My Hair Story JHB: A Celebration of Our Natural Hair Journey
As a child, I remember being cradled in-between my mother’s legs while I sat on the floor of our living room doing something (I don’t remember what exactly) while she had her hands in my hair. I vividly remember my hair in an afro for most of my toddler life. My mother had undoubtedly permitted me to be a bush baby with natural intention. To this day, I look back to those precious bonding sessions and crave to feel those emotions about my hair and self again, only this time in my twenties (and a little after that). I yearn for my hair what my young toddler spirit only knew: to be wild and free.
My Hair Story
My hair journey is simple. Like many naturalistas before me (I’m not sure I qualify yet) my hair care options were limited to nonexistent. I will admit that I had bought into the culture that shunned my thick natural black hair and celebrated long, sleek (white) hair above all. It was either relax my hair, altering it while stripping it of its diversity leaving it damaged but silky soft, or shave my head bald to comply with my school’s code of conduct and I chose the latter. There was no in-between like there is now that celebrates wearing my crowning glory in its tightly coiled splendour.
A Teaching Moment
Attending the My Hairstory event was a life changer. Don’t get me wrong I watch YouTube and am subscribed to natural hair aficionados Yolz Channel, All Things Hair, Khataza Mbhombhi, and many more but this event was something entirely different. Held at 27 Boxes in Melville Johannesburg (a breathtaking space) on the 11th of May, the occasion took on a life of its own. I was introduced to a community of afropuffs that live for and unapologetically celebrate being uniquely themselves through their hair. I walked into a (hair) space created for me by women who felt the need to teach us that going natural is now on the list of options (other than go bald or applying harsh chemicals to our hair) because the products are now available to us like never before. I saw children rocking afros and protective styles with not a single relaxed head in sight and what a sight it was indeed (I had tears in my eyes).
The hair conversations had were some of the best I have had the pleasure of being a part of. They were wholesome and informative and a breath of fresh air. The stage was set up in a way that it fostered a feeling of inclusion I have never felt before at an event teaming with hundreds of people. I was bummed that I missed Yolenda Jawe speak but I was elated that panellists Smangele Sibisi, Deborah Mutemwa-Tumbo, Sonto Pooe, Thokozile Mangwiro, Carice Anderson, Joan and many more were there to speak so passionately about something that clearly matters to them. There was live music to soothe our senses while we shopped at vendors such as Design Essentials Naturals and Native Child just to name a few. The sponsors As I am and Vatika Afro Naturals made sure to take care of us by gifting us with a hair care hamper to kick start and encourage happy wash days.
Having such spaces and events that embraces my thick natural coils is something that words will eternally fail to describe. The My Hairstory event was one of the few moments that I have felt like the bush baby I was as a toddler and I can’t wait to attend many more like it in the future.
|| All the images in this post are from the My Hairstory Facebook page ||