Eyewitness News on 3 November 2015

An ongoing conversation about black women’s hair has re-emerged following Hugh Masekela’s statements about not taking pictures with women who wear weaves or do not wear their hair in its natural state.

In a recent column in City Press, Masekela explores the history behind what has influenced our ideas about ‘good hair’ and ‘bad hair’. He explains how African people’s hair is “an amazing psychological jigsaw puzzle regarding their identity, image, self-esteem and heritage”. This oppressive hair hierarchy is linked to race, the pursuit of straighter hair during apartheid and its hair tests to determine race, resulting in derogatory terms and splits within communities, and embarrassment and shame over texture. Our hair choices, then, is built on the politics of race-based oppression alone.

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