Our Hair Is Not A Choice
Over the past ten years natural hair has been an evolving topic, from asking ourselves what
natural hair is to, how do you even take care of natural hair. These have been questions we
have had to deal with before we even started the journey. This is the road that has been
abandoned so much that we don’t even know where it leads to. We really make it up as we
go, not really aware of any hurdles that come with it.
Whenever I think of my own journey, I just feel liberated, excited and sometimes exhausted
and not because I just finished the three-hour marathon of washday, no, the exhaustion really
comes from the policies that says my hair does not fit in. The professional policies, the
cleanliness politics, the neatness policies. Yeah somehow, we have all been there and I don’t
know about you sis but I’ve always wondered how we are made to choose between being
presentable (according to societal standards) and how our natural hair grows..
My Natural Hair, one of the biggest local natural hair brands in South Africa has been
advocating the right to wear your natural hair without being policed about it. They released a
petition and also did a live chat to keep the conversation going and get more people to not
only sign the petition but to also understand and extend our frustrations.
The panel was led by Carrissa Cupido and the panellists included: Zulaikha Pathel a young
black activist, JOAN a natural hair guru, Siviwe and Aphelele social media influencers,
Shonisani Masuthu an actress, Nicole Fortuin an actress, Paula a natural hair influencer and
myself, Thando Mavuso, representing the Natural Hair Co team.
The conversation moved from how each person began their natural hair journey and how it
has been this far, to discussing why we need to pass the right to wear natural hair. Each
person has different experiences and reasons for their journey but at the end we all
acknowledged the fact that our hair grows from our scalps and it has always been that way.
So, it only makes sense that I have the right to wear my hair as it grows right? Wrong. Young
black ladies in schools have been told that their hair is `too much` that its `too big` and
uncontrollable. Many schools in South Africa have policies that demand black girls `tame`
their hair or they get kicked out of school. I know what you are thinking it’s crazy that we
can’t do this one thing which is to be ourselves in the most authentic way.
This is what the petition is fighting against, and by signing this petition you ensure that the
coming generations don’t undergo judgments about their hair or how they choose to wear
their hair. This is a struggle that we should put an end to. To sign the petition, click here.