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Lerato Scribess Sibanda - Power.Passion. Purpose - I am a writer, academic and spoken word artist -- http://beautybeginswithbe.blogspot.com/

See the Kink in my Hair!

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So the other day in Ga-rankuwa while in one of the local taxis the driver went on a really intense vent as to how mzansi chicks have sold out to the weave i.e. bonding i.e. plastic hair i.e. fake hair. Talk about seriouuuuus hair politics…If memory serves me well this driver boldly went on to spurn a derogatory comment as to how Nigerian men have invaded Mzansi shores with their drugs while the women on the other hand brought their weaves. Haha word I couldn’t make up my mind if this dude had beef with Nigerians, with our local women or with weaves. Maybe it’s with all of the above! Talk about hair shenanigans, all I could do was cackle nervously and quietly thank the fashion gods for inspiring me to embrace the kink in my hair and to grow my afro i.e. ethnic hair i.e. nappy hair i.e. kaffir hare. But as the agro driver grew more agro complaining about how much weaves cost and how his girlfriend always demands this much and that much for the latest weave and yada- yada -yada -yada, I sank deeper and deeper into guilt as I had been contemplating buying myself some Indian or Brazilian locks for a while. Recent hype in the media about the significance of hair amongst the black population has had me racking my mind and asking: what is the big deal with hair anyway, especially amongst black people? Hair politics is emerging as its own branch of study in popular culture theory…Word! Well whatever the deal with hair is, it stands that whether you go ethnic or plastic; hair goes a long way in the art of titivation hence the inspiration for such idioms as: “I am having a bad hair day” and “you’re getting in my hair”. In the words of some inspired sistah on some blog, ‘hair has become a religion especially if you’re a black woman you can conceivably, depending on how much you worship hair, spend half your life in the beauty salon…’ But hey whose complaining?


The “Make Love not War” era of the 60s (Rock n roll baby!) had hippies on the streets of Harlem, of Soweto or of the African Diaspora growing fros and walking around with afro combs lodged in the hair clad in bell bottoms and colourful shirts. It must have been the ish times for the Afro! But with time the fro lost its mojo and black peeps started to straighten and curl their hair: perming, relaxing and blowing were regarded as fashionable and natural hair as not. Cut to the 90s a new brand of an eclectic brand of Afrocentrism emerged with the likes of Lauryn Hill epitomizing locks and Lenny Kravitz rocking the Fro, and ethnic hair was no longer denounced as ugly, primitive or awkward. In the 2000s this brand of Afrocentrism has grown extensively and found voice in a variety of ethnic hairstyles and so today the myth that ethnic hair is too stubborn too be managed, styled or maintained has been squashed. Hair products have been created for black hair and many salons have seen the niche for ethnic hair; think of the success of Jabu Stone salons in recent years. Kinky black is beautiful and has an aesthetic quality of its own that can posit it as truly “fashionable”. Check out these kinks worn by some sistahs in the entertainment history and tell me if black hair has not found its voice. Word!

Solange Knowles rocking the Afro or “fro”

Local chick Pabi Moloi in classic bald ot “Chiskop”

Precious Kofi rocking a variation of cornrows

Alek Wek looking simply beautiful in relaxed or ”retouched” Black Hair

Miss Alicia Keys alluring in cornrows plus weave

Check out true African finesse from Mzansi’s hot property Lira

Soul Sistah Erykah Badu in Dreadlocks/ Dreads or just “Locks”


Check out the next article on the trendiest weaves as well as the places to buy, borrow or steal yourself some of that crazy ish . Word!

I Am Not My Hair (India Arie)

Little girl with the press and curl
Age eight I got a Jheri curl
Thirteen I got a relaxer
I was a source of so much laughter
At fifteen when it all broke off
Eighteen and went all natural
February two thousand and two
I went and did
What I had to do
Because it was time to change my life
To become the women that I am inside
Ninety-seven dreadlock all gone
I looked in the mirror
For the first time and saw that HEY….

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I ma not this skin
I am a soul that lives within

Good hair means curls and waves
Bad hair means you look like a slave
At the turn of the century
Its time for us to redefine who we be
You can shave it off
Like a South African beauty
Or get in on lock
Like Bob Marley
You can rock it straight
Like Oprah Winfrey
If its not what’s on your head
Its what’s underneath and say HEY….

I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations no no
I am not my hair
I ma not this skin
I am a soul that lives within…

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