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