My Hair-Story, a timeline of change

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 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 still remains strong in my mind, has a painful end, with my mother cutting all of my hair from my head.

This was however no random act, or some kind of punishment, but more of a necessary act, as I was at school no longer allowed to have long hair rather a short normal cut.

As logical as the reason was, this did not make it an better, I felt powerless against a machine, that was at this point my school and for this I had to face a kind of trauma through my hair.
My perspective towards rules and regulations, mainly man made, was somewhat changed and radicalized and this somehow changed my way of looking at the world.

As a teenager I would learn to question the ideals and motives of the post-colonial school structures in Zimbabwe, I would criticize certain segregational tendencies due to wealth or family, that was were encouraged in my social environment.
I would come to understand what ‘Sick with Power’, Dictator, Suppression, and Political Violence meant and watch helplessly as my government amassed for itself power against its own people.

As my awareness of injustice in the world grew, so grew my strong opinions, I had to let out the anger somehow and so I found my release in writing. The desire to express myself grew root, and just like the day I cried as I saw the locks of my hair falling onto the bare ground I vowed that I would fight and protect the oppressed.

Harare Gardens in Zimbabwe, (c)Tami Zhizhou.

In my adolescence days, my hair was always straightened, every second woman in my country used to use chemicals back in the 90s and early 2000s but as strong as my opinions were growing, so was my desire to also embrace the real image of me. My real image was not flowing straight hair, but rather kinky, tough black african hair. And I wanted to love that side of myself as much as it was not easy to manage.

From 16 I stopped straightening my hair and left behind ideas ideas of western beauty, 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.

Backyard, Harare, Zimbabwe, (c) Innocent Fungurani.
Domboshava, Zimbabwe
(c)JoHana

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, to claim my spot and to remember that there is more exciting experiences to come, challenges that I have to take on and that behind all the hairstyles, I’m still just me and that is for me very comforting.

MsBreeze

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

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