat with correspondents however noted that President Muhammadu Buhari is worried about the hike in the price of cooking gas.

The minister was at the presidential villa, Abuja to introduce to the president the CEO, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA,

Engr. Faruk Ahmed and the CEO, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe.

He asserted that gas prices are determined by the global market, even though he indicated that government will everything possible to bring down the price of cooking gas especially during the Yuletide season.

He said, “We must understand that cooking gas is not subsidized. It is already a deregulated commodity. So the price of cooking gas is not determined by the government or by everybody in the industry. In fact, gas prices are determined internationally.

“And you all are aware that in Europe, today, gas prices have gone up. There was even a crisis in Europe relating to gas prices. So the pricing of gas internationally now affects also the price of gas in the country.

“Apart from that, there are some issues around VAT charges on imported gas, and of course, taxes on imported gas, which we are handling. But of course, quite frankly, these taxes on imported gas, you must also juxtapose it side by side with the local producers of gas.

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“So, if you incentivize the importance too much, then you will also kill the local industry. And also, you don’t want to incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, because if incentivize the local industry at the expense of the imports, then you will not have enough gas produced within the country.

“So, these are the issues of balancing that the midstream and downstream regulatory authority are handling and I want to assure you that we are quite concerned.

“Mr. President also is very concerned. He is aware that the price of cooking gas is high in the market, and we’re doing everything trying to see how we can bring down the price of gas especially as we approached the Yuletide.”

Sylva also disclosed that the president has directed him to proceed to Nembe, Bayelsa State to investigate the level of damage caused by the recent gas spillage in the area.

The minister stated that he will visit the affected communities on Wednesday to assess the situation.

He said; “And the question which is on the spillage in OML 29, we are quite aware of it. Unfortunately, it has happened. It is also one of the issues I discussed with the president as a minister and he has actually asked us to go and visit the site to assess the situation and report back.

“Definitely, we are quite concerned with what is happening in Nembe and will be going there very soon tomorrow. In fact, to go and look at what is happening and report back.

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“Mr. President is very personally interested and we have discussed it and he said we should go there and come back and report to him because environmental degradation issues are things that we are not going to condone but of course we’ll work with the operators of OML 29 to ensure that this spillage is brought under control as quickly as possible.”

On the resurgence of fuel queues in parts of the country, the minister directed the CEO of the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Ahmed to answer it.

The NMDPRA CEO explained: “You see intermittent queues in some parts, maybe of Abuja and maybe the environs, basically what happened is that some of the depot owners are selling PMS, above the official ex-depot price of N148, they are selling at N156, N157.

“And the reason they adduced is that they are paying for their logistics like shipping in US dollars, they’re paying for NPH, port charges and NIMASA charges in US dollars.

“They have to go to black market to source these US dollars. And that differential between the official and the black market they buy, that is why they added about N9 to N10 to N15 and it depends on whether you are in Lagos, Calabar, Port Harcourt, or Oghara.

Now, we had a meeting the week before last on Tuesday, the 9th, and the NPA was there represented and the DG NIMASA was there as well NNPC, major marketers were all there and we all agreed and resolved that NNPC excess capacity of their shipping their vessels will be chartered to all marketing companies. We will be charging in Naira so that NNPC now will go and source for converting US dollars through the CBN.

“As for the NIMASA and NPA charges, it was all agreed that they will revert to their supervising ministry to get direction on the receipt of these charges in Naira rather than US dollars and I understand the process of that engagement with their supervising ministry has already commenced.

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“Once the NNPC from the 15th of this month, they have already converted to charging Naira instead of dollars for their excess capacity charter to all marketing companies. So, I believe with this, there will be no reason for the depot owners to increase their price beyond the official selling price of N148 naira.

“Now, we have been working tirelessly in the past few years to sensitize our people to start using LPG for example. And they were making an effort to do so. People are now interested in are working towards utilization of LPG, but then the production is not commensurate with the demand.

“And this is why we want to focus on investment in the area. Now, a lot of major oil companies like their IOCs want to invest, but the pricing framework is an issue for them. So, we’re working with the guidance of the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to ensure that we put the pricing framework that is attractive enough for the investors but at the same time is simple enough for the consumers, whether it is power, or industrial base, or the commercial sectors.”

 

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Binance challenges The Nigerian Stock trading apps by offering U.S stocks

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Nigerian stock trading apps with exposure to foreign stock listing face a herculean task as Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange recently disclosed it will list three new stock tokens over the coming weeks, following the launch of stock tokens that gauged the performance of Coinbase and Tesla Stocks in early April.

The Hong Kong-based exchange in a statement released today said that such tokenized stock offerings will include MicroStrategy, in addition to tech juggernauts Apple and Microsoft.

The tokens will permit its customers to trade fractionalized units of the share tokens, at cheaper transactional fees when compared to traditional trading apps.

Fast-rising fintech trading platforms like Chaka, Trove, Bamboo, and Risevest already offer Nigerians such platform in purchasing foreign listed stocks amid the recent clampdown of such services by the Nigerian Securities Commission.

What you should know about Binance Tokens

Binance Stock Tokens are tokens of stocks (i.e., shares of public companies) that trade on traditional stock exchanges.

Each Stock Token represents one ordinary share of the relevant stock. These Stock Tokens are fully backed by a depository portfolio of underlying securities held by CM-Equity AG, Germany (“CM-E”). Holders of Stock Tokens will qualify for economic returns on the underlying shares, including potential dividends.

Blockchain technology is already revolutionizing financial system services. This technology has made the need for a third party unnecessary in transactions or access to the stock market. Conventionally, buying stocks usually required a stockbroker, paperwork, or a long list of financial assessments.

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Unlike regularly traded stocks, tokenized stocks do not require any sort of paperwork or the need for a stockbroker as a middle-man, which makes them free from the stockbroker’s fees.

Tokenized stocks are derivatives assets. This simply means that the price of a tokenized stock is determined by the price of the company’s stock. If a particular asset is traded at a certain price on a stock market, the same price or a little difference in price will be traded on different exchanges.

Tokenized stocks are digitalized forms of a company’s stock traded on secondary markets. What this means is that Tesla, Apple, Facebook, etc. stocks can be traded on a crypto exchange. Trading Tesla’s stocks, for instance, on crypto exchanges makes it easily accessible to purchase anywhere.

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Creative: South African woman makes dress from recycled KFC packaging

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The Internet has transformed the world into a global village today. Within a minute we get to know news from a thousand miles away and feel connected. Social media platforms also keep us informed and entertained. People are finding new ways these days to get noticed on these online platforms by doing something unique. A female fashion designer and blogger from South Africa is a recent example of this, having garnered the attention of social media users for her creative take on sustainable clothing.

The young fashion designer, who goes by the name NokuzothaNtuli on Twitter, has shared images of a beautiful dress made from recycled KFC packaging that has left people stunned.

Showing her love for KFC, the fashion designer, in a caption, explained that the dress was made out of recycled KFC packaging. She also tagged KFC South Africa in her post. The pictures were an attempt by the designer to win KFC’s Superfan contest, which had the grand prize of a year’s supply of the brand’s fried chicken products.
Take a look at NokuzothaNtuli’s post:

https://twitter.com/NokuzothaNtuli/status/1461041200299978753

Since being shared, this tweet has grabbed over 13,000 likes and a plethora of reactions by Twitter users. Enjoying the attention on social media, the fashion designer has it pinned on her profile at the moment.

After viewing the photos of the dress on Twitter, KFC South Africa themselves were pretty impressed and responded to the woman’s idea on the social networking site, saying that, “All this fresh drip, we were never ready”.

https://twitter.com/KFCSA/status/1461235360973926404

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The word drip is an urban slang word for chic and fashionable clothing.

Not only KFC South Africa but social media users also appreciated the creativity of the fashion designer. Several users found the dress very innovative and commended the fashion designer on her skills.
Some people rooted for NokuzothaNtuli to win the Superfan contest.

Others were impressed by the talent of the designer as well as the free marketing that KFC got through her.

Some people also shared their own experiences with clothing made out of recycled paper.

Now its your time, how creative do you think this dress is?

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