It’s not just hair
It’s my identity
It’s not just hair
It’s a part of me
How dare you cut it
How dare you abuse me
How dare you refuse to teach me how to take care of it
It’s not just hair
It’s my spirituality
The creator’s blessing, it grows upwards to the sky and encases the sun
It’s part of what makes me feel beautiful
Makes me feel confident
Are grades better than my confidence?
Is your comfort more important than my sanity?
Is your mind in the right place?
No, it’s definitely in the gutter
How dare you continue to emulate the slave master in the wickedest of ways
Travel overseas and this is unheard of
Go abroad and you look unwise
Step outside and your mind will open
At least it will try to
I’m sick of you
How many more of us will you kill
How many more of us will you hurt
It’s not just hair, it’s my pride
It’s not just hair, It’s what I touch when I need comfort
It’s what I look at to feel good
How dare you suppress my individuality and put me in a box of shame
It’s not just hair, it’s a beautiful thing that helps me express my creativity
But you took that away from me and called my hair a waste of time
To you, time was better than my hair, time for what?
How dare you cut it and tell me looking bald makes me look better
And convince me that it’s normal
It’s beginning to haunt me that I was silent
If I knew I could speak up maybe I won’t be feeling this way
How dare you call my nature unkempt
How dare you remain asleep
For the rest of my life, I will fight with my words because
It’s not just hair, it’s my life
- Fohwaa Egyir
Heylooo, I’m sure you’ve noticed that hair looks like a constant topic in my writing… Let me be clear, I’m in that phase where I am really realizing what has been done to me and it hurts, it hurts so bad and even more so it’s time I can’t get back, all those years doing something I never wanted to do all in the name of maintenance, my self-esteem was thrown out the window. There were so many weird moments in my life that could have been avoided if my hair was left alone. So now even though I am no longer subjected to this cruelty, it wasn’t long ago so the wounds are still fresh, 21st June 2020 was the last time I cut my hair so you see it wasn’t so long ago. I should have said no, I should have fought for my hair but I didn’t know I had a choice… I thought it was natural and all the discomfort and sadness I felt was me just being stubborn. This is probably what a lot of other girls my age went through and are still going through… I am tired of seeing my friends cutting off their hair and witnessing their sadness…When I was in school, products like “Super Hair Grow” were the order of the day, and all my friends hated cutting their hair but only very few enjoyed it for reasons personal to them. You the leaders of the nation, the older generation, constantly talking about how you want to raise students ready to take on the future but here you are defending colonial rules that were intentionally set for the sole purpose of destroying the self-esteem of girls…Can’t you see you are hurting and important aspect of society’s demographic? You talk girl child, girl child but you are not even ready to fix a basic problem. You say “When in Rome do what the Romans do” but you have to remember that we were colonized for so long and so at the core foundation our ways are not really ours… When the Europeans came to “Rome” did they do what the “Romans” did? No, they took your names and gave you theirs, they took your spirituality and gave you religion, they took your ancestors and gave you colonization, and yet here you sit, talking high and mighty about “When in Rome do what the Romans do” If there are problems, they need to be addressed, you don’t just sit on a proverb and use that to justify abuse.
If you are reading this and you are yet to be parents or you have young nieces in Africa, please fight for them and let them keep their hair, teach them how to braid it, moisturize it, soften it, manipulate it, take care of it, don’t succumb to laziness and just decide to cut it as the way out so that they will grow to thank you and not resent you… You may not feel it’s true but to a girl, hair brings a sense of pride you may never understand.
We can’t rely on a few people to change the system if the collective majority doesn’t see anything wrong with the system, so please try to understand, and the new generations to come will finally thank us.
I hate everything about the system and I hope to one day see it collapse.