African child, you are beautiful

2016-02-17 06:00
Mpho Dioka, Social Observer.

Mpho Dioka, Social Observer.

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FOR years I have been hiding my hair under a weave, but I decided to take it off just a couple of months ago.

I used to love weaves and, as a matter of fact, I still love them.

People always ask me why I have chosen to go natural.

My answer to them is pretty simple. I didn’t choose to go natural. I have always loved my African hair, but when I reached a certain age, it kind of felt that a weave was a must-have.

I started putting on weaves to fit in. To be something I am not. I thought that a weave made me look beautiful.

That it is a must-have for women of this day and age. It pains me to see girls as young as five wearing weaves.

It is even more scary to realise that some women will not step outside their homes without a weave.

I ask what happened to strong black women who used to love rocking their afros and perms? Those who used to plait their hair with wool or pantihose?

Looking at myself now, I realise they are hiding under weaves because they want to feel like they belong.

They want to fit the description of what society thinks is beautiful.

The truth is, no matter how many weaves you go through, how many times you change your hair colour or how many times you process your hair with chemicals, you will never be good enough for people who don’t even think they are beautiful themselves. This leads me to ask these questions: Why do you spend thousands of rands on your hair because you want to look a certain way? Why do you go to so much trouble to fit in?

Why do you let society dictate what you perceive as beautiful?

African child, you are beautiful. You don’t need a weave to realise that.

To answer the question that so many people have been asking me – I never chose to go natural.

I was born this way. Going natural was never a choice.

Me with my African hair is who I am and who I will always be. The only thing I chose was to wear a weave to hide that. No more. No more will I hide under a weave to hide who I am. My African hair is not a fashion. No. It is who I am. I chose to wear a weave.

I chose to hide my natural hair because I didn’t think it was good enough.

Now I choose to embrace my hair and to wear it without shame.

And yes, I will occasionally wear a weave – but this time it won’t be because I want to hide my hair.

It will be because I choose to. I am an African woman and I am proud of my hair.

I refuse to be ashamed of who I am anymore.

I didn’t choose my hair, I was blessed with it.

What I will choose is to love it and to wear it with pride.

It took a long time for me to realise that a weave doesn’t make you beautiful.

Just like your natural hair doesn’t make you ugly.

You choose what works for you and I can guarantee there is nothing more beautiful than an African woman embracing her roots.

Young girls should start rethinking what they see is beautiful. Kim Kardashian is good-looking and all, but I will always love to look like Zahara, Nandi, Lira, Lebo Mashile . . . the list is endless.

Your hair is your crown, African child. Wear it with pride.

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