Mzungu Hair

May 24, 2012 § Leave a comment


I was woefully unaware of the time, expertise, and effort that goes into taking care of ethnic hair. In America, I had some black friends but didn’t see them enough or think to ask how they take care of their hair.

Here in Zambia, I’m noticing that black ladies are always changing their hair! You will see the same woman and not recognize her because of the drastic difference in style. One day, she will have very long braids plaited in. Next time, she will have very short natural hair. The time after that, she will be wearing a wig!

I mentioned to my Zambian friend that I was jealous of these ladies changing their hairstyles all the time. Then she offered to plait (braid) my hair. Done. (*Please note that the pics are almost a week after it was done so it’s not looking as smart as it did at first*)

I had my hair braided before in Uganda but caught a little worm. Ring worm. Ben’s favorite line is that my $10 hair style ended up costing us $60 in anti-fungal drugs. Osaudandaula (no worries).

The most common questions I’ve gotten (from other mzungus, of course):

Is it extensions or your real hair?

They are extensions that are knotted at the root and twisted in.

How long did it take?

About 8 hours (we had a break for nsheema).

Did it hurt?

Beauty is pain.

Do you wash it?

As little as possible!

How do you sleep?

I pineapple it on top of my head (see HERE) and usually wear a sleep cap (or sleep cap substitute – panty hose worked for me!)

Ben, being a boy, found it hilarious to wake up to his wife wearing pantyhose on her head. He couldn’t stop laughing and snapped this picture of me. True love.

A big shout out to my friend Precious for doing my hair! Zicomo kwambiri!


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