About

ilovemyhair

A South African natural hair and natural living blog.

To summarize what this blog is about I'll start with an extract from a piece written by Ntsiki Mazwai, a South African poet. The piece is called "Kill weave".

"Once upon a time we were a nation that was told and treated like animals. We were not seen as beautiful. Our nappy hair was such an outstanding disgrace that it even got the term 'kaffir hare.' (term used during Apartheid by Afrikaners to describe black people's thick natural hair) Not African hair or indigenous hair......Kaffir hare, something crude, ugly and unacceptable. Being a darker shade of brown and having 'kaffir hare' was the worst possible fate to happen to a human being.....and that kind of affected most of the African nation as we are dark skinned with nappy hair.

It became a national crisis. Black people did everything in their power to not look black, in the efforts to get jobs. The white people who had economic power made it very clear that we look like monkeys and preferred to give 'better' slave jobs to African people who were light skinned and had straighter hair.

To check the race of its citizens, South African white employers would stick a pencil in your hair. (The kind of hair you had determined your place in society.) If the pencil fell off, you were safe and got treated better than the other slaves....if the pencil got stuck (as it normally would in black hair) you were doomed.....a REAL kaffir. You were something dirty, uncivilized and savage.

As a result African people hated this hair of theirs that denied them access to jobs, wealth and opportunities. Our hair became a liability.
African people began to detest their own hair and what they look like because of where it ended them up on the social ladder.....at the bottom.

Oppression and apartheid were so vicious and unjust that black people started to hate themselves. Our mothers burnt their skins with chemicals in an effort to look lighter skinned. They burnt their scalps in an effort to make their hair straighter....like the beautiful, rich white people. Black women started to believe that their hair is unmanageable and ugly. They started to internalize that they needed straight hair to be considered clean, beautiful and successful. (This dynamic still plays out today as most corporate women feel the weave looks more 'professional' than dreadlocks or natural hair.) This thinking has been generationally passed down to us, because it was systematically instilled in us.

We may not have had the same experiences but when we got to the white schools after apartheid was banned....us little black girls met little white girls with long flowing hair- we had seen white women on TV ads flicking their long manes saying 'because I'm beautiful.'
We on the other hand, were never exposed to beautiful African women in afros chanting the same slogans - so subconsciously, we were being brainwashed into believing having hair that you can flick is the ONLY definition of beauty."

Nstiki Mazwai

This blog aims to help African women fall in love with their natural hair again through a collection of information, tips and tricks on how to take care of their glorious hair. I don't claim to be a natural hair expert, in fact, I am still learning my own hair. I want to share some hair knowledge to help break negative connotations associated with natural hair and disprove the myth that ethic hair can't grow. With proper care and patience our hair grows and grows! Let's embrace our natural textures and create our own golden standard of beauty!

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