A gorgeous hair is the best revenge. – Ivana Trump
For those of you who thought black women can’t grow hair past their shoulders, It’s time to change that impression.
There are some women with Rapunzel-like hair right here in Africa. No, it’s not a myth. Neither is it history. Here’s a little introduction.
Throughout the world, numerous ancient tribes exist that have retained their ancient traditions, which have been passed down from one generation to the next.
The Mbalantu women reside near the southern tips of Angola and northern border of Namibia are known to still keep their tradition of growing very long naturally coarse hair that famously goes down to their thighs. How is that ever possible? They cover their hair in a homemade mixture that keeps their hair moisturized and lubricated which is why their hair never breaks; even from childhood.
As a girl passes through various stages of her life, the Mbalantu organized ceremonies in which the hair of the girl is given particular treatments to reflect her new status. These ceremonies often begin from the age of 12 when the hair of girl is taken through special treatments that will speed up growth.
The girl is made to, coat her hair in a thick paste made from the finely ground tree bark of the “omutyuula” tree mixed with fat.
The young girl will live with this thick mixture on her scalp for years before it is subsequently loosened to make the hair visible. Fruit pips of the bird plum are then attached to the ends of the hair with sinew strings.
At the age of 16, long sinew strands that reach the ground are attached to the hair of the girl as she goes through the “Ohango” Initiation (a ceremony that gets her accepted as a woman) in the same year.
Now seen as a woman, her hair goes through another change as a new layer of the tree bark and oil mixture is applied to the hair to ensure further growth.
When she gets married, the long plaits are subsequently arranged into a headdress, which is to show that a woman was married. Sometimes this headdress is so heavy to the extent that the upper ends were often attached to a piece of rope or skin, and fastened around the forehead in order to distribute the load more evenly.
The woman wears this style for several years after marriage and is allowed to change it to mirror a new status, such as the birth of a child.
These unique braids known as “Eembuvi” have since become an inspiration for celebrities across the world.
Here is a list of the secret ingredients, preparation and steps done by the Mbalatu women to get that length and thickness of hair;
• Shébé seeds (Croton zambesicus/Croton du Zambèze)
• “Mahllaba soubiane” seeds
• “Missic” stone to scent
• “Samour” resin
• Scented oil of any choice
Women from other African culture have embraced these ingredients and have adopted them as part of their hair treatment routine. The secret is out! Ask your hairdresser for these ingredients and you’re on your way to a gorgeous afro.