The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says wearing dreadlocks in a corporate environment must not be condemned so long as these locks are kept clean and tidy.
Wearing locks herself, the ‘unconventional’ Afua Asabea Asare argues her locks have nothing to do with her productivity and authority as the head of Ghana’s export promotion authority.
“It’s my real hair, I can’t carry anything else. It’s going to 15 years old on the 6th of December. It’s very simple to maintain, I just get up and go, that’s why I maintain it. I don’t see why there should be anything against dreads, depends on how you keep it.
“Of course, if you come to my corporate environment and you have locks and don’t keep it clean it could be an issue,” she said.
In Ghana and other economies, conservative workplaces such as banks and other corporate environments have strict policies against dreadlocks.
In most cases, workers or prospective candidates do receive a formal request to comply with the office policy or face disciplinary measures, including relocation to a less visible position in the office away from customers or suspension. Some employees even suffer contract termination should they still insist on keeping their dreadlocks.
Madam Asabea Asare wonders why the corporate world must be against this trend when indeed powerful establishments like the White House even gives space for dreads.
“I’ve come across people in the White House rocking dreads and it looks clean and tidy, there’s nothing wrong with it. I keep it because it’s simple and natural. I try to be close to nature as much as possible. But it should look presentable in the corporate setting. That’s me, this is what I want to do, I’m not my hair,” she argued.
Many people are misinformed about dreadlocks and form negative beliefs about the wearers based on what they've heard. Some popular misconceptions are that dreadlocks are never washed and the hairstyle indicates a lifestyle that includes marijuana.
Dreadlocks wearers could receive negative remarks or experience negative behaviour from co-workers and customers or clients with such beliefs.