The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and mine alone. They do not represent the views of the Peace Corps or the United States Government.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gettin' My Hair Done!

As I was walking around Shoshong meeting people my first couple of months at site, I met numerous women who owned hair salons. Apparently there are 6 in Shoshong. One of them, Bakadzi, asked if she could braid my hair. I said sure, with no intention of going through with it. A few days ago, I changed my mind. I decided it would be a great idea. I would experience what many Batswana women experience every month. And if it turned out terribly and ruined my hair, I am going to London in about a week and a half so I can get a hair cut and fix any damage then. Good plan!

All in all, it took about 5 hours over two sittings to finish my hair. And even after it was done, a few hours later, some of the braids came out. So I had to go back and Bakadzi tied the ends of my braids with string. She said she would "know better for next time."

Bakadzi and I

Top view

Side view

Also, as you can see from these last couple of shots, Bakadzi didn't just use my hair. She also added wool into it (at least I think that's what they use). It is helping to keep the braids together and strengthen the hold, especially on the top. But it makes my hair a lot stiffer than usual.

So many Batswana women get their hair done--either by braiding it (this is actually called plaiting--when you add in the wool) or adding in actual hair pieces. One young Motswana man told me that women do this because they are trying to look like white women. I will have to investigate to find out if that is true so I can't comment on that now. Regardless, it was fun (and pretty painful actually) to experience this part of Botswana female culture.

1 comment:

  1. looks great - interesting that plaiting is thought by men to be the women trying to look white - here, in RI at least, braiding definitely an expression of African American culture and pride - comfortable? great picture of you and your braid friend Amelia - what a collection you will have - see you in couple days! love, dad