I have, over the years, watched silently as black women have had to defend their choices of hairstyles to a society undeserving of an explanation. Over the years I have gone from chemically treated hair, to the buying of wigs and weaves, ultimately settling on my (un)dreadlocked hair because of convenience and preference. I have no qualms with anyone else's choice of hairstyle. My best friend has always worn wigs and weaves. She may take longer to get ready when we meet because of her crowning glory, but she remains a person of substance and a good friend. If we...
I have, over the years, watched silently as black women have had to defend their choices of hairstyles to a society undeserving of an explanation.

Over the years I have gone from chemically treated hair, to the buying of wigs and weaves, ultimately settling on my (un)dreadlocked hair because of convenience and preference. I have no qualms with anyone else's choice of hairstyle.

My best friend has always worn wigs and weaves. She may take longer to get ready when we meet because of her crowning glory, but she remains a person of substance and a good friend. If we were placed in a room, by the standards of the powers that be at Clicks and TRESemme, her transferable hair would be deemed richer and healthier than mine.

In 2020, how did we get to a place where, as black women, we must still seek validation and acceptance for the choices and decisions we make on our appearance? Men across the board – not just the ones in executive suits who commission media content – want to make themselves our advisors when it comes to aesthetics.

I understand the thinking behind the refusal to back the stand against Clicks by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). I was always taught not to dim the light of others to make mine shine. Violence and threats against workers blurred the message the EFF was trying to get across. The intention was perfect, the execution – not so much.

Many have questioned how we were enraged by an advert to which Clicks "unreservedly apologised", addressing us as the natural hair community.

The truth is, this is not a hair problem – this is an identity conversation. If you cannot see us for who we are, you will not engage us at our level! How can we be engaged if we are not recognised? See us for what we are and don't demand an explanation for our choice to present ourselves in a fashion and image of our choice.

Minus the violence and intimidation, I stand with and applaud the EFF.

More than a spat over hair


Kekeletso Nakeli-Dhliwayo.

For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.

This post is currently not accepting comments.