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True Life: I Went to West Africa with Natural Hair and Got Mixed Reactions

Avatar • Mar 13, 2013


My hair in Nigeria ( I was stuck in a dingy hotel room…shudder)

By Christabel of ChysCurlz

If you’ve read this post I wrote a while ago, you know that natural hair is not the norm in Africa and as much as that sounds non intuitive, it just isn’t. And boy, did my hair become an object of much debate when I went home!

There were the few who thought it was “cool” and “how can your hair do that”, “I’m sure you have some texturizer in it”, “oh it must be an American thing”, and “I can’t imagine not having a relaxer in my hair.” So, yeah, I got those responses for sure. What really threw me off though was the constant prodding by a select few to “fix” my hair or make it more “manageable”. Quite a few people thought it looked like locs and assumed that I never comb my hair and this in their opinion was unacceptable.

I tried as much as possible to educate people whom I sensed were genuinely curious and just let the haters hate. I also tried to play if off as nothing but the truth of the matter is that it really got to me how uneducated my fellow Africans were when it comes to natural hair. As in ZERO clue that natural hair can have a curl pattern that does not need to be combed out to ensure it’s manageability. What people are used to when it comes to natural hair is, chronically dry and damaged hair that is super un-moisturized and painful to comb through.


The ladies at the braiding shop blew my hair out. I had to comb it myself because they approached me with a fine tooth comb!


And then 6 of them gave me the tiniest braids ever!


Said Braids

I went to both Nigeria and Ghana and I must say that the response was more favorable in Ghana than it was in Nigeria. I even went to a “natural hair salon” in Ghana where they did two strand twists and loc extensions ( the newest rage). But even here, it was apparent at how even the stylists were uneducated when it comes to basics of moisture + natural hair = best friends. Here, I witnessed torturous sessions with fine tooth combs being raked through dry hair with no moisturizer and women wincing in pain through the whole thing. But as I said before, there is some progress because at least these ladies had the courage to ditch the creamy crack in a culture that is so dependent on it.

Alas, I left really satisfied that I had equipped my mama with the tools of the trade to continue on her natural journey and my best friend is going natural. So, yeah, amidst all the negativity, there exists some positivity.

Now, onto my plans to take the natural hair revolution to my home countries!

XOXO,

Chichi.

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Gigi Young
Gigi Young
7 years ago

I just had a little laugh at this. Haven’t read the first part, but it always amuses me to read reactions about Africa from black Americans–it usually seems like they have a concept that Africa is stuck in the chrysalis of when our ancestors were taken and brought to this side of the planet. They go back to “The Motherland” and expect Africans to be like the Kente cloth, dashiki, Black Power black folks who fetishize Africa as the hub of “pure blackness.” Let this experience, IMO, recalibrate how we view Africa and Africans–which usually is not separate from the… Read more »

Froregade
Froregade
7 years ago
Reply to  Gigi Young

I think the point of shock from the article is how cultures that are so heavily populated by black people can still hold so little knowledge of how to handle their own hair ‑in it’s natural state-. I don’t think this is about people hoping and expecting that Africans are walking around with an afro pick in their hair shouting down the evils of The Man. To be honest, reading this was a bit shocking, even to me. It would be like if you went to East Asia and suddenly discovered that there were very few hair salons that actually… Read more »

Shahidah
7 years ago
Reply to  Froregade

I agree Foregade and I believe the author is African as well

goyta
goyta
7 years ago
Reply to  Shahidah

yeah i thought she was african too. did i miss smtg? lol

SJ
SJ
7 years ago
Reply to  Froregade

But Gigi has a point. If one is aware of the effects that Eurocentric influence has affected the entire diaspora (the Americas and Africa), this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Depending on where you go, there are some practices that show we know how to do our hair; many practices used by naturals here in the US came from West Africa (threading, banding, plaiting, twists etc.). We often generalize and think Africans are all “about the motherland”, when in fact, those countries were victimized and affected by European culture forced on them in a way no different than in… Read more »

Nikki
Nikki
7 years ago
Reply to  SJ

+1 Well said.

Renée
7 years ago
Reply to  SJ

Exactly i don’t understand black Americans’ reactions if they actually read about colonisation and what the white man has done there it is NOT any different from what they went through here if not worse. Africans had their hands chopped off, their women raped and killed, children killed for not bringing rubber to the white man. Africans were just as badly messed up as other black in the diaspora, most black from the new world actually think that while they were being enslaved, Africans were living like kings but not they were also enslaved and abused and told that their… Read more »

Nikki
Nikki
7 years ago
Reply to  SJ

Your comment on my post (below) makes sense. I didn’t look at it in that light. I do believe this westernized view of beauty has obstructed our view of natural beauty– from the first diaspora of Africans to colonization to the current diaspora.

Froregade
Froregade
7 years ago
Reply to  SJ

I don’t think that people are surprised of the fact that Eurocentric Beauty Standards have had such a far out stretch to cultures, but I still stand that I’m shocked to what level and severe that their lack of knowledge of handling ‑their own hair- in it’s natural state is. This has absolutely nothing what so ever to do with any kind of glorification of African culture (I’m not even African, I’m Haitian), this is just about the complete and total lack of knowledge as an entire culture for how to deal with it. Yes, a lot of hair stylings… Read more »

Nikki
Nikki
7 years ago
Reply to  Gigi Young

I’ve heard this sentiment alot, however, I’m noticing a lot of natural hair meet ups in Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria. It reminds me when women started going natural in America- it takes a while to gain acceptance, which is weird altogether being that this is our hair in our natural state. The author is Nigerian, so it’s not from the perspective of an black/African american.

SJ
SJ
7 years ago
Reply to  Nikki

This is true. Natural hair is becoming more accepted in these places, similar to what is going on in the States. I can tell that the author is Nigerian due to her name (and in no way am I bashing her article or experiences), but I do think it might be her first time (at least as an adult) going based on how shocked she was. I have been to Nigeria multiple times, and the sentiment towards natural hair described in the article is of NO surprise to me. I got used to it by my 2nd or 3rd visit… Read more »

fluffy-in-flight
fluffy-in-flight
7 years ago
Reply to  Gigi Young

Didn’t the lady say that she went “home” to Africa?

Ms. Gee
Ms. Gee
7 years ago

Reading is so fundamental.

merry
merry
7 years ago
Reply to  Gigi Young

@gigi i don’t hope that africa is the “hub of pure blackness.” i know history. i’m not that naive. rather i’d hope it is the keeper of the love everything black/african-descended flame. if i can’t find a deeper level of self-acceptance and love in africa for blackness/africanness, then where else can it be found? do you think italians and french and germans and spaniards don’t have a profound degree of self-love for themselves, their people, their history, their culture? they elevate themselves above everyone else. and it’s the same way in some asian countries. in light of this, it’s not unreasonable to… Read more »

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago
Reply to  merry

i wholeheartly aggre with you gigi and i hope africa will become (again) the home of acceptance for all that refers to blackness

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago
Reply to  eve-audrey

i’m sorry i meant i wholeheartly agree with you merry lol

Christabel
7 years ago
Reply to  Gigi Young

I’m actually African and have been living in the states for only 7 years.

Ms. Gee
Ms. Gee
7 years ago
Reply to  Gigi Young

The author is African not African American. Read the article properly before being so quick to ridicule.

Olowo
Olowo
7 years ago

LoL..I laughed throughout!I live in Nigeria,newly natural(big chopped in feb)..people ask me DAILY when I’m going to “make” my hair.I just smile&say I like it like this :).I hope you enjoyed your trip though!

Tabatha
Tabatha
7 years ago

I like your hair in both styles. I’m sorry that you had an awkward time there. I have come to the sad realization that no matter what we do to our hair, people will always disapprove somewhere. So I say screw that noise and whip your head back and fourth.

Mimi
7 years ago

I went to West Africa with a big beautiful fro. It’s gone now. It was first damaged by braiders who didn’t know what to do with it. And then my family forced n to relax it because it was ‘too unseemly’ and it apparently made me look ‘lower class’. I have to start from scratch. Makes me really sad. Thank you for haring this. Interestingly, though, it was all women. Men LOVED the fro. They said they loved how natural it was.

anastasia
anastasia
7 years ago
Reply to  Mimi

I’m so sorry Mimi. Hang in there!

Giggles
7 years ago

For a long time African women have been influenced,just like American women and European women that straight hair is the best.With media from the west being abundant (Personally as an African girl growing up I always wondered how singers would have long hair in one video and chop it all off in the next,my friends and I would talk about it and it was concluded that some people were mixed race and their hair grew better (surprisingly what many black women all over the world think!) So as African women we are having to rediscover our love for natural hair as… Read more »

Rain
Rain
7 years ago

What I find funny is that afro wig is seen as stylish in Ghana & Nigeria but not their own fro — which the wig imitates??? Lol

Nappy Nicole
7 years ago

I agree with Gigi! I assumed that for years until I got some friends from various parts of Africa. I went to Nigeria at the end of 2011 and was advised to braid my hair and not rock an Afro if I didn’t want to scream “American” in Lagos. I was shocked to see even small children with little straight wigs and hair pieces. Locs aren’t common and were frowned upon by many–especially the older generation. I have kinky hair and back in the states Nigerians and many other West African women often compliment me on my hair. When I… Read more »

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago

with the rise of tv and magazines african countries have been as influenced by the western standard of beauty as the black diaspora around the world. they see all the beyonces with wigs on and think that’s what you have to look like to be considered beautiful hence the problem of skin bleaching in some parts of africa. tht makes me really sad but the positive point is with the ( still small but hey it counts)development of their countries africans are becoming to see things a bit differently and affirming themselves in their own identity. the natural hair movement… Read more »

SJ
SJ
7 years ago
Reply to  eve-audrey

I actually think it’s the opposite of what you described. Straight hair/ relaxers have been popular since the colonial era in most of these countries; people would be more accepted by European administrators in power and could open themselves to opportunities by straightening their hair. Sound familiar to what happened in the US? Yep. Sure, seeing African American celebs with straight weaves don’t help the standard in these countries; but if anything, I feel like it’ll become more prevalent with more naturals repping in the media.

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago
Reply to  SJ

what you say is actually true

Stephanie
Stephanie
7 years ago

I went to South Africa last year. I thought everyone would have natural hair… but it turns out, I was soooo wrong. It looked just like Philly, a little of everything but more weaves than anything. I was actually the odd person out. I expected everyone to have braids and afros but the same media that is pervasive in the states is also throughout the world…

Tricia
Tricia
7 years ago

I’m from Ghana and growing up, getting my hair done created anxiety. It was painful to get it combed and styled in cornrows or threading. Moisture retention isn’t part of the process and that’s why people get relaxers. My mom gave me a kiddy relaxer when I was five/six years old to make my hair more manageable. After that, my hair was kept short. I got a Jeri curl when we moved to the states when I was 15 then a relaxer in college. I have two girls and they’re all natural and plan to be because they’re educated about… Read more »

SouthernGirl
SouthernGirl
7 years ago

I had similar reactions in Ghana, Kenya and Mali. I haven’t had a perm in about fifteen years and I wore locs for about 6 of them. My first trip to Africa I was about 20 and was surprised because for some reason I thought I would see more people rocking naturals like me. That was my own ignorance and stereotype. Instead I was met with the same glares that I received in my own Southern hometown in Alabama. Like…what did you do to your hair? I realized that they too were using perms but you’re right the hair “care”… Read more »

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago

and not to sound dumb but africans can have the same twisted mind when it comes to natural hair: a short haired girl could have a harder time to make the others accept her mane when a long haired girl will be asked if she’s mixed lol. i have had friends and hairstylists telling me i have beautiful hair (mind you i’m a 4C with medium lenght hair) and yet they still relax theirs and wear weaves. i’m sure as my hair is growing i’ll get the “are you mixed” question soon enough

Aya
Aya
7 years ago

I think people forget that all of sub-Saharan Africa was colonized and only started to gain independence within the past 50 years or so. Many of Eurocentric beauty standards that exist in the U.S. and other Western countries exist there. It’s just more jarring because the majority of people are Black and you’d expect that they “get it.” It shouldn’t be surprising that relaxing hair isn’t as prominent in East and South African countries because they’ve got that “good hair” compared to folks from Central and West Africa. Sound familiar? And even before perming was introduced in these countries, the… Read more »

natu
natu
7 years ago
Reply to  Aya

East Africans and Southern Africans aint got no “good hair”!! The only exception to this are the Somalians, Ethiopian and Eritreans. Kenyans, Zambians and and the rest have the kinkiest of hair types!

SJ
SJ
7 years ago
Reply to  natu

TROLL ALERT

Diversity of hair types exists everywhere.

africandiva
africandiva
7 years ago
Reply to  natu

y so bitter?

BrinkyDinks
BrinkyDinks
7 years ago
Reply to  Aya

A lot of East Africans are mixed with Italian and Arab but there are Somalis with hair kinky like mine. Likewise, a lot of them like to straighten their hair too. So they can have the same self acceptance issues as West/South/Central Africans.

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago
Reply to  BrinkyDinks

italy colonized only libya if my knowledge is correct? not ethipia nor somalia nor erithrea. if there might have been some admixture with arabs, it’s a mistake to assume a wide number of ethiopians and somalians descend from arabs they’re black. my point is for instance cameroon was colonized by germans french and brits for centuries and you wouldn’t assume they’re mixed because there was a foreign presence in their country right? there might have been some admixture for sure but for the main part they’re black. i don’t know if i understood you well but that’s a common mistake… Read more »

anastasia
anastasia
7 years ago
Reply to  eve-audrey

Where you find the most diversity of features..” needs to be screamed from the rooftop. Africans are the most genetically diverse human beings on the planet-biological goldmines!
And remember friends: Colonized minds all think alike. Whether it be in a country/city/state in Africa, South America, Philippines, etc. The good news: Knowledge of our beauty, history, cultural contributions, etc are spreading and souls are awakening from their deep slumber. RISE UP! =)

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago
Reply to  anastasia

preach!

IB
IB
7 years ago
Reply to  BrinkyDinks

@BrinkyDinks — Very few Somalis are mixed with Arabs and even fewer are mixed with Italians. There are specific ethnic groups who have Arab heritage but the vast majority of Somalis are not mixed and are black. I don’t mean to come across as attacking you or anything but I am Somali and it bothers me that quite a lot of people think that most of us are mixed because it suggests that black Africans can only have one look and any variation from that regarding facial features, hair textures etc. HAS to be a result of mixing with other… Read more »

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago
Reply to  IB

agree! thanks for clearing that up from a somali point of view!

Ambular S
Ambular S
7 years ago

I just find it funny how “surprised” the author is at the fact that her hair was not received in her “home” land. Wake up America and go gain some knowledge. My room mate is African (from Cameroon to be specific) and I happen to believe she would be quite confused and offended at the fact that anyone would assume that natural hair is the norm. I guess beating bongos and chasing lions must be the norm too? We live in a new age where technology and trends are moving almost as fast in other countries as they are here… Read more »

natu
natu
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

Africans do not chase lions!! Get your facts right before running your mouth!!

Ambular S
Ambular S
7 years ago
Reply to  natu

Read my response correctly and you’ll understand what I was trying to say. I know Africans don’t chase lions, I was eluding to the ignorance of society’s thinking

merry
merry
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

why do you equate beating bongos and chasing lions (being backwards) with being natural. but technology and trends with the opposite?

and anyone who assumes you wear your hair natural because you are in cameroon or any other african nation is not thinking you’re backwards. it’s assuming you embrace yourself. imo, this happens to be a very modern concept. tell your cameroonian roommate.

it’s not an insult to think you wear your hair natural. it’s a compliment.

eve-audrey
eve-audrey
7 years ago
Reply to  merry

the funny thing is i’m from cameroon too. well i haven’t been there for ten years but last time i went there it was not an insult to have natural hair many aunts of mine had natural hair. in fact the norm was braiding and threading your hair (of course there were relaxed heads and weaves but you got my point) maybe it has changed since then.

Jack
Jack
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

The black Americans in the US do have roots in Africa. Where else would we assume we were from?? There may be European Native American ancestry in some is us black Americans, but we do indeed have roots from Africa.

AnonSince87
AnonSince87
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

I’m confused. Where are they from if not Africa??

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

we’re not expecting all Africans to have natural hair, but we were expecting them to get its beauty and be accepting of it. After all, it is the “mother land”. If you are proud that this is not the case, that says more about you than about us. You are offended by the wrong stereotype. The stereotype that is offensive is the fact that too many Africans, my mother included, think that the only “kempt” hair is straight hair. I should have learned the opposite from her, instead she is trying to force the Eurocentric standard onto me, all the… Read more »

T.
T.
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

There is no need to put the “home” in homeland in quotes. I gather from the article that the author is from Ghana and her mama still lives there, so it is literally her homeland and her roots are from Africa. So she actually *is* one of those “true African who actually immigrated from Africa to the United States”. Maybe you should have read more carefully before you started throwing around the word “ignorant”.

AC
AC
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

Having natural hair isn’t backwards so idk why she would be offended, and WE ARE FROM AFRICA, wth? lol

goyta
goyta
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

erm…where else would they be from? idk about you but last i checked most black people have a minimum of about 80 percent DNA linkage with people from the african continent. instead of being snarky you could aim for being a presence of enlightenment to those of us who are members of this apparently so-called “ignorant society”. i’ll warrant, right along with you, that our society is ignorant at large, but certainly not for the reasons implied in your statement.

Christabel
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

As I have said previously, I am African from Africa and have been in the states for only 7 years. So your theory does not apply at all

Ms. Gee
Ms. Gee
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

Why don’t you read? The author is Nigerian.

anastasia
anastasia
7 years ago
Reply to  Ambular S

What I find even more funny is the way black people claim they want to get back to their roots by automatically assuming they are from Africa… This is too funny if you ask me” …

Dear Sweet Baby Yashua.…uhm..ok.…WOW.

Yemi
Yemi
7 years ago

I read this and find the humor in it. Growing up in Nigeria and then moving to the states natural hair as the other ladies stated is accepted differently. The more money you have the more tour are responsible for maintaing your hair. If you have natural styles such as mini fro’s threaded and yarn styles they assume you are poor or come from the deep village. The more wealth the more weaves.. I think they are changing but it is very slow. As most of us Nigerians and Ghanians know about each other Nigerians are known to be a… Read more »

Metoyou
Metoyou
7 years ago
Reply to  Yemi

Agree with first part but don’t get the bit about “Nigerians being more conservative than Ghanians”. In my experience, the opposite is true…Nigerians are generally much more flamboyant than Ghanaians and this is from someone who has both sides in her family!!! Not sure about the connotations for the natural hair movement but both countries have some way to go.

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
7 years ago
Reply to  Metoyou

if my family is an indication, Nigerians are as conservative as they come!

Tina
Tina
7 years ago

Honestly, so what? Anywhere in the world naturals get mixed reactions

anastasia
anastasia
7 years ago
Reply to  Tina

Yes! =)

Kelechi Koko
Kelechi Koko
7 years ago

I am a Nigerian and still live in Nigeria. I find it quite upsetting when people make assumptions based on other people’s natural hair experience in Africa. I follow most blogs closely and I’ve also read of similar experiences by our African American sisters. Yes, we may not have as many natural hair women or women educated about their natural hair texture in Nigeria but that is slowly changing! I remember the jolt of shock I felt following my big chop. If it took me a while to accept my natural hair for what it is and represents to me,… Read more »

africandiva
africandiva
7 years ago
Reply to  Kelechi Koko

ppl should nt go to lagos or abuja nd say we do not have naturals!!! go to my state osun! you will see naturals well well! lol

KC
KC
7 years ago

I, admittedly, have not read through the entire response thread, so forgive me if someone else has already made this point. It’s important, in general but especially in this context, to avoid generalizations. People often discuss “Africa” as if it were one place, with one mind. Africa is an incredibly diverse place! There are over 50 countries in Africa, with an estimated 8,000 dialects spoken! There is no singular prevailing African attitude toward natural hair. I lived in Tanzania for over a year and my experiences with natural hair were exactly the opposite of the author’s. I was consistently told… Read more »

Saye
Saye
7 years ago

Being a Liberian-American, I believe it depends on which African country you go to.Yes there are Africans who are westernized.At the same time we do embrace our Traditional side also. Recently, I have seen a lot of African Americans wearing African prints, head wraps and Ankara. We both learn and copy from one another. I am going to travel to Liberia in December and rock my natural hair and I will see what reaction I get from the Liberians in Liberia. On the other hand; in America I have gotten positive feed back from Liberians I have interacted with, family,… Read more »

jojo satoes
jojo satoes
7 years ago

More women in W Africa have natural hair than relaxed. Those women are often the traders or market women however, most of whom are of the struggling class. The hipper, more educated class are often more western than the Americans if that’s possible. They follow the trends as seen on US tv via cable . Most of the naturals I’ve seen when I’ve visited home often live in the Diaspora. We have to also accept black women throughout the world face the same challenges. We were ALL conditioned to envy long, straight hair, noses, slim bodies and lighter hues. The… Read more »

jojo satoes
jojo satoes
7 years ago

More women in W Africa have natural hair than relaxed. Those women are often the traders or market women however, most of whom are of the struggling class. The hipper, more educated class are often more western than the Americans if that’s possible. They follow the trends as seen on US tv via cable . Most of the naturals I’ve seen when I’ve visited home often live in the Diaspora. We have to also accept black women throughout the world face the same challenges. We were ALL conditioned to envy long, straight hair, noses, slim bodies and lighter hues. The… Read more »

jojo satoes
jojo satoes
7 years ago
Reply to  jojo satoes

Meant to state: *most of the educated naturals I’ve seen have lived in the Diaspora*

me
me
7 years ago

these articles tagged with “culture” are REALLY hard to find. I’m finding a bunch of articles from the past couple of months that I’ve never seen before…

Maria Tembo
Maria Tembo
7 years ago

Well, to each their own. But where i come from in Africa, southern Africa to be precise, we rock both. Look @ Lira the musician, Kaone Kario the Botswana model. We cut when we feel like. But yes, there are women stuck on weaves and perms. But there are well educated, classy women who are natural. I being one of them. From afro to locks which are very popular. So to some extent i disagree. Africa is a very big continent

gamergirl
7 years ago

I thought this was a really interesting article and I appreciate you talking about different cultures that aren’t as different as I thought. 🙂

kanzi
kanzi
7 years ago

I wonder why when someone goes to an African country he thinks all African countries have the same habits.when you go to China you do not tell the whole asia is like China.do not forget Africa is not a country.For instance Nigeria is very different than Congo.

ck
ck
7 years ago
Reply to  kanzi

But she never mentioned Congo she said Ghana and Nigeria so why get offended. By the way am from Ghana and am not offended because all she said was true.And Congo is known throughout Africa for their weaves, wigs and excessive bleaching.

aalycha
7 years ago
Reply to  ck

Like we seen so many naturals in those Ghanaian movies don’t we? Why are you getting so defensive the point she was trying to make is people like to act as if Africa is one country where all cultures are the same calm down going in on Congo like that? Why do you assume she’s from Congo?

Candice
Candice
7 years ago
Reply to  kanzi

She specifically limited her comments to West Africa and two countries specifically.

MH
MH
7 years ago

I must say that KC has made an excellent point, ‘Africa’ is an incredibly diverse continent and just as there a varying opinions on natural hair in the US, same with in Africa. That being said, no one can deny that wearing afrotextured hair in its natural state is a growing trend in the US and in the Caribbean. I’m Cameroonian ‑american and have had similar experiences as the author. I have no doubt the natural hair trend will eventually catch on there given the digital age we live in. i do think that worldwide (as many have stated in… Read more »

Natasha
Natasha
7 years ago

But this is typical Western ignorance, isn’t it? What makes you think that Africans have not been subjected to the same Western poison as we have here in the West? Did you think all the women were going to be natural? And that they’d have zebras for pets? Racists went to Africa and colonised many Africans bringing with them their Western beauty ideals. Many Africans still embrace their identity and culture but many do not. Not to mention, skin bleaching is rife in Western Africa, too!

T.
T.
7 years ago
Reply to  Natasha

The author is African. She is from Ghana.

Anon Mous
Anon Mous
7 years ago
Reply to  T.

The author’s name is ChiChi. She’s Nigerian.

Christabel
7 years ago
Reply to  Anon Mous

I’m both Nigerian and Ghanaian 🙂

Nooni
Nooni
7 years ago
Reply to  Christabel

If you are both Nigerian and Ghanian why were you surprised about their reactions? Don’t you know anything about your people. I’m half ghanian and west africans strong distate for natural hair is well known. So your surprise is shocking

fluffy-in-flight
fluffy-in-flight
7 years ago
Reply to  T.

Why do people get so easily bent out of shape? She is giving her personal experience of when she went to Africa. She is telling Her experience of when she went home to Africa, in paragraph 1, she also talks about her fellow Africans in paragraph 3 and also talks about leaving her mother with enough tools to continue her hair journey and concludes by saying that amidst the negativity there is some positivity. She is telling things from her personal viewpoint.

africandiva
africandiva
7 years ago

ummm im nigerian nd wud like to ask where u went to in nigeria. because if you went to an area more ‘affluent nd educated’ natural hair is becoming more popular and i know salons r starting to understand kinky- curly hair.

goyta
goyta
7 years ago

nice article. eye-opening.

GoodLooknOut
7 years ago

One would think in the homeland they would have all the answers to all things natural hair #strange
Your braids are cute though!

Abena
Abena
7 years ago

I’m a mixed heritage Ghanaian woman from London (born in Ghana) and I think many people of African descent from the Diaspora, forget that the effects of colonialism are just as severe in almost all African countries when we hold this idea of Africa as our paradise homeland. Women in Ghana face the same battle within themselves over what is beautiful by western standards which they aspire to, and what they are naturally blessed with. The only exception to this I can think of is the shape of a woman’s body being celebrated for having the curvier qualities African women… Read more »

Abena
Abena
7 years ago

Excuse my poor grammar in my last post.

And I personally know young, educated and wealthy women who bleach their skin. Even the wealthy and educated succumb to the pressure to be mainstream beauties.

Abena
Abena
7 years ago

Third post but I thought it would be equally important to highlight that I know A LOT of Ghanaian and Nigerian and African women in General who wouldn’t go out of their way to look more westernised.

abielle
7 years ago

This is an interesting article that doesn’t surprise me at all. Aside from the Nigerians I have met, I think it’s clear just from Nollywood films (I’ve watched a few of them) that there is a fondness for trendy hair styles which includes dyes, weaves etc. My Nigerian hair braider is horrible at hair care although she is great at styling. I mean I had to comb my hair too–mostly because (she used a fine tooth comb) and cause she couldn’t handle my hair. Even my Nigerian friend (who recently went natural) told me she didn’t believe Nigerians could grow… Read more »

abielle
7 years ago

Hmm okay, now that I’ve gone and read Christabel’s post I see she actually does confirm some of my theory that people relax/perm but don’t conciously think about the race aspect. I think I should clarify, I’m coming from a “caribbean” perspective. Having seen what family and others do back home kind of made me have a similar ephiphany since both are largely black countries.

abena
abena
7 years ago

i am sorry sister but you cant base your “west african” experience on an area. As we all know Ghana and especially Nigeria are big countries so maybe the areas you been to are like that. But i lived in Ghana for so long and people have been natural for forever… it depends on where you went sweety

Lioness
Lioness
7 years ago

I really agree with the ladies where are of the opinion that people shouldn’t go to a particular country and re-label the entire continent. Maybe the author of this article should have rather mention it as her experience in ‘West Africa’ and not Africa. I’m South African and natural hair (short hair, dreadlocks bald etc.) has been a trend we’ve rocked for ages, I work in coroprate environment and I rock my natural and it’s nothing out of the ordinary. We embrace all hair trends in South Africa. A women who can express yourself in her mother- tongue (include reading… Read more »

Leillah
7 years ago

Those braids are really cute though. How did you find the braiding experience? I would have loved to see some positivity on that at least, because those braids are really lovely.

miz_biz
miz_biz
7 years ago

hey, great article! as an eastafrican who’ve grown up in north europe, partially in a white neighbourhood, partly amongst eastafricans, i’ve always been the outcast. i’ve had a relaxer twice in my life, i wish i could say it was because i’ve always been so concious about my hair — it wasnt. because i grew up with a white family, a very sporty and active family, i was told repeatedly to spend a lot of time and money on my hair was just stupid and wasteful. so most of my life i’ve had a twa. and trust me, the eastafricans… Read more »

Afrodiva Nalyy
7 years ago

Thank you so much for your post. I live in Ghana and I can attest to what you are talking. I returned to my natural hair 2 years ago and was inspired by most you guys in the west to start my own blog and youtube channel where i use local resources for my hair.You will find my blog http://www.ghanaianemprezz.com and youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/afrodivadairies?feature=mhee

Black Superwoman
Black Superwoman
7 years ago

Hey,I’m South African and I’ve found that we are more accepting of naturals although a majority of us opt to relax and weave our hair because he have no clue how to take care of our hair, Most hairstylist have no clue how to take care of hair,I mean conditioning hair is a foreign concept to black South African woman(it’s seen as something white woman do) and there are very few, almost non-existent products for our hair.I will admit that we have also been subjected to the same distorted ideas of beauty that have led most black woman to believe… Read more »

glenny
glenny
7 years ago

A lot of the comments on here raise valid points but as a Nigerian who was relaxed and now natural, I think I could add some points too. It is only normal that people would question your natural hair because some of them have become used to the “norm” of using chemicals in their hair to make it more manageable. Note that not even quarter of nigerian females put chemicals in their hair. In northern Nigeria for example, a lot of the women wear their natural hair in braids and wear scarves to protect it from the elements (I.e. The… Read more »

Mercy
Mercy
7 years ago
Reply to  glenny

Exactly! Well said. “African American ladies didn’t all go natural in one night”

Thick Nigerian Hair
Thick Nigerian Hair
7 years ago
Reply to  glenny

Thank you glenny! “…it really got to me how uneducated my fellow Africans were when it comes to natural hair. As in ZERO clue that natural hair can have a curl pattern that does not need to be combed out to ensure it’s manageability.” That comment…It really irks me when someone goes to 1 or 2 countries in Africa and compares the entire continent to those 2 countries. It should be noted that looser curl textures do exist in other countries. So, stating that an entire continent is only used to dry and damaged hair is narrow-minded. Fatima from ANTM… Read more »

aisha
aisha
7 years ago

Being in one or two states in Nigeria doesn’t mean u have studied all the Nigerian women. In the northern part of country being natural rocks n we have little tolerance for artificial beauty n also in some other parts of the country. We are comfortable with our skin n hair and we have our ways of taking care of that but the African Americans are always trying to tell us who we are,what to do or how to do it. Well we know better, they r mixed up trying to find out who they really are. african women r… Read more »

Deena
Deena
7 years ago
Reply to  aisha

lol and you here go trying to pin Africans against African Americans. First of all where are you getting the idea that Blacks in America or telling you what to do with your hair? Secondly if blacks are concerned with anything having to do with Africa then it’s because we are worried about the wars and famine. And thirdly,THE MAJORITY of African women don’t have a single clue on how to take care of their hair. MOST African style hair DRY without any moisturizing and they rake combs through their hair. Just because black women in America understand how to take… Read more »

Junie
Junie
4 years ago
Reply to  Deena

That was a FALSE and Ignorant statement you made about THE MAJORITY of African women don’t have a single clue on how to take care of their hair. That can be said about Blacks in the U.S. as many haven’t learn how to grow their Natural hair or still wear Relaxers.

Lula
Lula
7 years ago

The natural hair topic is real. Today at campus, I was sitting with 6 fellow classmates who are naturals (60% of the ladies in my class have natural hair) and they have really beautiful hair. As much as they love their natural hair, they did not believe it could actually grow past the shoulders. I showed them the pictures of the style icons with long hair from this website and they were in disbelief. Then I realised even though their hair was growing, they did not know how to retain their length and what they should do to keep it… Read more »

Cat
Cat
7 years ago

I know many would expect natural hair to be the norm back home (I’m Nigerian) but, unfortunately, it’s not. The good news though, is that more people are realizing that relaxers and weaves can be damaging and choosing to go back to their natural state. The writer is surprised that people she met didn’t know about how to care for natural hair — that surprises me. I’m sure, she, like many of us who are natural now, hasn’t always known how to take care of natural hair. Most of us learned recently. We’re still learning. It’s a journey everywhere.

Stace
Stace
7 years ago
Reply to  Cat

I think the shock comes because african-americans often view Africa as the ideal of our naturalness. So , to go back to the place of ones origin and not find it in its original state is surprising. I think people don’t fully realize although they know, how colonialism has affected other africans in the diaspora. People here always reference back to slavery being the cause of this and that, but slavery is not the only way to rob a people of their culture and self awareness.

jene.soleil
jene.soleil
7 years ago
Reply to  Stace

^^^^^^^Story of my life!!!!

I am of Ghanaian and African American descent currently living in Ghana, I thought that living here with my hair natural would be great and that the response would be perfect but I found myself personally frustrated with the response of people, even my family. I expected reactions to be positive but it was just the opposite.

It takes alot of courage!

Jennifer
Jennifer
7 years ago
Reply to  Cat

Cat and Stacey you made great points. Going back to natural hair is a process that goes beyond the superficial. It is really gaining speed in the U.S., but that doesn’t mean that it happened over night. Some Nigerians do have negative ideas about natural hair. I’m Nigerian, and my grandmother and mother did not have the nicest things to say about my natural hair. However, it doesn’t come from a place of self-hate. To the contrary, Nigerians are extremely proud of their culture and country. The dominance of western and Anglo culture and fashion distorts their ideas of beauty,… Read more »

Hansy
Hansy
7 years ago

I stop relaxing about 4 months ago and ever since I’ve been in LOVE with my natural hair. I never thought about not relaxing. Relaxing it was something that came naturally to me every 2 1/2 to 3 months. I was just not aware that I could have natural hair and style it too. I think that is the biggest problem, ignorance. People just don’t know and it will take a while for people to get educated. My family thankfully was very open to the idea, my mom is a natural although her hair is only curly and very soft,… Read more »

CCN
CCN
7 years ago

IMO, the ignorance and intolerance of natural texture hair, or hair textures indigenous to the region, seems to be more apparent in more westernized societies. It seems that the African people that are more tribally, traditionally, rooted in identity and lifestyle have less of an ignorance, intolerance, for natural hair.

Seems like when relaxers, hot combs and other styling utensils/techniques came of age, many Africans saw the old traditional view/techniques as un-modern and started leaving them behind.

Miya
7 years ago

WOW I never thought I’d read about continental Africans responding to natural hair that way…“oh it must be an american thing”…really? I remember reading on another blog that some of them believe natural hair symbolizes poverty. It truly saddens me sometimes, how brainwashed SOME of our people are. And not just brainwashed, but closed minded. Even when I was relaxed and knew nothing about natural hair I still was very open minded about it and didn’t look down on someone who was natural. Being ignorant of something is one thing, but not even giving it a chance is another and… Read more »

Miss T
Miss T
7 years ago
Reply to  Miya

Natural hair symbolizing poverty huh? Thats actually kinda funny, shooot, as much money as I spend on my natural hair and happy to do it!

amy
amy
7 years ago

I’m Nigerian and colonial mentality aka slave mentality is very much alive in Nigeria. As a child, I NEVER saw any Nigerian woman with her natural hair except for those with closely cropped hair. Little girls wear their natural hair but once they get older, they are expected to get a perm. Natural hair is very much frowned upon by Nigerian MEN and of course women will distort themselves to fit whatever they think beauty is. I am not surprised by the reaction you received in Nigeria.

IB
IB
7 years ago

Interesting article! I have to say, I’m not sure why some of the comments are discussing the author as if she is African-American when she clearly states that she “went home” and is therefore from West Africa. Also, I have read other articles from African-Americans about their surprise at the reactions to natural hair when they went to various parts of Africa and in those articles it did seem like the author was generalizing Africa. In my opinion this article is very different from those others because the author is from West Africa AND she is talking about specific countries.… Read more »

Blu
Blu
7 years ago

I stopped relaxing in June/July 2012. I did my own bc in 12/12. While my twa was cute, I took color out by bleaching, to each his own, I know what I am doing. I needed a little more motivation, and color motivates me. I use sulfate free shampoo, because unlike some my scalp needs it. I condition after and also deep condition, weekly under a dryer. I moisturize with grapeseed oil, body and hair. I have a protective style in now called fluffy twists, and their done with hair from Nafy collections. I love my hair. It’s big, poofy,… Read more »

Mercy
Mercy
7 years ago

We have over 50 something countries in Africa! It makes me soooooo mad when people generalise and say when I went to africa…naturalista please, say u went to Nigeria and Ghana and that is the view over there! Just like the girls in The U.S slowly learnt about proper hair care, so will we. Proudly zambian!

S. Amy L.
S. Amy L.
7 years ago

I am Zambian. I agree with the other Amy (Nigerian) about girls being expected to relax their hair when older. It is the same here. In southern Africa I think most naturals have locs. When I told people in Zambia I was going natural a lot expected me to get locs. When told intention many asked ‘Why?’ Generally, the reaction isn’t negative just perplexed and then there is the notion it is difficult to care for. Still, I am loving transitioning and spreading the word about how beautiful and not too difficult to handle African natural hair can be 🙂

Ola Mae
Ola Mae
7 years ago

I’ve experienced the same thing when I traveled to Nigeria around the holidays. Some of my relatives thought that my natural hair was fake. I saw young girls about 5 or 6 years old in sew in weaves. I mean however you choose to wear your hair is your preferance but it disturbed me how much natural hair is not accepted there. There were stores that sold nothing but hair weave. But again how you choose to wear your hair is your preference. I was just shocked at how much natural hair is not accepted. Some of my family thought… Read more »

Tonna
Tonna
7 years ago
Reply to  Ola Mae

Amen!

Kukie
Kukie
7 years ago

I am 16 and lived in Ghana for 10 years and this article was completely truthful. My hair was permed from the age I was old enough to get a perm to till 14 when my mother decided my hair was too damaged to keep up with perms. I started transitioning during the summer when I went to Ghana to visit my grandparents and most of my family in Ghana were very un-supportive. The doubted that the curls I had coming out of my hair was actually real. To be honest, I even doubted it because I had never seen… Read more »

Lena03
Lena03
7 years ago

I’m from Senegal and I notice that the only people who gave me strange looks were young people. My parents didn’t say anything because they wore big afros back in the day and they had Angela Davis as a role model. Young people will tell you that afros are out of style and that it’s not pretty. These are people who had their first relaxer at a very young age. I had my first relaxer at a very young age too. I thought having relaxed hair was the norm. My best friend was the first girl I saw with natural… Read more »

Asi chii
Asi chii
7 years ago

Yet another article that lumps all 54 COUNTRIES into one country called Africa! Eish, come on people Africa is a continent!!! Go to the southern part, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe you will be very surprised how well sisters rock the TWAs, Afros & locs & make no apologies for it. Google Lira, Shingai Shonhiwa, Lebo Masile, Claire Mawisa or Chiwoniso Maraire notable celebrities who embrace their hair. Africans are not as ignorant as you try to make them.…. Give us some credit geez Louise

Lovey
Lovey
7 years ago

I found the authors piece really undermining and quiet frankly blantantly ignorant.It also showed me how much she has travelled and came with her own preconceived ideas. As for “teaching” African women about their hair dont let me get started. I am a South African woman and found while I was in the US how a lot African American women wouldnt be caught dead with their natural hair and how the majority didn’t see beauty in being natural. That didn’t make me say how clueless they are its not an African or Africa American but rather a personal choice by… Read more »

Kelly
Kelly
7 years ago

I actually think the LOOSE (not braided or twisted) natural hair movement was popularized in Black America, if you look at history. It started with the Black Power Movement of the 60’s and 70’s — the Afro or the Natural. Then Black women generally (not all) depended on relaxers, Jherri curls, weaves and extensions until the Afrocentric and Neo-soul movement emerged in the late 80’s and the 90’s. Enter De La Soul, Arrested Development, Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, etc. Then in 2007 or 2008, the YouTube, Curly Nikki, BGLH, etc. natural/curly girls movement started and many new techniques, products, and… Read more »

Ashley
Ashley
7 years ago

I really enjoyed reading this article. I’m African American and Ashanti and even though I don’t know my biological father’s side (Ashanti) I once romanticized everything about Africa. As I’ve become more knowledgeable about African history, West Africa in particular and how colonization has changed Africa, I understand the lack of understanding and appreciation for rocking natural hair as the norm in some cities. I just set an example for myself as an self identified African woman and follow through when it comes to my hair.

soulshadow55
soulshadow55
7 years ago

I’ve been reading all of the comments, and as an older woman (58 years old) who has been natural for the past 30 years I find all of your comments intelligent and interesting. I’m loving the fact we’re learning to agree to disagree. Having said that, I think that if an experienced natural hair care professional were to go to Nigeria, Ghana or some other country in West Africa and commit to living there for 4 to 5 years they could start a real natural hair care revolution. I think it only takes a committed person to devote a few… Read more »

Linda
Linda
7 years ago

Really,I don’t understand how from 2 countries that the author didn’t even visited from north to south and west to east can so easily conclude that all Africans have zero clues about how to take care of their hair. This is simply not true. Lot of Africans have natural hair and know that combing is easy when the hair is wet. Most women simply find it more manageable to have relaxed hair to save on time and the practice of roller setting relaxed hair is common contrary to the one of flat ironing. Also it’s common to see women rocking… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah
7 years ago
Reply to  Linda

If you’ve read this post I wrote a while ago, you know that natural hair is not the norm in Africa and as much as that sounds non intuitive…”

I also can’t understand how she came to this conclusion. I’m from Luanda/Angola and most females there wear their hair natural. Some straighten it, some have locs and others have a Fro or Curls. In Angola it is not something out of the ordinary.

Annabel
7 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

I am aware that some part of Africa, women tend to embraces their natural hair however, most Western Africain countries are exposed and influence by Western European and americain culture.

Tissa
Tissa
7 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

I have to disagree with you on that.I am also from Angola and the norm there is weave.
At the moment I am living in Amsterdam and also here the norm amongst African women is weave.
And even though the number of women rocking natural hairstyles is growing,you don’t see that many Afros,twists or any sort of natural hairstyles around.

Christine
Christine
7 years ago
Reply to  Tissa

Yes, you are absolutely correct. And in no way am I disagreeing with you. Even though I have never visited Angola, it is the same in Nigeria. I was referring to the females that do wear wear their hair out. Your correct. Infact, when I came back to America after visting Nigeria again I got my hair braided.

Linda
Linda
7 years ago

Also let’s not forget that because of the way African American hair is projected in the entertainment business as being straight, most Africans will assume that African American women wear their hair that way and will be surprised to see that they actually have natural curly hair just like them. And that is the very same way,most African American will assume that African women wear their hair natural and not relaxed or weaved and will be surprised to find out that in some part of the continent it is now considered the standard (because among other reasons, women with naturally… Read more »

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[…] African Hair Blog gives us the low down on sulphate free shampoos and mineral oil free moisturizers available at Clicks, Dischem and Pick n Pay. I have began using the earthsap conditioner and I LOVE IT! Review coming soon!Christabel of ChysCurlz gives us an account of how people in her home country of Nigeria reacted to her nappy crown on Black Girl Long Hair. […]

Rachael
Rachael
7 years ago

@Linda I did not see where she said everyone in those countries knew nothing about natural hair care. She simply documented her experience. From MY experience, the majority of Africans I HAVE PERSONALLY met from Liberia and Nigeria knew very little about natural hair care. When I took my natural hair journey in 2010 I went to the African salons first and the experience was less than okay. They tried to use small tooth combs on my 4a/4b hair. They braided the hair way to tight and from MY OBSERVATION, these women often wore perms, wigs and weaves in their… Read more »

Allie
Allie
7 years ago

Lol, I was born in West Africa raised in Europe and I tell you when I went back for a visit with my natural big afro I got the same reaction. I’ll tell you the reason my African friends gave me as to why natural hair isn’t exactly the raving thing it is in America/Europe. The girls aren’t allowed in some of the schools to perm their hairs (The focus is placed on learning and not appearance thus the uniforms as well; also to equalize all, but I’m off topic). They usually get to do that once out of school… Read more »

Regina
Regina
7 years ago

Sadly, the author only visited countries where natural hair still wasn’t being embraced. Where am from (Malawi) most women 35 and below are embracing natural hair. And maybe its just a fashion trend or people accepting who they are, but most of my friends and even myself decided that upkeep for natural hair was cheaper than relaxed hair. And everyone knows for sure that even though that’s true to make it look good you have to take care of it and invest in it but still its pretty cheaper, even with getting protective styles. But I believe the reason why… Read more »

Moukoko marcelline
Moukoko marcelline
7 years ago

let me tell you something ladies! I live in central africa (Cameroon) andin here ladies and even young girls do not accept that! They actually don’t know how to manage and don’t even want to learn! They take us to be rascals and what so ever! I have my own hair stylist and does as I wish! For the rest I pray that one day my fellow sisters will understand why we make our best to be natural in order to protect ourselves

Nix
Nix
7 years ago

As some African commenters have pointed out, this natural hair ignorance is not the norm where they’re from, and I can bet you that even that depends on what part of the country they’re talking about. I’m Nigerian. Is natural hair accepted? Not really. But my Tanzanian friends have better luck in Tanzania. People really need to stop viewing Africa as one homogenous blob of “ancestral” blackness and start seeing it as numerous countries with numerous cultures within each country, with numerous socioeconomic levels, and with numerous urban and rural areas–all of them pretty different. It is not and has… Read more »

Vicky
Vicky
7 years ago

I Think She Is Totally Right, I Don’t Know About Other African Countries But In Ghana And Nigeria, Women Don’t Know How To Take Care Of Their Natural Hair. They Are Practically Taught How To Relax Their Hair At A Very Young Age, Thereby Ignorant Of How A Natural Hair Looks. My Hair Is Permed, And Even Though I’m In Nigeria, I’m Planning On Going Natural. I Don’t Want To Do The Big Chop, And My Natural Hair Is Only Two Months Old. I Know It Will Be Difficult Finding The Right Product Since Its Not Widely Known In This… Read more »

Deena
Deena
7 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

Sis you can use many natural oils for you hair. This is what I use everyday, Castor oil, olive oil, coconut oil,jojoba oil, Shea butter. And last but least WATER WATER WATER lol Now you can choose any of these oils to moisturize and condition your hair. I personally like coconut oil and olive oil And I basically just get a tiny clear spray bottle (unused) and pour in a few drops of my favorite oils, I also use a separate bottle for just pain water. Spray your hair just little bit bit with water and then add your oils to your hair, now… Read more »

mzleighn
mzleighn
6 years ago
Reply to  Vicky

Now that is plain wrong. instead of saying women in Nigeria and Ghana don’t know how to take care of natural hair and don’t even know how it looks… that is wrong. some don’t and that is true but i know a lot that do. and don’t forget our public school system INSISTS that students keep their hair in a TWA. so we actually know what natural hair looks like.

Deena
Deena
7 years ago

If you went to east Africa you’ll notice that these women wear their natural hair and I’m talking places such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti. It’s common for them over there but they wear scarves n their head also. Not all Africans have this problem of not knowing how to take care of their hair, I’d like to assume that MOST African women have a “ritual” of moisturizing and conditioning their hair but it is not like this everywhere. Our hair is very delicate so we must moisture and condition it on a regular basis. Otherwise you will never see the full… Read more »

Deena
Deena
7 years ago

(For us Bock women to have*

Vicky
Vicky
7 years ago

Thank You Deena, I’ll Definitely Try This 🙂

mayyz
mayyz
7 years ago

Im nigerian and i can honestly say that moat nigerias do not have the time to be worried about thier hair since there are more important things to deal with. I am natural and have been for a long time. Every one in my family is. There are 170 million people in nigeria, it is wrong to judge a whole country based on one visit. A visit which will not have put you in contact with all the tribes. Awusa people in nigeria look somalian or ethopian and most of them have natural hair. Most of the people in places… Read more »

Nix
Nix
7 years ago
Reply to  mayyz

I agree with you that one visit does not an informed opinion make; however, I’m Nigerian and most Nigerian women I know do obsess about their hair…or their Brazilian/Indian/Malaysian weaves. And many of us do refer to our hair as natural. (I’ve also been natural a long time, as is my sister.) As you implied, Nigeria is a diverse and complex country; the decision to go natural or permed is therefore not related to only one’s ethnic group–in most cases, it transcends it. Other factors include education level, living in rural or urban areas and what part of the country… Read more »

mayyz
mayyz
7 years ago

Oh i’m refering more to awusa. Most of us do not relax

linda
linda
7 years ago

This indeed was and is still a hot topic. I understand that the author only documented her experience but she did imply that she thinks that African women don’t know how to take care of their hair and that was being judgemental on a vast continent that has different cultures and mentality from North to South and East to West; even within the same country we find big differences. I read lot of comments about Nigeria and Ghana and take those countries as references. Those two countries shouldn’t even be picked as such just like any other single country. Those… Read more »

Nana Konadu
Nana Konadu
7 years ago

I am really aware of what you experienced. I am from Ghana but now in the US and i cut my relaxed hair to grow natural before coming to the US. My parents were against it but my sister encouraged me. It is very difficult to keep natural hair so a lot of Ghanaians relax it. Women in Ghana need a little education on that. I am prepared to cause a change first in my family then the rest of my friends. Ghanaians would try anything that is nice. Just a little education for my people but I LOVE MY… Read more »

SkyLyne
SkyLyne
7 years ago

As an African living in SA I’m not too sure this article is a true representation of the relationship between African women and natural hair. Loads of women wear their hair natural. In fact here we dont have this huge ‘conflict’ between natural hair
and relaxed hair. You wear your hair which way pleases you and it’s okay. I am a uni student so u see a mix of nationalities, honestly about 50 % of women are natural. Gorgeous, thick, luscious fros are found in Africa but more so are not viewed as a strange phenomenon.

Christine
Christine
7 years ago

I was born in America but my parents are Nigerian and I have been there a few times. It just depends some women wear their hair natural some don’t. The ones that normally wear their hair relaxed, some of them dont have the money, are lazy, or are uneducated in the maintenance of hair. But notice I said SOME. Some of us know how to take care of our hair (like me).My hair is under my should It is not fair to judge a whole continent over one experience.And besides there are Black Americans here in the U.S. that I… Read more »

lisa
lisa
5 years ago
Reply to  Christine

Whats the deal with the separation as if African Americans aren’t African? What is a black person?

True Zero Treatment
7 years ago

There’s a huge market for products or services designed to straighten hair. But while they can make our hair look fantastic, they may not be fantastic for our health.

Christine
Christine
7 years ago

Im very much aware. Thank you.

Grace
Grace
7 years ago
Reply to  Christine

I really do agree with this author. i currently live in Nigeria, more than 80 percent of the Nigerian ladies don’t wear their natural hair. every day, i hear negative comments from both male and females on my hair. i try to tell them that they really don’t need to relax their hair, but should get just a little education on how to take of their natural hair. but i am suprised that majority don’t want. they would rather have the sleek , straightened hair done with relaxers. this worst situation of stigmatization. today, i was called by two of my… Read more »

Benny
Benny
7 years ago

Oh well!

Ellie
Ellie
6 years ago

“but the truth of the matter is that it really got to me how uneducated my fellow Africans were when it comes to natural hair. As in ZERO clue that natural hair can have a curl pattern that does not need to be combed out to ensure it’s manageability.” that’s downright bullshit. Sorry not sorry, Africans in Africa do know how to treat their hair & besides that, your statement is patronising. I’m from the DRC & I know so much about natural hair care. I live in South Africa now & people know so much about natural hair care. My buddies in Angola… Read more »

blu
blu
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellie

Bullshit. No, sorry that your sorry. Soap or shower gel, not even in the same LEAGUE as the choice of how to treat the living organ on your head, which is hair. How we were raised, todays’ perceptions, acceptance within ourself and community, this is the journey. Hair is not just hair. When you embark on this journey, these are the objectives to concur.

lisa
lisa
5 years ago
Reply to  blu

That is the same thing because depending on what you use it can dry your skin out. And hair is dead once it comes out your scalp so its not an organ but skin is an organ which is y its important to determine what hydrates it .

t
t
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellie

I totally disagree with you maybe it’s the people you know. In Nigeria Natural Hair is extremly unpopular. And it’s HER experiences and HER opinions…I live in South Africa and yes the natural hair scene is increasing but people still roll their eyes at me when i tell them i’m growing my hair to waist lenght and it is impossible unless u have dreads or are ‘mixed’

Hyday
Hyday
6 years ago
Reply to  t

well that might be the case in WEST africa but here in EAST africa (and by that I mean Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya,Tanzania, Ethopia , Somalia etc) is natural hair pretty common , I won’t say that they know how to properly take care of it since I also got approached with a fine tooth comb in a salon BUT natural hair is accepted here and no one will judge you for the kinks or curls on your head.

xoxo — the netherlands

Ayo
Ayo
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellie

I am Nigerian and I didn’t know a thing about natural hair until I moved to France. For two years I didn’t know how to handle it so I braided alot until I started doing YouTube videos ! Alot of Nigerians are clueless about natural hair and moisture… and to think we have shear butter, coconut oil amongst other products that are cheap and good for natural hair.

Christine
Christine
6 years ago
Reply to  Ayo

Umm. No I think YOU were just clueless. Many of them do know about natural hair care products. They have to put something in their hair to keep it moisturized, especially with braiding. And then there are some Nigerians that are poor. They don’t have all the money to be relaxing and plaiting their hair so they are forced to have natural hair.

Are you sure you are Nigerian? Or are you just saying that in hopes of getting a point across?

Nike
Nike
6 years ago
Reply to  Ellie

I’m a Nigerian and what she says is absolutely true if not worse in some circles.keeping natural hair here is totally on popular and also d materials required to manage ur natural hair are so had to come by cos d hair salons and beauty stores wouldn’t stock up on what d general public don’t use.For example I’ve been looking for a sulphate free shampoo for ages and can’t get one. So my naija sis u speak d truth.

SA
SA
6 years ago

Nigeria and Ghana doesn’t not equal to Africa. So you can’t say Africans are not educated about natural hair.

SA
SA
6 years ago
Reply to  SA

do not *

April
April
6 years ago

This was my experience as well! I was in Ghana for six months in 2010 and my homestay family as well as the teachers I had at school regularly asked me when I planned to do something with my hair. To make matters worse, one of the other black girls in the program got her hair braided at regular intervals during the trip, so they were always encouraging me to be just like her. I eventually gave in to the pressure and cried, a lot, while I got Senegalese twists put in. I was crying because I had put so… Read more »

Felicia
Felicia
6 years ago

So I lived in Togo for 2+ years and while the women in the town where I lived weren’t two strand twisting hair or wearing wash n gos, I’m not sure that equals being completely ignorant of how to care for their hair. I’ve traveled to at least 10 African countries and hair styles and textures vary greatly from place to place. In rural towns it’s not uncommon to see mostly TWA’s because of their ease of maintenance. In big cities there is absolutely a wide range of styles; braids, weaves, relaxers, short cuts, TWA’s and the occasional sizable fro.… Read more »

Marissa Moncriffe
6 years ago

I think what she meant was; when she visited the “motherlands “she expected everyone to automatically have natural hair, braids etc. And to go there and see that they barely knew how to manage it or get a welcoming response was shocking. Instead, the natives she met had the same feelings about kinky hair as the Americans.

Natural Kinky Curly Marie
Natural Kinky Curly Marie
4 years ago

Her experience doesn’t represent the entire continent. While that was her experience in the area she’s from and/or traveled, others have Visited the motherland and got the reaction & experience this blogger was looking for when she visited.

Ola Mae
Ola Mae
6 years ago

I had the same experience when I traveled to visit family almost two years ago. My hair was near APL and some thought I either did not do my hair at all or it was a weave. I can only imagine on my next visit what the reaction will be since I am locing my hair. I blame colonization for this.

kiki
kiki
6 years ago

hmmmm.…..im African from Ghana.….what the writer said is true.….im 8 months natural and it has not been easy.….i’ve been called all sorts of names bcos i wanna keep my natural hair.….…..m
ost people here know zero about natural hair..every girl gets a perm after high school, you r seen as an outcast when u wear natural hair.……its really a shame.….i get sad @ de ignorance of my fellow sisters

hilary
hilary
6 years ago

I am in zambia and the view on the difference between natural and relaxed hair is probably the same as wearing your hair loose or in braids. When dd my big chop people were more of surprised that I had cut off all that length and not that I had gone natural. I have never heard of anyone calling someone names because of natural hair. My experience

hilary
hilary
6 years ago

But eyes will definitely roll if you mention waistlength when you’re not mixed/biracial.

Salima
Salima
6 years ago

This post actually made me mad. Im from west africa too and as many many comments here says, we know how to treat our natural hair. African women also understand the versatility of their hair so please stop saying we ignorant.

Pyemwa
Pyemwa
6 years ago

So my natural outrage is coming to the surface…basically because I’m a Nigerian who lives in Nigeria.Let’s start with the dingy hotel room caption: that looks like a terribly cheap hotel to me ( blue walls?). I know there are quality hotels ( and not necessarily pricey) in every city you stay so I wish you found it. Or even posted your pending visit online. Someone would have been glad to offer free advisory services or even host you seeing how warm and hospitable we can be. Secondly, the comment on our being ‘uneducated’ on natural hair. Uninformed? Yes. Uneducated? Patronizing/derogatory.… Read more »

ngusen
ngusen
6 years ago
Reply to  Pyemwa

Its the dingy hotel room bit that got my hackles all raised up and my mind totally unable to process the rest of the crap that followed! What was all that about? There are soooo many hotels in nigeria and of different categories, who forced you to go stay in a dingy and obviously very very cheap hotel? Nobody! If you couldn’t afford a better hotel, the blame is all on you!
As for the rest of your story, I wouldn’t even bother to comment, its your opinion and you are totally entitled to it.

natural hair lover
natural hair lover
6 years ago
Reply to  Pyemwa

You said you don’t desire to look white when you perm your hair but look “polished” this is exactly why women disagree with perming why is it natural looking hair isnt considered “polished” looking. That’s rubbish.

rainbow
rainbow
5 years ago
Reply to  Pyemwa

you are in denial.

Janice
Janice
6 years ago

I am from Sierra Leone but raised in London. I have noticed that in Sierra Leone, we may not be aware of the great products in our natural land, like coconut oil and other things but we are aware of how to take care of our hair. Wash and go’s are not the suitable thing but afros have always been a style staple if worn with a head band. BRAIDS are the go to style for most people because of the low maintenance of it, whilst moisturising when the braids are in. So I must disagree with you on that,… Read more »

Chiamaka N
Chiamaka N
6 years ago

As a Nigerian-American teen, I do know what you mean as for many Nigerians not understanding how to keep up with natural hair. My aunt, who is a hair stylist,constantly deals with customers who want their relaxer crack to remain on their hair for 4 hours at a time to get that “bone straight” look. However, there still are quite a number of naturals in Nigeria. Yes, they might not know how to do all the latest styles but they try to keep up with their hair. My Nigerian friends and I have transitioned back to our natural hair &… Read more »

GenuineAfrican
GenuineAfrican
6 years ago

“If you’ve read this post I wrote a while ago, you know that natural hair is not the norm in Africa” Uhm… If anyone is ignorant it’s you. Next time do some research and double check before you shoot off with ignorant remarks that make you sound stupid. First thing is first, AFRICA IS A CONTINENT THAT HAS 52 COUNTRIES. Visiting 2 of those countries and meeting 0.00001% of the population of those 2 countries is hardly enough data to make such a statement. Proof: switch on CNN or google an African country and WHAM! 90% of those women are sporting… Read more »

Shawna
Shawna
5 years ago
Reply to  GenuineAfrican

Okay, I spent quite some time in SA and I think you’re misunderstanding what she’s saying. Yes women in Africa wear wear braid extensions (which to me isn’t natural hair, it’s not even your hair) but let’s be honest the majority of the people who can afford to do something different do not. Even in the shanty towns you’ll find a lot of women with their hair dyed red and straightened as best they can. The majority of professionals have straightened hair. I worked in Joburg for some time and I was def. an oddity with my big fro and… Read more »

Proud Naija Babe
Proud Naija Babe
5 years ago
Reply to  GenuineAfrican

See ehn, Genuine African and Ifie nwannem nwanyi, God bless you guys for your comments. As in, the way the girl just poured us on the ground, the tone of the article just felt off to me, these are your people, be more understanding abeg. First, she gathered her “observation” from very few people and then goes ahead to generalize, I mean, even if the “natural movement” hasn’t “caught on” back home why not try in your little way to gently educate people if you want to, because honey, it is not by force to be natural or relaxed, no… Read more »

rainbow
rainbow
5 years ago
Reply to  GenuineAfrican

You are acting like she is an outsider. She is an African speaking on African issues, you are not the only one who is allowed to speak on Africa.

ifie
ifie
6 years ago

Chichi right? So I’m guessing you’re Nigerian. And you made yourself stay in a dingy hotel while over there. That ain’t nobody’s fault. You could have stayed in a four star hotel if you could afford it, but you couldn’t. Still wondering what the purpose of that tag on your picture was.

Angelita
Angelita
6 years ago

From personal experience, I really think you only saw a select people’s view. It’s true that we’re not as focused on hair care as you are here but it doesn’t mean complete ignorance. I had the healthiest hair in Nigeria, people always thought I had extensions in because it was so long. My dad the other day was just telling me all I needed was Shea butter. I always used wide tooth comb and my hair was in protective styling a lot.

salomey kwaw
salomey kwaw
6 years ago

I dont disagree with those saying that people can take care of their natural hair. But in Ghana wer i live having natural hair is kinda associated with not having money to cater for urself. the movement is slow here. you go to a saloon and they dont even know that they have to put water in the hair to moisturise it. people ask why did u cut all ur hair. do u go to this.…… church. so those criticsing the writer dont cos in Ghana having natural jhair means ur hair isnt beautiful

AdrieC
AdrieC
6 years ago

I’m Nigerian (specifically Igbo) and I personally believe that depending on what country you go to and what part of the country you go to, it can determine the reaction your garner from other people. I went back home in 2010 with relaxed hair down to my shoulders. They had no idea that African hair could get down that long (now it’s bsl, time flies!) But the point is this: it’s not that Africans don’t know about natural hair, they know, they just don’t have the accessibility to products like we do here in America or the UK. And as to them… Read more »

rainbow
rainbow
5 years ago
Reply to  AdrieC

I am sure she is aware of why things are the way they are, that is why she is trying to change it.

rainbow
rainbow
5 years ago
Reply to  AdrieC

Many of the natural hair products we use in the US are based on the raw materials you guys have in Africa (Shea butter, coconut oil, palm oil,…)

maryam
maryam
6 years ago

i am nigerian but when i went i got my natural hair doneright and i was able to fing a nice hotel room

Yas
Yas
5 years ago

Yes. The fine tooth comb remains a notorious feature in African braiding salons here in NYC. I take my own tools, but they still find a way to grab those damn combs. One of the reason why I rarely go. That and the aggressive combing and tight braiding. I love the braided styles, but the process to get into a protective style can be just as harsh in these places as putting a chemical on your hair.

jj
jj
5 years ago

I think that when we write articles of this nature it’s important that we take into consideration the current cultural climate of the region we are referencing. Though you are Nigerian, you left at a young age and your current perception may not align with the reality of modern West Africa. Natural hair is not new to Africa. Women have been wearing their hair natural since the beginning in Africa. (Hair relaxers were introduced to the continent by American women). Braids, and cornrows IS NATURAL HAIR and it is very native to the continent. What is new to Africa is… Read more »

Kowandi
Kowandi
5 years ago

You may get the same reactions in South Africa. We do have programs to to discuss natural hair with other african women: http://www.naturalhaircarenews.com/2015/04/05/natural-hair-commentary-from-around-the-world-a-glimpse-into-views-on-natural-hair-from-south-africa/

rainbow
rainbow
5 years ago

Who are you fooling? Native African people drank from the same koolaid that the black Americans did. You all suffer just the same, if not more.….I could always tell a woman was African by the condition of her skin and her receding hair line. Skin is gray from the bleaching cream and lips that do not match your new skin color. Maybe natural hair was around but when you drank that koolaid, it was no longer accepted.

Rachel Takyi-Mensah
Rachel Takyi-Mensah
4 years ago
Reply to  rainbow

Just wondering but have you been to any African countries or researched on African countries to the point that your opinion would be valid?

rainbow
rainbow
4 years ago

I don’t need to travel to African countries, I am surrounded by African people, I am approached by African men.….Africans do the same thing.

Junie
Junie
4 years ago

I’m shocked by the IGNORANCE of this article. Of all the Travels to several countries in the Continent of Africa, all I see is Natural Hair or Natural Hair in Braids. Your experience in a certain area of a Continent with over 50 countries cannot be used to Generalize a whole continent. WOW.

Casey Bliss
Casey Bliss
4 years ago
Reply to  Junie

You like to call people ignorant allot I notice. That’s pretty ignorant of you with statements like “but the statistics are coming from high crime ghettos. It does not represent the Black Race as a whole. Whites commit the same crimes that blacks do but get a slap on the risk (if arrested at all) with less prison time or just probation no jail time. Blacks are usually convicted of those same petty crimes committed by whites who only got probation.” you make. Conviction rates for suspects are almost identical across the board. If you actually did some fact checking… Read more »

Natural Kinky Curly Marie
Natural Kinky Curly Marie
4 years ago

Raw materials Africans use daily in their Natural Hair and have been using for thousands of years. This article is based on her experience in 1 or 2 areas in 1 of the many countries of the Continent of Africa. People do this all the time visit certain areas in 1–2 countries in Africa then Generalize the “Entire” continent.

Natural Kinky Curly Marie
Natural Kinky Curly Marie
4 years ago

I’m SHOCKED of the Generalization of an entire continent of over 50 Countries (54 Fully recognized countries) where you find Natural Hair the most; simply based on an experience in certain areas. At one point before the American enfluence (weaves/relaxers) that’s mostly all you saw. In many Countries in Africa the obsession with loose flowing curl patterns and BSL/WL hair is non-existant, but give it time. Had to repost GenuineAfrican’s Comment below since I’m at lost for words; especially after the false statement: “If you’ve read this post I wrote a while ago, you know that natural hair is not the… Read more »

rainbow
rainbow
5 years ago

An African speaking about African hair issues and some other Africans are getting upset? You all are in denial if you think natural hair is widely accepted there. You just don’t want non-Africans to know the issues or are just offended just to be offended. Speak the truth! Natural hair is a relatively new thing to certain parts of Africa and you know it!

Proudafrican
Proudafrican
5 years ago
Reply to  rainbow

Ummm isn’t it the opposite isn’t natural hair new in America cause natural hair has been in Africa since the beginning of time

laraB
laraB
5 years ago

I agree with you but you know sincerely it depends if you live in north nigeria with the fulani’s and hausa’s no one sees it as a big deal But when you go to the south, yoruba and igbos, people will look at you like you are Mad!

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