The African Woman And Her Hair

By Onyedikachi Helen Nwabueze

The thick, glorious dense hair of an African woman is a beauty to behold. With the little beautiful curls at the temple, a healthy and neat, jet-black hair is the crown of an African woman.

One of the reasons I admire Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is her hair; the lady wears her hair with an enviable pride. In her book ‘Dear Ijeawele’, I find her tenth suggestion wonderful. She encouraged Ijeawele to raise Chizalum to be a woman who is proud of her African traits, who wears her hair with pride and will relish the awesomeness of being a woman. I found it interesting because she mentioned an African woman’s hair and thinks that it’s worth being proud of.

Personally, I love hair extensions. They make hairstyling easy, classy and beautiful but I haven’t loved any extension as much as I love my hair. I wear it with pride and in different styles; cornrows, braids, and what not. I’m lucky to be gifted a soft, dense and fairly long hair. Anybody close to me knows how comfortable my hair makes me.

Why this appraisal? A few days ago, I sent my picture to a friend. It was to be used on a flyer for a program. He rejected it because of my hair; the picture was taken when I wore cornrows. Was I hurt? Maybe. The picture is beautiful, people have complimented it and I love it because of the hairstyle. But it didn’t meet professional standards or whatever he wanted. I sent another picture, anyway.

Dear African woman, your hair is awesome, it’s beautiful. Good grooming and healthy eating habits are all you need to set the world ablaze with your hair. Whatever way you decide to wear it; cornrows, braids, Afro, short, long, it is always beautiful. There are many wonderful products out there for you to choose from. Take care of your hair. Love it. Wear it with relish.

I don’t hold it against my friend that he didn’t like my hairstyle. He meant no harm. He just didn’t like it. Instead, it made me realize how proud I am of my hair, how beautiful the tiny curls at my temple are.

Dear African woman, wear your hair with pride.

There is a right way of doing things and there is a wrong way. Has anyone thought of the best way??

There is white and there is black. What about other colours?

There are two points, A and B. But there is a distance between them. What about it?

There are two extremes. What about the in-between?

There is left and right. What about middle?

Must it be the two extremes? Surely, we shouldn’t be forced to accept just two options!

The world has no formula, life doesn’t come with a manual. I think we should be allowed to explore our options. If the set down rules are too rigorous, we should be allowed to try other means we deem fit, so long as nobody gets hurt. That way,we get to test our abilities. Geniuses are made from trials and not conformation!!

Dear youngster, try other methods. Live, don’t exist. Someone I know said that living is not for the feeble-minded. Everybody is alive, breathing and moving, basic biological processes taking place and all, but only few are living. That it takes a lot of courage to live. That you have to be blind to some things and deaf to some things in order to live. Take a different good path. Give your dreams a chance to actualise. Go against the norms if you feel it’s better. Don’t be restricted. Refuse to be limited by two options.

My friend, Amara, got married immediately she left secondary school. Her husband is a businessman at Onitsha main market. Before marriage, all she wanted was to live out her youth, go to the university, get a job and build a home, and be a happy woman. Her mother didn’t support the idea of getting married when one wants to. According to her ” why waste your time when you can still do everything after marriage?”.

Amara is married with three children today because her mother ‘knows best’. But her mother never knew that she wouldn’t do all those things after marriage. She didn’t go back to school, she doesn’t have a job, she only got married and built a home. My friend mourns her ‘would-have-been’ life. Her siblings are living what would have been her life. She was used to test the waters. A risky experiment that crashed on her.

Life is so hard. Sometimes you can’t even live your own life; you have to live other people’s dream in the guise of them wanting the best for you . Oftentimes, living out your dreams is so difficult because the society points out a way for you which you may not like but they keep telling you “that’s the way it’s done “.

But to tell you the truth, being yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else is a great accomplishment.

You alone have the power to change yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you how to run your life; it may work for them and not work for you. Just be careful and ensure that you are on the right path.

Keep striving!

Keep living !!

Be yourself; you are unique!!!

You are the best version of your kind.

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