I love natural hair. I really do. I love my natural hair and I love seeing other ladies with natural hair. I was in Bulawayo for a few days and I saw a lot of women with dreadlocks and natural hairstyles. I was in Victoria Falls with yarn braids, and I noticed a very large percentage of people there have dreadlocks; freet dreadlocks and even neat small ones. In Harare though, it’s mostly still a sea of weaves. I did see this lady with the most gorgeous thick mane of wild kinks at a restaurant, and I felt like going to high five her, but decided to just stare and smile. I saw a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a while at church with a blond TWA. I was so excited to see her and her hair, that I did the unspeakable – I went in to touch. I hate it when people stick their fingers in my hair and touch my hair, but there I was doing the same.
In a city where I hardly saw anyone with natural hair unless they were going to get their hair relaxed or texturised, it’s so refreshing to see the tide turning slowly but surely. It might be due to the influence from the global natural hair movement or from neighbouring countries’ cultures. Whichever, all I know is I see a lot more ladies transitioning or doing the big chop to start the natural hair journey. That really makes me smile…
I don’t always have my natural hair out, because of the work I do (which I’ll lament about later) and I realise a lot of women in Harare actually have natural hair under their weaves, wigs or braids.
My blog, like many hair blogs, has a lot of pictures. I’m a visual person like most, and I love looking at beautiful images. With the evident natural hair movement worldwide being played out on the internet, hair envy is inevitable. A mixed girl (or coloured girl) in Zimbabwe is more likely to be admired for having curly natural hair (ie Ammara Brown), whereas a none mixed girl (ie Shingai Shoniwa) will be castigated for walking around with ‘undone’ hair (except Shingai Shoniwa isn’t really castigated, but then again, she’s Shingai Shoniwa). So girls who don’t have looser textures will end up trying, mostly in vain, to recreate that curly look so they can have that accepted pretty curly natural hair. Not treating your hair as uniquely as it is and trying to making look a certain way which is different to the way it is, defeats the whole purpose of going natural.
I struggle with this when I go to work with my natural hair out in full glory. I work in a formal financial environment and at my work, they would actually rather you have your hair ‘done’ – as in a weave, extensions to relaxed hair or braids. If I go to work ‘undone’ I usually plait one or two french plaits, combed out afro puff or some updo. The whole week, I’ll be asked when I’m getting my hair done, which gets irritating, especially when I’m not planning to do anything.
Natural hair perceptions are changing though in Zimbabwe, not fast enough though. I’ll just continue jumping up and down while clapping my hands when I see a natural in Harare.