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The origin and roots of African traditional Hairstyles


Back in the day, a hairstyle was crucial in traditional African society. A hairstyle said a lot about you as an individual in terms of your social, economic, and political status. For example, when one shaves their hair completely they are considered to be in mourning or perhaps a smark of a new beginning.


Though Hairstyles make one look extremely beautiful they say a lot about you as an individual. Here are some of the African hairstyles and what they mean.

Bantu Knots

The Bantu Knots originally originated in South Africa. The hair is divided into different sections and then twisted into knots. The hairstyle symbolizes femininity and status in society.

It is now used as a protective hairstyle by many women across Africa and even in the west by African Americans.

Bantu knots File/COURTESY

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This Hairstyle originated in Rwanda among the Hutu and Tutsi people. It was a hairstyle worn by the elite of society because the hairstyle was of class.

However, it meant something different depending on who wore it. Single women wore hairstyles as a symbol of virginity and purity.

Warriors wore the Hairstyle to signify bravery and strength. Married women wore it to show their marital status. The style relied heavily on your body frame.

The hair is divided into sections and then shaped into crescents with sharp corners.

Amasunzu File/COURTESY

Himba Dreadlocks

Himba dreadlocks originated from Northwestern Namibia among the people from the Himba tribe. The hairstyle is made by a mixture of butter Ochre and goat hair to create locks.

They add hair extensions and accessories for beautification. It symbolizes age and life. Teenagers wear the hairstyle with the dreadlock strands hanging down their faces to symbolize the entrance to puberty.

However, when they are about to get married they tie the strands to show their faces.

Himba Dredlocks File/COURTESY

Fulani Braids

Fulani Braids originated from the Fulani tribe from West Africa the hairstyle remains an identity of the Fulani people to date.

It involves dividing the hair in the middle or side making cornrows then adorning them with different accessories mostly rings were used to beautify the hairstyle

Fulani File/COURTESY

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