It’s been a minute since I last posted on the blog hasn’t it. Pursuing a masters degree while juggling about 3 other side things is proving to be quite the task. All that, and still being expected to adult and remember to feed myself is sometimes a bit much. So alas, I don’t get to blog as much as my heart so very much desires. But if you’re here, reading this, then you’re awesome, amazing and I appreciate you. That also means you absolutely deserve to read about the Emancipation of Erin,
Let me tell you guys a little about Erin. I’m not going to lie, I spotted her hair first on campus. I was flabbergasted. Her crown was colossal and she wore it with a big smile on her face, which made asking her for hair story a tad easier for awkward ol’ me.
And now here we are.
It all started as a kid actually, my first memory of hair is:
Why can’t I just have straight hair?
See the environment where I grew up created a mind-set of ‘straight hair or you are ugly’. It meant that I had to go through a whole day of doing hair every weekend to achieve the required sleek and silky look. The awful process; Wash hair, get it rolled in which took an hour, sit in sun to dry which took another two hours, find someone who is willing to blow out your hair and flat iron it which in total also takes about 2 hours. That added up to a total of 5 hours if lucky. I don’t miss one drop of that torture
This hair torture started at age 4. Every time I got my hair done I developed a little bit more hatred towards it. It got so bad that I made my mom get me a GHD before they were even available in the country and eventually it got my dad driving 300km to the nearest hair salon that had Brazilian Blowouts available. My hair took a lot of time, money, effort and stress.
Thinking back now I realise how big of an influence my peers and unimportant people’s opinions about me and my hair had on me. Ironically enough I grew up with a mom who rocked her natural hair with confidence. But hearing someone say, “Jy’t darem dik hare!!” broke me. It broke me because it was seen as the most negative thing ever.
Eventually two of my cousins who are my role models went natural. This changed things for me. At this point of time I was in a different school and environment where nobody’s opinion affected me whatsoever. I started considering to change the way I looked at my hair. I started slowly by wearing my Brazilian Blowout treated hair naturally until I was sick of having two types of textures (kroes roots and straight ends). It was March 2014 somewhere in the AMs when I decided to take scissors and cut it all off, my first big chop. Every single straight strand of hair got chopped off without any second thoughts.
One of my favourite quotes since that day is; “I was shy, but it came out in a big personality. My turning point was when I let my hair go naturally.” –Tracee Ellis Ross
When returning natural, it’s so much easier to do when you’re not doing it alone. Luckily for our budding South African Natural Hair Community, we’re not alone. There is immense support via social media groups serving as a platform to ask those questions that we’re dying to know. Like ‘girl, please tell me what products you use to get your fro so fly’.
So search for groups like ‘South African Naturals’, ‘Curlfriends_SA – Girls with Naturally Curly Hair’, ‘It’s All Natural’, ‘Cape Town Naturally’ or even for a group for your specific hair type. They’re all there (there are plenty of natural gal bloggers/vloggers too) and there’s so much to learn about our hair.
We can all emancipate ourselves like Erin did, teaching ourselves how to take care of the hair that grows out of our scalp is a darn good start and it certainly helps with the mission of loving yourself, one strand at a time.