My hair


My hair is my hair.

It is on my head not your head.

My hair does not seek your opinion.

Nor does it want it, require it, or need it!

My hair is my hair!


My hair is not a calculator …

To what you defines me as African

Are you really going to reduce my Africaness to hair?



I love my hair straight, coiled, curly, bald, sometimes big and sometimes short

But does my hair determine the contents of my soul?

But does my “natural” hair make me more African than the female with the weave?


No I have not been “colonised”

I am aware of my African ancestry

And I wear my hair the way I want because my hair,

Is an expression of me


Your opinion of my hair,

Your questioning of my hair styles,

makes me believe that you have a certain complex

a “blacker than thou” complex

this complex ironically displays the same colonised mind

that you claim to be running away from.

In the same way that the coloniser judged me based on my appearance

you look at me, and reduce my mind and soul into a physical attribute


I look at the mirror

And I am constantly told

What to be as a female

I am told: what to wear

What to be

How to act

And what my hair should be like

I am told (rather than being given my natural right of speech and opinion)

What my African self is, based on my hair


See the problem is

When you reduce my Africaness to hair

You take away the content of my character

And you place value on the bodily component of me

You reduce me in the same way your colonisers reduced you

You reduce me to a hollow being

A being filled with nothing but air

A being which does not know itself

A being which is not African

A being which is bleached

You reduce me to a being. Being.

You reduce me to hair

But you forget.

That I am not my hair

And that my hair is my hair.


By Nelly Mkhele

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