African hair diaries

I went to see my barber this past weekend. Just for a trim, treatment and colour. Whilst sitting on the chair hearing the clippers cut through my split ends, a lady walks in and approaches my barber. For a few minutes my barber tries to convince her that what she wants is not going to be possible because her hair is relaxed! Turns out, she wanted my hair cut and…wait for it…my hair texture!! Now, in order to get kinky and curly hair, you hair has to be free from straightening products. Her hair was pin straight but under some illusion, she wanted my hairstyle. I just remained quiet.

Now, from the moment we are born, most african sisters get introduced to hair relaxers because relaxed hair is easier to maintain and we are AFRAID to go back to that steel-toothed afro comb. My fellow african sisters know which one I’m talking about. The one that you can get for R10 on the side of the road in town and has a handle in the shape of a fist! That afro comb brought on many tears in many african households. I won’t lie, that afro comb also made me relax my hair when I was in primary school. Dare you upset your mother and she had to use that comb on your hair! “You gonna learn!”

But what I’m trying to get at is for us to be realistic about our hair-dos. Likewise, I can’t go into a salon and ask for my natural hair to look Brazilian straight when I have a teeny weeny afro (TWA). Without extensions, it’s not possible. After cutting my hair, I have never looked back and that was just a personal preference and choice.

Regardless of the hair-do, I think us African sisters are lucky in that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to hair. So many styles that one can do. I kinda like that and wouldn’t change it for the world!


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