In that episode of 3rd degree, Miss Patta's team documented the story of how Indian women sacrifice their hair in the name of religion and how the same hair ends up being sold in other countries as part of a multi-million dollar global industry.
In Zimbabwe, as in South Africa, black women started warming up to the idea of weaves over a decade ago, and since then the number of women locally who are turning to the weave has multiplied rapidly.
As with anything in life - different strokes for different folks but we cannot run away from the fact that black women in general wish they had longer, shinier and easier to comb hair.
I'm not saying every single black woman lives with those hair desires but most of us do. Let's put this into perspective- on any good day - natural black hair is very hard to comb, very. The pain that comes with it is, for many people, the worst part of any morning. And the longer our hair gets, the harder it is to enjoy.
So, as that episode of 3rd degree wore, on Facebook got buzzing with what has come to be known as the #weavedebate. Every other woman who tuned in to the debate swore not to have another hair-piece attached to their hair again.
Every second status update on Facebook for a week seemed to be about the #weavedebate. The more I read the more I wondered. Was it the Indian women’s sacrificing of their hair? Was it that the programme had an agenda and as always the agenda had to be something, anything that makes black people seem shallower than they actually are?
Whatever the reason, the #weavedebate continued, it became really apparent that the programme had had an impact on a lot of young black South Africans, and then I saw a status update that got me thinking, angry, questioning the black mind-set and for a lot of reasons - it got me wanting to share my views on the debate.
The update read: "Wedging in the #weavedebate …Anyone who can separate weaves from the black men and women using skin lightning creams, the Jews who bob their noses, Chinese who widen their eyes - is either blind to their own unconscious desires for preferring themselves with a weave on, at the cost of a permanent receding hairline... or is trying to score cheap points with a woman he hopes he never gets to marry and raise daughters [with].
“...This is not to say I have never slept with a gorgeous sister in a weave but I know when it came to taking a wife - it had to be someone who could teach my daughters to love themselves as they are - the assumption here is that the world was always going to tell them they are not enough. If the decision is between a weave and wig, I hope my daughters will grow up to opt for a wig so they spend most of their days preferring themselves as they are.
Nothing about this update moved me, until I got to "...This is not to say I have never slept with a gorgeous sister in a weave but I know when it came to taking a wife - it had to be someone who can teach my daughters to love themselves as they are...." I was feeling a lot of things at that point, anger more than anything. I was offended.
Let me share this with you before I go any further, I usually sport an afro, the nappiest I've ever come across, braids, or cornrows - that's just what I like. I'm saying this to make the fact that I'm not being defensive real clear. I have friends who keep their hair natural and friends who happily and proudly rock weaves.
And, as I've said before - people rock weaves for a lot of reasons. Some just hate their hair, some want more volume, some simply have hair that doesn't grow, some can't bare the pain of combing hair, some are just tired of having to maintain their own hair and some do it because of style and trends. White and asian women do it too- to add volume to their hair.
Weave awesome. Above: Vanessa Sibanda, Mercy Mushaninga, Nadia Gori and Chido Ndhlovu.
So, out of all these reason I've stated above, I see none that suggests that people who rock weaves and extend their hair are shallow, dumb or love themselves any less than me or a woman who shaves her hair off for that matter.
In my opinion, weaves are no different from nail-polish, make-up, fake-nails, push-up bras, high-heels, shaven heads, visiting the salon for a Brazilian Blow, fake eye-lashes, skin lightening products, tans and tanning products or even mascara. All of us, in the pursuit of a better looking us do these things.
Whether it’s just to hear someone tell us that we are looking good or just to have someone acknowledge our efforts in taking better care of ourselves we do things that we believe enhance how we look, and this is true across all tribes and races across the earth.
Maybe I'm missing something but when did hair become the measure of a good mother? Brothas, I feel for you - especially if something as irrelevant as hair is a wife-material barometer.
I honestly thought we had a lot of serious things to think about before making that kind of commitment, important things, life changing things.
Sistas, I feel bad that Debra Patta has managed to make you all feel like you have something to feel guilty about. Here's a newsflash - the jacket she wore during that broadcast or recording was produced in a sweat-shop by workers who put in long, stressful hours for money that cannot even put food on their tables.
The truth is - every other product we consume is produced by people who are reduced to nothing because of their backgrounds and the poverty they come from. Wine-farm workers operate under some of the worst conditions in the world in exchange for peanuts if not alchohol. Are you going to stop drinking wine? The world’s best and biggest brands take advantage of refugees and asylum seekers, they treat them like animals and pay them cents.
Are you gonna give up your stylish looking jeans and knee-length boots?
Here's my two cents worth. You are not your hair. Until Debra Patta is ready to look at issues like tanning, cosmetic surgery, body-part implants and weight-loss products with the same amount of judgement and ridicule - ask yourself what the real issue is. And if a brotha thinks less of you because of your hairstyle remember this quote: "Judging someone is no reflection on them but a reflection of you."
As for the Indian women who give up their hair - no sista of mine is responsible for their mindsets or religion. All the women in my family do not like weaves but trust me, they don't raise better kids than any of my woven friends.
There's more to life than hair-dos.
Next thing we are going to be choosing women based on the oil content in their lipsticks and glosses. Men need to get over their insecurities. Maybe it’s your duty to teach daughters how to love themselves as they are - not the woman's. To everyone else - if back-breaking high-heels or skin-threatening tans are not a biggie, then safe, easy to manage and great looking weaves ain't a thing. This is not even a moral issue.
Going back to that 3rd Degree broadcast, Lebo - who is one of my favourite artists, was giving her comment and spoke against weaves- but had her short natural hair bleached blonde…
So, as I sit here wondering what hair-do I should go for next, because I cannot spend three straight days combing my natural hair without thinking about how to avoid the pain I go through - I'm thinking, maybe a weave would work…
|If you are not familiar with this topic - let me bring you up to speed.
Weaves are hair extensions sewn or glued onto an individual's natural hair or scalp. It is mostly popular amongst black women all over the world, but women with naturally longer hair get weaves too to add volume to their hair.