Posts Tagged With: Zimbabwe

Product Review: Nature’s Gate Lemongrass & Clary Sage Shampoo

This is my first product review.

I’ve searched all over for a sulphate free shampoo and the closest I got was Tressemme Naturals Lower Sulphates Shampoo. I have been using this shampoo diluted for the past two years. So when I came across a completely sulphate free shampoo, I grabbed it and ran. Well, after paying for it.

Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Volumizing Shampoo Lemongrass & Clary Sage


After using it, I just had to do a review on it.

Price: $10

More about the shampoo

It was specifically made for fine hair as it is a volume enhancing shampoo.

From the website, certified organic extracts are fresh from the field, locally grown in California on land dedicated to growing Nature’s Gate botanical essences are used.  At the family owned Organic farm, each plant receives individual care, ensuring the highest purity and quality.  The farm’s water source is derived from the winter rains and snow pack of the Sierra Nevadas. It’s a cruelty free and vegan product.

Most of all it contains:

  • No Phthalates or Parabens
  • No Sodium Lauryl/Laureth/Coco Sulfates (which I was most excited about)
  • No Animal Testing
  • No Animal Derived Ingredients.

My view

The pros

  • I love the smell, which lingers long after washing
  • It lathers well and was easy to apply
  • Really soothes itchy scalp, without my hair feeling stripped
  • It’s gentle, but cleanses effectively.

The cons

  • The only con is it is so hard to find in Harare. For the actual shampoo, my hair loves it.

My Rating

I actually feel like I would even shampoo my hair more often with this shampoo. My hair was fluffy and soft after my complete wash routine.

4.5/5 points




Categories: My hair, Product Review, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Malawian intellectual Thandika Mkandawire: The death of Mandela marks the triumphant end of Africa’s liberation struggle

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela (Photo credit: Festival Karsh Ottawa)


It is difficult to write about Nelson Mandela without sounding sycophantic or as if engaged in uncritical hero worship. Mandela’s stature and personality left little room for other sentiments other than those of profound admiration and gratitude. The post-World War II era produced some memorable African leaders who grace the pantheon of champions of the African liberation struggle. There is little doubt that Nelson “Madiba” Mandela ranked among the best of these.


In this brief note, I will simply point to the influences the man had on my generation (politically speaking). For much of the last century during which I grew up, Africa was involved in ridding itself of colonialism and racist rule. From the 1960s onwards, the walls of colonial domination crumbled one after another as the colonialists granted independence or simply ran away as did the Belgians while ensuring that King Leopold’s ghost would continue to haunt the heart of Africa that Congo is. And so for my generation, the death of Mandela marks the triumphant end of Africa’s liberation struggle.


The name Mandela became first inscribed in the annals of African liberation as nothing particularly unusual at the time. The late fifties was an era of trials and detentions in the colonies. The Treason Trial, which took place from 1956 to 1961, was closely followed by those of my generation, largely through Drum Magazine. Mandela was one of 156 people arrested and tried for high treason. During this period leaders such as Jomo Kenyatta, Dr Hastings Banda, Kenneth Kaunda, Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo were in and out of courts, detentions centres or prison. Some, like Patrice Lumumba, were assassinated. Personally, I did a prison stint in 1961 and emerged as a “Prison Graduate” after three months of incarceration on trumped-up charges of inciting violence. We took it for granted then that being jailed for nationalist activities came with the territory.


The rapid pace of decolonisation was brought to a halt  on the shores of the Zambezi River by the recalcitrant racist regimes of South Africa and Rhodesia and the decrepit, fascist Portuguese regime of Salazar who continued to insist on maintaining its colonies.


We anxiously followed the fate of Mandela when he went underground as the “Black Pimpernel”. His arrest in 1962 and his conviction for life in 1964 together with the assassination of Lumumba and the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) in Zimbabwe in 1965 were major reversals to the liberation of the continent. These were only countered by the emancipation of the “Protectorates” of southern Africa a few years after Mandela’s sentencing. It did appear then that not only would the wave of liberation be derailed on the banks of the Zambezi river but that it would be reversed by neocolonial machinations that included the assassinations of African leaders and coup d’états. South Africa took the war outside its border, hunting down exiled leaders.


If the life imprisonment of Mandela seemed like a major reversal for African nationalism and a victory for the remaining racist and fascist regimes, the Nelson Mandela statement at the dock of the court on 20 April 1964 was one the most inspiring statements for my generation.


“This is the struggle of the African people, inspired by their own suffering and experience. It is a struggle for the right to live. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society, in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But, if needs be, my Lord, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”


We read it as a call for the final push in southern Africa through armed struggle. We also understood it as meaning that the usual path of “protest-detention-talk-statehouse” that had been taken by many nationalist leaders was closed for the remaining colonial regimes of the region. It was clear now that the struggle for liberation in southern Africa had taken a dramatically different turn – that of armed struggle and indeed the liberation movements of Lusophone Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe took this position and we were to witness an acceleration of armed struggles in the region. Three decades later came the end of apartheid, a remarkable achievement in Africa’s tormented history.


Mandela’s release on 11 February 1990 marked the beginning of the final chapter in the struggle for the liberation of the continent from colonial domination but it was also a spur to the struggle for the “Second Independence” – the struggle for the end of authoritarian rule and democracy – that was being wedged throughout the continent.


Continue article from Africa’s a Country’s blog.


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RIP Nelson Mandela: The Death of an African Icon



I didn’t post about this earlier, I needed for it to sink in and pray that Mandela’s death is not the end of an era with true selfless African leadership with a real spirit of ubuntu/hunhu.


As a Zimbabwean who lived in South Africa for more than five years, has South African family and being from a country right next door to South Africa, I was very affected by his death. Our history (Zimbabwe) is tied very closely to South Africa, with us having similar experiences in being freed from oppression by our colonialists. South Africa’s battle was on a much larger scale though. On a continent rife with power-hungry leaders who only care about enriching themselves and their relatives and friends, Mandela was a beacon of hope. A man who with his life showed how to forgive, how to be humbly serve his people and fight radically for what you believe.


Rest in Peace Mandela, we will really miss you and are so thankful for the example you gave to mankind.




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Some random hair talk…

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.

Categories: My hair, Uncategorized, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

The pros and cons of using yarn/wool in hair

2013-08-16-2077_2I haven’t seen many Zimbabwean women with yarn braids/twists etc but I have with women of other African nationalities, especially West and Central African ladies. I absolutely love them, although it’s only my second time getting them. So I decided to list the pros and cons of using yarn as a protective style:


  1. Look like dreadlocks after a few weeks, so are more natural looking
  2. There’s room to be very creative and fun with the range of different colours acrylic yarn comes in
  3. Is gentler on hair than extensions and is lighter causing less stress to hair strands
  4. Able to keep moisture in longer than hair extension
  5. Hair can be washed, deep conditioned and treated in yarn twists/braids. In fact, washing makes the twists softer
  6. Inexpensive and yarn is easily accessible. One roll of wool in Bon Marche in Harare costs $1 of which I used three
  7. Is a protective style that can last weeks and even months if taken care of properly, but beware of hair actually locking


  1. Can smell of mildew if not washed
  2. They easily collect lint, but this can be prevented by washing them, using a satin scarf or pillowcase at night and not using heavy cream or butter products in the hair. It’s better to use liquid based moisturisers
  3. They are heavy when wet

I haven’t had many problems with my yarn twists. Issues I had with box braids such as dry scalp, itchy scalp and scalp pain are non existent. I will review when I undo my yarn twists, but so far so good.


Categories: Hair tips, Protective Styles, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Yarn Twist Process


This was my second attempt at yarn twists and they came out much prettier than my first attempt twists. It was my second time plaiting my hair in braids instead of getting someone else to do it too. The first time, was a lot messier because I got impatient and I was just inexperienced at doing my own hair. THe second time is much neater although I had cramps everywhere, fingers, wrists, neck, shoulders, bum, knees, you name it. It took me a whole weekend and three rolls of acrylic wool (which ended up being a little less than I actually needed).

Yarn twists/braids are basically just box braids/twists using acrylic wool instead of hair extensions.

My process of putting them in was as follows:

  • I detangled, washed, conditioned with a protein conditioner, then a moisturising conditioner and air dried my hair in braids to stretch my hair
  • Sectioned my hair into 8 manageable parts and cut strings of yarn. I wanted just a few inches longer than shoulder length twists, so I cut the wool strings quite long, about double my mid back length
  • Using my fingers (and tail comb sometimes), I made parts about 0.5inches in length and width
  • Taking four pieces of wool, I bent them in the middle to have 8 pieces then plaited the 0.5inch part rooting it by braiding a few centimetres then twisting the rest
  • When twisting, since my twists would unravel, I would twist each individual piece against itself then twist the parts around each other. I do this when I twist my own natural hair too or else the twist won’t stay put
  • I plaited from the back, my edges, then finished with the middle of my head
  • For the ends I got help to cut them straight, then using a lighter and a candle I burnt the ends

Tips for yarn twists / braids

  • Make sure you use 100% acrylic yarn and not just any wool. In Zimbabwe, most of the yarn found in the supermarkets is acrylic. Here it’s just called acrylic wool and will usually state if it’s 100%
  • Try to match the colour of your hair to the yarn to make it look natural, you can experiment and have fun with lots of other colours too
  • Keep them moisturised. I have been doing the same process of moisturising as when my hair is out.
  • Keep them clean by washing as usual, although yarn is heavy when wet
  • Make sure you continue using a satin scarf/bonet or pillowcase as usual.
Categories: Hair tips, My hair, Protective Styles, Uncategorized, Zimbabwean & African Natural Hair | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Henna Story: Part 1

Henna for me was a game changer.


I have known about henna as a dye used to decorate skin from my school days. I would see my Indian school mates coming to school with the pretty henna tattoos and I would excitedly get my own hands done. I remember vaguely too that they used it to dye their hair naturally.

Women with henna tattoos on their hands Source: Tumblr

Women with henna tattoos on their hands
Source: Tumblr

 So when I, with my extremely damaged head of fine flyaway hair, heard about henna being a great hair treatment for damaged and fine hair, I quickly jumped on the bandwagon. I immediately went and bought a hair dye that had the word henna on it, but it was ‘black henna’ from the Indian grocer since I didn’t really want to have red hair at the time.  I went home and mixed it, looked at it and thankfully felt uneasy enough to go research more.


Firstly, any henna that is not a brownish/greenish powder and when mixed is not a greenish/brownish colour, is not natural henna. Whatever it is, might actually cause you more harm than good because it is just a hair dye not henna. Plus the chemicals in those ‘henna dyes’ might be dangerous.

To apply it on the hair; Henna powder is mixed...

To apply it on the hair; Henna powder is mixed with water and then applied on the hair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Second, to do any treatment on your hair, especially henna, make sure you do your RESEARCH! When doing a henna treatment, one needs to be fully informed on the process.


So back to my story, I researched more. I got the Henna for Hair book by Catherine Cartwright-Jones (it’s online for free) and I read blog articles on the process. I made sure I was aware of the pros and cons. I was a little worried about the red dye effect, the messy process of applying it and the possibility of losing my curl pattern. Nonetheless I took the plunge. I started off intensely, by doing full henna treatments every week for four weeks, then once a month for about 6 months, now I do full treatments about every 3 months. I do a henna gloss when needed (I’ll explain all these terms in my next post).


Immediately after my first treatment, although I didn’t see a difference, no red colour and no change in my curls, praise God, my hair stopped breaking immediately. After about four applications, my hair indoors was a shiny dark black and under certain lights, had a red gloss to it, like highlights. I absolutely loved it. Even to this day, my curl pattern hasn’t changed, my hair is stronger, is shiny and best of all my strands are thicker.


The best thing about the henna treatments is that all the ingredients are natural and therefore very cheap.


I will explain my henna gloss and full henna treatments in the Part 2.

Categories: Henna, My hair | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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