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Feature Article of Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Columnist: Saka, Dr.

More African Women Set To Go Natural

Perfect Scenario: More African Women Set To Go Natural

By Honourable Saka

In love with Africa: a proud African woman shows off her black beauty For those of us who are passionate about Africa, perhaps the most refreshing development currently in the news, is the fact that many African women are gradually becoming confident in their natural beauty, and are finally rejecting “artificial beauty” altogether. Many African ladies are saying bye-bye to foreign wigs, hair relaxers and the bleaching cosmetics, which are perceived to be dangerous to the skin. In February 1994, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Cancer Society released an epidemiologic study involving 573,000 women. The researchers found that black women who had never used permanent hair relaxers showed decreased risk of all fatal cancers combined, as well as urinary system cancers.

There is also a recent shocking revelation which warned that “many of the hair care products on the market affect black women’s ability of to have children. Consequently, women who regularly use these chemicals/cosmetics, stand a triple risk of getting fibroid”.

Perhaps this explains the reason why cancer, infertility and fibroid are becoming common in the lives of many African women both home and abroad. Therefore it is refreshing news that black women throughout the world are gradually becoming aware of the above risks. This is an obvious reason why many campaigns are currently seeking to encourage black women to keep their natural hair and to “go natural” so that they can spare themselves the risks of cancer and many more terrible consequences.

Natural hair campaign goes viral It is now confirmed that, the “Black is Beautiful” and the “No More Chemicals” campaign that were recently launched on the various social networks, have all gone viral.

From Facebook to Twitter, YouTube, through Google, many African women are increasingly embracing the idea to go natural; a development that has been hailed as a step in the right direction.

By choosing to go natural, African women are now sending a strong message to the world that they have finally had enough with all those chemicals/cosmetics that have unleashed untold consequences of cancer and reproductive-related problems on the women. It is also an indication that at last the days of “inferiority complex” among black women are finally over.

As the ‘black is beautiful’ and the ‘no more chemicals’ campaigns become bigger and bigger by the day, it will be perceived that any African lady who might still be caught dancing to the tune of “artificial beauty”, is probably one of those who still needs help to overcome her “inferiority complex”.

“There is nothing as beautiful as the natural African woman (without chemicals). African women must shun their inferiority complex and keep their natural hair, their natural skin colour and of course their natural African fashion. These are the best ways to keep our pride as Africans”, a comment on twitter suggested.

Recently, in a report titled: “No More Chemicals: More Black Women Choosing to Go Natural”, the writer made some wonderful revelations as to why many black women have finally decided to go natural. They have found out about the danger that comes with the use of these chemicals to maintain their hair and their skin. “I was pregnant and I knew anything I put on my body goes to the baby.” says Jimmere, a 29 year old woman who is now awake.

“Women are sharing information on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, everywhere.

It’s endless,” says Espy Thomas, 31, of Detroit, who with her sister Jennifer, 29, hosts periodic natural hair meet-ups that attract hundreds of women, -the report explained. The most important part of the report suggested the following:

“More and more Black women are opting to wear their natural hair and discontinuing the use of relaxers.” This revelation was originally contained in a 2011 Mintel report which suggested that between 2006 and 2011, the sales of hair relaxer kits, have dropped drastically by 17%, an amount that translates into several millions of US dollars. The trend is “expected to continue,” the report concluded. In an interview with some students at the University of Abuja, (Nigeria) Ufuoma, a lady in her early 20s made the following comment:

“I feel very ashamed whenever I see my fellow Nigerian sisters/women trying to look like they’re from Asia or America, especially with those fake wigs here on campus. In my opinion, such African women merely suffer from inferiority complex. They don’t seem to appreciate that the African woman is much more beautiful in her natural form and even more respected by the real men out there. For this reason, I and a couple of friends have set out for ourselves the challenge to lead this campaign here in Abuja”.

Another woman in her 30s who identified herself as Uche, made the following comment:

“To be honest, even though I do not like the idea that some African women use hair relaxers and wigs to depict their confidence, I believe this trend is as a result of the impressions they get from watching TVs, movies and all these foreign fashion shows where such products are presented to them as ‘modern’ fashion/beauty. We seriously need some institutions that will put pressure on the media to educate our people because we are Africans and ‘they’ are not. I think it will be a good idea to show our natural African beauty to the rest of the world too. Maybe if we do, they could also want to dress like us”. When reached for his comment, Emeka- a fashion designer and a movie star in Nigeria explained further:

“Being a fashion designer in Africa used to be a very big challenge because the problem was not just about women. In fact many of our men especially the politicians never liked to dress the ‘African way’. It is very surprising to see men always in ‘suits and tie’ with heavy coats despite the hot African weather. However, I must admit that though this scenario is common in other African countries, here in Nigeria, our politicians dress the Nigerian way. I have never seen a Nigerian president wearing suit; rather they wear the Nigerian outfit even when they go on foreign trips. Our mothers also like to dress like African women. The major problem however has to do with the youth. Perhaps many of them were copying blindly from foreign fashion: a clear indication that the movie industry must sit up”.

Shifting the revolution into full gear, the role of the politicians President Ellen Johnson of Liberia The good news to us the African people is that this revolution has come at the most appropriate time. Fortunately, the African Union has recently declared a decade for women empowerment. At the same time, the AU itself is currently lead by Dr Dlamini-Zuma, a proud African woman whose African pride is reflected in her love for the traditional African fashion.

There are also many respectable women lead ers in the likes of Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia. It is my appeal to these noble women of Africa to directly get involved and lead the revolution, so that we can together liberate the minds of every African woman especially the youth, to be proud of their natural beauty, and to portray the African fashion that reflects African norms and values. Now is the right time for African women to free themselves and start their journey to healthy natural hair. This will enable us create a positive image about African identity to the outside world, to visit Africa, experience our values and appreciate our beautiful continent.

The Project Pan-Africa (PPA) will be willing to cooperate with all the stakeholders, in this regard.

Long live the natural African woman!

Long live the Pan-African Revolution! Long live mother Africa!!

Honourable Saka The writer is a political analyst on African affairs, and a well-known social commentator in Africa. As a strong Pan-Africanist, he is currently seeking to establish the "Project Pan-Africa" (PPA) to create a mental revolution across Africa for the freedom of Africa. He is the editor of “The Doctor’s Report”, your most reliable source of critical analysis on African issues. Please visit his blog at: http://www.honourablesaka.blogspot.co.uk and Email him at: honourablesaka@yahoo.co.uk. Also visit PPA at: www.projectpanafrica.org

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