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Africa Day and Hair Culture

Aktualisiert: 25. Mai 2023

You might be wondering what Africa day is and why it's significant to Afrolocke and POCs all around the world. The history of Africa though turbulent, vibrant, heroic and ever changing, has maintained most if not all of its hair culture.

Africa day was established on the 25th of May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Organisation

of African Unity, now known as the African Union was to assist African nations in attaining their independence. The day has been commemorated ever since

each year not only in Africa but over the entire world. In recent years each celebration has had a theme, making this year no exception. The theme coined to celebrate the special day, 60 years in the making is; Our Africa, Our future.

In pre-Colonial Africa, hairstyles were used as a form of Identity. Each clan had ways in which they styled their hair, some hairstyles even had symbolic meaning. For instance hairstyles for war, hairstyles for girls reaching puberty, hairstyles for pregnant women and so on.

To celebrate Africa Day, we would like to introduce you to well-known hair practices from North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa:

African threading and Bantu Knots African threading can be used as a heat free form of stretching hair, a protective style or worn underneath a protective style such as a wig. African threading remains till this day a prominent Natural Hair practice. To carry out African threading one needs Black thread, however there is also a specific type of thread made only for this cause. To avoid friction, one can use our multi purpose oil. The thread is wrapped twice to make a stronger tie and tied in repetitive circles till the ends.This process stretches out hair and is great for stretching without heat.

‘Bantu’ for Bantu Knots means ‘people’. Bantu/Top knots originated from Zulu people of Southern Africa. To achieve this look hair parted into sections, twisted and wrapped in spiral motion to create a round knot.

Hair braiding comes in various forms. Some of the most common forms are twists, cornrows, box braids. Cornrows are believed to date back all the way to 3000BC. With all hairstyles a great deal of right proportions, symmetry and accuracy is needed. All three methods can be used as everyday styles as well as protective styles. They also aid in stretching and random tangling of hair strands. Examples of hair styles that can be derived from these are flat/mini twists, jumbo/ butterfly braids, all back cornrows and plain cornrows as a base for protective styling.

Dreadlocks/Locks are currently worn by a lot of people with different hair textures and nationalities. The Hamar clan of Ethiopia widely wear Ochre Dreadlocks, which are bound by resin and water to help style the locks. Ochre is a natural clay earth, ferric/ iron oxide and varying amounts of clay and sand.

French braid under the hijab

The French braid is very popular under the hijab. This braid keeps your curls together and protects your natural hair (the shorter strands of hair can be easily braided into this hairstyle). A ponytail and deep bun are also common and very popular.

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