A woman’s hair is often said to be her pride, and for centuries, the African community has created hairstyles that are unique to their cultures and personalities.
These hairstyles embody their worth and growth and can be traced as far back as the 19th century and they continue to weave their way into the various facets of the African woman’s life.
Many African hairstyles can be traced to the ancient Egyptian writings of hieroglyphics. Some historians have linked African hairstyles to the 1931 archeological findings of the sand burst of Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, whose beauty was much talked about and enhanced by her towering hairstyle which became the mark of many African women.
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In the new age of weaves and hair- cuts, dreadlocks and braids, the African woman is seen to have liberated her style and has become a force in the hair business.
Steering the talk on the African woman’s hair is 23-year-old Ivorian, Laetitia Ky. The young artist is defying the hair game in a bid to create something exceptional in this vast changing world.
She spends her time making art out of her thick long locks. The Abidjan native says her craft was originally inspired by photographs of women in pre-colonial Africa wearing their traditional hairstyles.
She explains that as the world has come to love the African wearing afro; it has also become a thing of politics and ridicule.
“There’s so much to say on the topic as I am a black woman with afro hair, which is poorly perceived in a lot of places,” she says.
Laetitia calls her sculpt invention the KY concept. She begins by wrapping her braids in African lion cloth and cuts them in strips and then wraps the cloth round the braids.
“There are mixed reactions, there are a lot of different opinions, I get racist comments from people who do not understand and find it ugly.
For me, it’s very important to express myself. I show an image of a strong, secure, confident woman who loves herself,” she says.
The 23-year-old artist believes that these sculptures are a representation of her culture, an expression of herself as an African and a medium of tackling issues.
Laetitia adds that since she started braid sculpting, she has had several people come up to her to share how she has helped them feel better about their looks and origin.
The African hair can be made into any and every hairstyle, whether you want to sculpt it like Laetitia or rock in a low-cut, know that the African hair has come to stay with its many options.