FIRST OF ALL

It’s interesting the things that can completely divide the nation. I’m guessing if you were asked to list the things that constitute riveting talking points, hair might not be on the list; but alas here we are!

What this article is not, is an opinion on the Rastafari saga because as the Education Minister has said, “while other countries are fighting to go to Mars, we are here fighting over hair”, so no, we won’t do that.

What we will do is dig a little deeper into this concept of uniformity and integration, which are the top reasons we have been told as to why girls as young as 11 are asked to cut their hair before being admitted into some very good schools.

And why it is mandatory for the current SHS program.

AS USUAL LET’S NOT ASK WHY

For the last few days, I have asked over and over what the origin of this ‘cutting hair thing’ is, and I have heard a lot of reasons.

While some say African hair is hard to manage and the girls need an even playing field’, others say they don’t want the girls to compete among themselves. The list goes on and on….

Eventually, on Strong and Sassy on March 24, I was told by a Ugandan journalist, Nila Yasmin, that in Uganda, this practice started with their colonial masters.

According to her, girls were ordered to cut their hair because it was ugly.

Interesting thought huh….

But perhaps that is not what happened here in Ghana, maybe back here it really is about integration and uniformity.

BALANCE FOR BETTER?

Are we setting up our girls to fail by not teaching them to balance school and hair?

When we try to level out the playing field, are we creating a false sense of equality that ill prepares them for this harsh world?

Maybe cutting their hair provides shelter and we do want to shelter them from the realities of this world, which they will face eventually, but it does hurt.

I have seen tears as hair is cut off and I ask ..is this necessary?

CONTINUING THE CONVERSATIONS

The Chief Imam, Osmanu Nuhu Sharubutu has asked that we talk about it. A national dialogue. So let’s do that! Let’s really ask why we do this. How is hair not an issue in the Western world and how are their girls taught to manage it.

Why should we hold on  to traditions just because its easier to?

Ultimately, if education is preparing us for life then is this tradition in line with that?

A big thank you to Irene Apedo, Nila Yasmin and Helaria Dalu for sharing their thoughts with us on strong and sassy.

Watch the discussion in the stream below:

The author, Animwaa Anim-Addo is the host of Strong and Sassy on Joy FM and co-host of the Super Morning Show.