In high school, I went to a catholic school where we weren’t allowed to relax or braid our hair with extensions; we were only allowed to do Mukule (cornrows) and iyakotoni (simple plaits with African thread). As soon as I wrote my last exam, I went straight to a salon to get my hair relaxed because almost every had relaxed hair. I’ve had relaxed hair since then but at some point, I got very frustrated with it because it had a permanent patch, it had split ends, it was at the same length for a very long time and It had lost its natural colour because of relaxers.
One morning, as I was getting ready for work and I decided I was going to cut it that day. So after work, I went to a barbershop recommended by a friend. When I got to the entrance of the shop, I was so nervous and hesitated for a minute then I took a deep breath and went in. I had a BIG Chop!
When the barber started cutting my hair and it started falling off my head, I had a mini-panic attack and a lot of ‘what ifs’ popped up in my head… ‘what if the shape of my head is funny (If i had aka lukobo) and I won’t look pretty in short hair! What if my hair doesn’t grow back or it takes long to grow back, what if people look at me funny! It was too late to turn back now, I told myself. I just looked down….avoiding the mirror for fear of a breakdown but to my surprise, everyone in the barbershop was like, wow! You look great in short hair! I was like ‘really? Thank you! But not convinced. I was still worried about my friend’s and colleagues’ reaction.
I was so nervous when I walked into the office the following morning. The first person I saw was my colleague at the reception, who was like ‘Oh wow! You look great! You should keep it like that! Shortly, another colleague came in and she was like, Oh wow! You should have done it sooner; you really look great in short hair. The only negative comments I got was from two of my friends…one thought I looked old, the other said i didn’t look nice in short hair and my former boss who didn’t say much but her reaction said it all. She was a ‘mama’, so I understood her reaction lol. For her, women shouldn’t cut their hair period!
When I cut my hair, my intention was to keep it short because growing it would be too much work and It was great spending only a few minutes on my hair instead of an hour or more in the morning. All I did was applying pink lotion (before I found out there more to natural hair products than pink lotion and Vaseline Petroleum Jelly lol). I felt liberated! I was blown away by so many things I could do with my hair. I later joined a natural hair group on Facebook called Zedian Naturals, which has been a major help on my natural hair journey. I learnt how to do two strand twists and flat twists from the videos done by two of the admins, Sibongile Siwila and Monde Mutumba Chisenga.
A friend suggested watching YouTube videos to find out my hair type and how to better take care of it. I also created a page on FB, called Dee’s Team Natural Hair where I am sharing my natural hair journey.
I’ve learnt a lot and I am still learning new hairstyles and products that work for my hair. There are still days when I get frustrated with my hair because it takes a lot of patience and hard work but I don’t regret going natural, I just wish I did it sooner. I’ve been natural for 4 years now and I am still enjoying my natural hair journey and the versatility of it. I haven’t had much retention because of a trim that went wrong but I am happy with the progress so far. I will be sharing my progress on the blog.
I hope to inspire someone to go natural ;-).