Articles on African hair

Displaying all articles

Hair speaks of the past, and of cultural heritage. Steve Evans/Flickr

The heritage of hair: stories of resilience and creativity

Hair has long been modified for aesthetic and other ends. But skewed power structures have meant that women, particularly women of colour, have borne the brunt of stereotyping and prejudice.
One of the first dilemmas that black people face is whether to let strangers touch their hair – and under what circumstances. Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

From slavery to colonialism and school rules: a history of myths about black hair

When it comes to black hair, “common sense” is the least reliable tool for decision making since even black people are constantly changing their minds about what they want to do with their hair.
Balkissa Maiga, 17, wears a traditional Songhai headdress made by artisan Hally Bara in Gao, Mali. Reuters/Joe Penney

Untangling the knotty politics of African women’s hair

Traditionally, African women wore their hair in different ways to signify class or marriage status. Now with globalisation, hair is becoming less traditionalised and more politicised.

Top contributors