What is behind hair braids?

Hair Braids have become fashionable for many women in the Ghanaian society and perhaps the African continent.

However, it is a natural phenomenon that most Africans have coarse hair and that they believe when they braid their hairs, it straightens and lengthens and sometimes become tender.

There have been several perceptions behind it.

What then is so peculiar about braiding of hairs among Ghanaian or African women?

In an interview with a cross-section of beauticians and customers, here are some excerpts:

* Braiding your hair means that the style will not need to be touched-up for at least three months.

* Extensions also require little maintenance, although you may find these a little more expensive initially to be put into your hair.

* Braiding your hair is a good way to save money, as you won’t have to have the process repeated for some time.

* Sound simple, but buying hairdressing magazines is a brilliant way to get the latest news and money saving tips.

* Some beauticians also pointed out that, even though they charge exorbitantly at the first attendance they still lose customers because they cease visiting the saloon till or after three months.

* Hair braid is a fashion.

* Helps change your facial glimpse.

* With the recent low schedule exercise, hair braids have been a factor in order to keep hair in shape.

African women cherish their hairs so much. Even the good book says the beauty of a woman is her hair. There are various hair-styles.

Women spend incredible amount of money and time on their heads. Such things simply shouldn’t happen but what do we observe these days? Gone were the days when older folks plaited their hairs with black threads or leave it “afro” and go about their activities.

Asked why they braid their hairs without following the previous system of plaiting of hairs, they said it was old fashioned and primitive.

“We are adopting the western culture and we want to be like the whites (Obroni).”

Miss Tovleeyah Israel, healthy lifestyles specialist of African-Hebrew Development Agency (AHDA), said: “Relaxers and other harsh chemicals used to relax or perm hair is harmful to health.”

“The chemicals enter directly into the capillary scalp area, from there directly into the brain and onto the organ of the body. This practice is a direct reflection of the enormous psychic damage that is a testimony of a deep seated inferiority complex”, she said.

Miss Israel reiterated that hair braids were important part of culture and they have historically been “a barometer of the national consciousness of Africans”, and cited the examples of Samson in the Bible; the Mau-Mau of Kenya and the Rastafarians in Africa and America during the 1960s and 1970s.

Is it not about time that African women appreciated their being and projected what they have for others to admire them rather than just copying anything foreign without giving thought to their implications?

Source: GNA feature

Authored by: Vida-Pearl Atakpa (GNA Intern)