Opinion Piece: Me and hair, a timeline of changes.

What is in a hairstyle? That is something I ask myself a lot these days. As one blessed with kinky, afro hair, my hair has been intimately connected with so many experiences of mine and signified as well as key changes in my life.

My very earliest memories of hair, is when I was a proud five year old with long, straightened hair living in a sleepy cotton farming town in Zimbabwe. This memory, which remains strong in my mind, was the absolute anguish I felt as my hair was cut off, lock by lock, by my mother. A mandate set by my then new school where all pupils were not allowed to keep long hair, created a big change in me, and after that I began to look at rules in a different way..

As an adult I would learn to question the ideals and motives of the post-colonial school structures in Zimbabwe, I would criticise certain segregational tendencies due to wealth or family was were encouraged in my social environment and why my gorvenment ammased for itself power against its own people. These strong opinions, grew root, the day I cried as I saw the locks of my hair falling onto the bare ground at my feet and wanting for the last time the chance to run my hands through the strands of my hair.

(c)Tami Zhizhou, Harare Gardens in Zimbabwe

After followed long years of hair straightening, it was a big step for me when I finally made the decision to grow my natural hair later on in my early 20s. Alienated by ideas of western beauty, that had so little space for me and my kinky hair, all I wanted in that time was to at least own the face that stared back at me in the mirror. I cut off my hair, leaving behind long salon days, the sting of strong hair straightener creams burning my scalp and an innumerable amount of hairdresser fees. Putting my hair back in my hands, I was ready to use the resources granted by the evolving black hair industry of extensions, weaves and wigs, to experiment with new styles.

(c)Innocent Fungurani. Backyard, Harare, Zimbabwe

My hair is an extension of me, that holds with each style a timeline of experiences and a bucketful of changes.

Domboshava, Zimbabwe

Over the years as I taught myself to style my own hair and this has changed considerably the way that I see hair styling. I take my time on deciding what style I like and brace myself for an exciting outcome. With an array of hair extensions, braiding styles and various hair treatments that are now available, I have as a black woman so much material to maintain my hair as my crowning glory.

Of which tucked in every memory, are so many stories of where I come from, who I have cared for and what dreams I hold dear . As I adjust to living in Munich where I juggle my German and future possibilities, changing my hairstyle is my tool to chart the course of my life, recallin through memories my timeline of changes.


A writer, a designer, a thinker, a lover, a fighter, a curious person of sorts.

You may also like...