History of Natural Hair in Africa

By Favour Uche

Think back to pictures of your parents and grandparents in their younger years rocking natural hair, or ancient African movies where women looked beautiful with their rich natural hair. Hair has played numerous roles in Africa apart from just beautification, as early as the 15th century different tribes used hairstyles to show their social grades, and they have played very significant roles in various African civilisations. It tells one’s family background, social status, spirituality, tribes, marital status and so on.

Natural hair was predominantly rampant in the old days but it has seen a rise in recent years spurred by women and men of African descent learning to embrace, love and cherish their natural afro-textured hair. Some people believe that apart from the beauty it brought, many Africans let their hair grow as a form of protection from the scorching sun in the region.

Whatever the reason for letting your natural hair grow, it has always been considered by some cultures and spiritual groups as a sacred symbol. Hair was fashioned in certain ways to tell stories, a person’s hair could tell you a lot about them or where they came from. For instance, members of the royalty wore elaborate hairstyles as a symbol of their social standing.

Hair was also seen by some tribes as a symbol of fertility, some believed that if a person’s hair was thick, long and neat it symbolises that the person was able to bear healthy children. While in some other cultures if a person was mourning, the family of the deceased would pay their respect by shaving off their hair completely.

Whatever your reason today for rocking your natural hair, keep doing it because it looks beautiful that I can assure you.


Published by Favour.Uche

I am a natural hair enthusiast based in Lagos with a penchant for taking long walks and soliloquizing. I love meeting new people, trying new things and not being the conventional woman, I will be sharing from my hair journey.

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