African hairstyles have played a significant role in the growth and popularization of the African culture and for a very long time, these hairstyles have been described as a pertinent representation of the cultural values and identity of Africans.
Arguably, There is no wider variety of hairstyles in any community as you would find in African communities ranging from African Threading to Senegalese Twists which originated from Senegal to Bantu Knots, traced all the way back to 17th Century southern Africa among the Zulu ethnic group; the Single braids which has evolved to feature a plethora of styles including box and bob hair braids and not to forget the popular African braids also known as Cornrows, one of the oldest African hairstyles which originated from Egypt around the Nile Valley, from where it spread to other parts of Africa, including among the Fulani, Hausa, Yoruba, Maasai, and Wolof.
In Africa, the use of ornaments such as shells, cowries, silver coins and beads by to beautify the hair is synonymous with our traditions as these decorations are also seen as symbols of one’s social status, tribe, age, occupation, class, marital status and spirituality.Although the texture of our hair varies greatly, it doesn’t change the fact that the expression of beauty through African hairstyles is a signature of African women. we take the maintenance of our hair to another level, one may say it is outrageous the amount of money and time the African woman spends on her hair but then again, for many their hairstyle is a personal expression of who they are.
Even when we were made to feel ugly because of the colour of our skin, a colour we were blessed with by God , our hairstyles filled the vacuum, they made us more confident, filled us with pride, and gave us a sense of belonging. Our Afro so beautiful and bold, Natural and pretty, it exudes Confidence and strength
For the African woman, making hair is a prominent social activity as many see it as an opportunity to while away time by socializing and engage in conversations while they make their hair.
Globalisation has made it possible for our culture to travel far and wide and over the years, African hairstyles have been become more attractive to a wider audience which has made many African women more comfortable and appreciative of their hair. Today, some of these African hairstyles are impressively represented in both local and foreign films, music videos and fashion.
As African hairstyles such as braids and corn rows continues to gain recognition across the globe, we need to pay close attention to Issues such as cultural appropriation which becomes more popular by every passing minute.
Many foreign cultures now adopt our hairstyles, rename it and then call it their own and by doing so, disregard its African roots which is not acceptable and so it is pertinent for us to first educate ourselves that there is beauty in Our heritage, so that we can accurately enlighten and educate others about the origins of our African hairstyles in other to keep its legacies alive.
After all, our hairstyle will forever be part of our history, our identity, our community, our generation, our future, our legacy.