Foreign Demand for African Hairstyles


Nigerian women have been told to cultivate the habit of promoting African culture through their traditional hairstyles

By Chinwe Okafor  |  Sep. 9, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ONYINYE Anah, a student, likes the natural African black hair because it makes her look African. Besides, she feels very cool wearing the African hair. She is not happy that women of other races showcase their hairdo and are very proud of their hair which in turn promotes their culture, while some of our women can’t even showcase the God-given beauty of African culture.

“This is my own little way of showcasing my African beauty. I am proudly African. Many African women see their non-silky hair as something to be ashamed of and they spend tons of money on weaves, wigs and perms. They think they don’t look good with the African hair.

Also, Bukky Olayide, a university student who prefers African hair, said that the trend of using European hair is shifting and women in Nigeria are beginning to see the beauty in their own God-given curly locks. “I prefer African hairstyle because it makes me look beautiful; it depicts my African personality and it’s not costly to make. It’s something anybody can wear because it’s not meant for the low or high class. This is no disrespect to those who chemically stretch their hair or use weaves, but it would be lovely for Nigerian women to start taking pride in their African hair and not see it as less beautiful than the long, swaying weaves we often hide under,” she said.Bottom of Form

Stylists making their customers hair
Stylists making their customers hair

Aderonke Tijani, a business woman, rues the modern development of hair styles, saying that it has eroded the old style. She said that the old style of hair-do brings out the beauty of a woman, unlike the modern style which, according to her, often looked artificial. “Mothers should imbibe the culture of the traditional hair style, especially in their children. Some children do not like plaiting their hair, they prefer fixing artificial hair. Even in some private schools, some of the children do not make their hair without adding attachment,” Tijani said.

Holding the same view is Fidelia Umoru, a nurse, who decried the modern way of making hair. She said it is extravagant and very expensive than the traditional African hairdo. Umoru, maintained that most modern hair styles do not meet the unique standard in the fashion industry, noting that most of them were usually carried for a period of one month and beyond. “Modern hairdos mostly smell as against the traditional way of making hair. Traditional hair plaiting is very good and some men do really appreciate it because it makes women look natural. A beautiful woman remains beautiful because of no additional artificial hair. The traditional hairdo always bring out the true woman and also make the woman look more African,’’ Umoru said.

Okwy Anyanwu, a male stylist, said that African women today have lost being themselves because their hair styles are not in line with African culture which he attributed to inferiority complex in them. “The truth is that, African women need not wear foreign hair, to be what they want to be, and they definitely don’t need to be artificial to be superior or to prove anything to their counterparts. From where I stand, women of other continents have more to learn from African women not the other way round. Most African women lately, believe that it is a taboo for them to carry their natural hair. They believe that for one to look beautiful, the person must wear Brazilian, Indian, Lace wigs or Peruvian hair.

African naturals
African naturals

“I have traveled to foreign countries and seen how most of the white women who have African friends, begged to get an African braid. When they look into the mirror, they marvel at the glossy and amazing beauty that is before them. If they could be proud of African braids, the original African hair and style, why then wouldn’t African women? Look closely at any woman you see around, 95 percent of what she puts on are all artificial, from their hair down to the shoes they wear. It’s rare to see a woman who is proud of the African hair”, he said.

Anyanwu, said that women spend fortunes to get most of these artificial hairs down their body. There are hairs or wigs that cost around N180, 000 and more. Those who claim to be wealthy carry these hairs; they even plait their children thereby promoting other people’s culture and identity while theirs die away. Any African woman that isn’t proud of the true and real African hair, isn’t worth being an African woman.

Ngozi Iheanacho, an aged grandmother, said that the Holy book also recognises a woman leaving her hair natural without attaching any artificial hair to it. It can be found in the Bible that a woman must not attach any artificial thing to her hair as this commands the glory of God upon her. She said that since the invention of the modern hair style, she had not, for one day engaged in fixing or attaching hairs because of her passion for traditional plaiting. She said that a woman’s natural hair “is a thing of pride, honour, glory, joy and blessing,” which God has given her to cover her head.

Iheanacho, therefore, enjoined women to join hands in promoting the African culture through the traditional hairstyles. Realnews gathered that the traditional hairstyles in Nigeria have been in vogue before the colonial era. The hair styles did not only showcase the beauty of the African woman but also promote the country’s culture. In the past, there were various symbolic hairstyles that were used for special occasions, while some others were made for special classes of people in the society.

Examples of these hairstyles include those plaited for spinsters, unmarried women, married women, elderly women, princesses and queens. Some of the hair styles were Koju-soko, Ipako-elede, Koroba, Patewo, among others. During an International Women’s Day celebration which was held on March 8, Nigerian women were advised to cultivate the habit of making traditional hair styles. A cross section of Nigerian women said that doing this would go a long way in promoting the nation’s culture.

6 thoughts on “Foreign Demand for African Hairstyles

  1. Fantastic site you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

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