Butter Braids and Dreadlocks: A look at Africa’s traditional hairstyles

Mildred Europa Taylor February 12, 2018

A Fulani girl from the Sahel region — Pinterest

Braids from the Fulani Tribe of the Sahel Region and West Africa

The Fula people or Fulani Tribe numbering between 20 and 25 million, are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa. It is the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world. Its women have a unique traditional hairstyle, where their long hair is put into five long braids that either hang or are looped on the sides, with a coiffure in the middle of the head. Beads and cowrie shells are used to decorate the hair. Many a time, a family’s silver coins and amber are attached to the braids not only for aesthetic purposes but most importantly as a heritage symbol. This tradition has been passed through generations to women and young girls.


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