With chemical relaxers which straighten hair flooding the market, hair has become a political issue in Africa these days. Being uncomfortable with maintaining and struggling with kinky natural hair many black women grow old without ever wearing their hair in its natural state and black girls scalps are slathered with chemical cream from a young age of 4.
But with the availability of some social networks where people get to share their hair journeys and other proper natural hair care regimens, most women are now starting to turn away from relaxers.
Ongai, one of the most natural hair lovers in Zimbabwe shares her journey with us
“Growing up in a bigger family, my mother was always busy with other house hold chores such that devoting her time to fighting with my kinky hair which was the hard mashona type wasn’t a part of her priorities. I had my hair relaxed when I was only 8. The relaxing process involved putting sodium hydroxide on the hair to breakdown its protein causing it to become straight. The process was very painful and sometimes I could be left with a burnt sculp.
my hair hated the process such that little by little it stopped growing , as time went by it got so weak and started breaking. As a busy woman, my mother took me to the barber and I got a haircut which was less stressful to her.
Growing up seeing other girls rocking their long natural hair, it became my passion to grow my hair naturally as well and keeping it off the creamy crack which made it suffer previously.
I started my journey in 2011 with wrong ideas and without proper knowledge so I damaged my hair with heat from too much flat ironing and blow drying without heat protection. my hairline was weak and it was breaking
After the heat damaging process I started researching on ways of managing and growing hair the natural way and this became a passion that I followed from the shop counters to the garden and to the kitchen cupboards for the best natural hair products.
Our hair is unique and with that comes the difference in maintenance and products to use. So I learnt about maintenance processes such as LOC where you first use a liquid on your hair, massage some oil into it and then seal with a conditioner among others. All these made my hair healthier and stronger such that everyone else fell in love with it.
With too much love for natural hair, I then did an aromatherapy course just before I had my little girl so I started my experiments with mixing essential natural oils such as lavender, clary sage and rosemary to name a few which are all good for hair and skin. I am proud to say with so much knowledge on natural hair, when I had my daughter I made sure she was a naturalista right from birth. Her hair and skin are totally natural.
All the products I use for my hair are natural and my hair has become so soft manageable and I only use my hands for detangling. I am proud to be off the creamy crack.”
The growing movement of natural black hair and the self-confidence shown on celebritycheck.co.zw and realization will no doubt continue to inspire other black women to look the way they are born to look, and embrace that image as beauty. The Afro hair empowers the black woman, makes her proud of her race and comfortable with whom she is.