Mariam Chadare, Year 9
I stood in front of my mirror a few days ago, running my fingers through my shrinking hair and feeling proud as I extended my arms and felt blessed as my hair’s tightly wound curls lengthened, then quickly sprang back into place.
For almost five years I have been growing my hair natural and ever since then, I’ve been feeling confident and beautiful with my hair texture and how it blossoms on my head, like an invisible crown of pride and beauty.
When I was younger, like most of the girls of my generation, I wasn’t really encouraged to wear my hair as an afro but instead, I was led down the path of wigs, weaves and insecurity – the path of having to feel the painful chemicals of relaxers penetrate into my fragile scalp every month just to appear ‘proper’ in front of the eyes of the outer world. Or I would sometimes feel the consequence of getting my earlobes burnt while having my hair pressed with the searing sting of hot combs.
However, I have learned to cherish my natural hair because I discovered that the hair that grows on my head isn’t just my hair… It has a deeper meaning and story under it. My hair marks my identity, my history, my confidence, my dignity and, not to forget, it also marks my perseverance to keep it natural even when the urge to relax it beckons me.
Recently at school, my classmates and I met a woman who is as passionate about natural hair as I am. This beautiful woman is baptized under the name of Mrs. Corine Hounsou. She is also Mr. Aaron George’s wife (our English teacher). She walked through our school’s gate with one mission in mind: to help us grow our hair in the healthiest and most natural way possible. She advised us on some useful methods on how to moisturise our hair and how to style it in a protective hairstyle on a daily basis. She tutored us on how to lock and twist it and how to pack it to sleep when we have extensions or when we don’t.
Being the only student having my hair out of extensions on the day of her visit, I had the amazing opportunity of having Mrs. Corine run her smooth hands through my kinky, hard and tangled hair. She detangled my hair, combed it out and, as a finishing touch to her artwork, she braided part of my hair into a pretty hairstyle which showed what my natural hair could accomplish, and left the remaining part in its natural ‘afro’ state.
The captivating fact I noticed about this class was that it wasn’t occupied by only girls with kinky hair, but instead, it welcomed students with many different hair textures and also had some boys that participated.
This session with a professional woman who knew a lot about hair really benefited me a lot. It helped me appreciate my hair more and embrace my true nature. I hope my essay will encourage you to let your hair show you its true value.