I found the minister’s statements regarding black hair in schools disappointing.
“Minister, Angie Motshekga, says there was nothing controversial about the Pretoria Girls High School hair policy”- SAFM #AMLIVE
I found it sad that a leader could not unpack this highly political issue. Let me start by saying, this is not a petty hair issue, this is an issue of identity. I wonder if people are aware that black hair grows out into an afro naturally. We black people are not born with the hair which many women have weaved/wigged on their heads. There are many deeply racist reasons that black women have a history of straightening their hair.
We come from a past were being black and anything that came with the black experience was demonised. Especially us dark skinned sisters.
White people who have always, been in control of the media and all streams of information have set a benchmark of long straight hair being termed beauty. We have never been exposed to natural African attributes being termed as beautiful. We have even had to claim the beauty of our bodies with coming up with names like ‘bootylicious’ and ‘thick.’ These words did not just come about, they are the expression of the black girl saying ‘I am beautiful too.’
Our hair has been under attack for Centuries. We are the only race in the entire world that has hair like ours. It is what makes us unique. I do not see white people being ashamed of their hair, I do not see Indians being ashamed of their hair. So why should the black child be ashamed of their hair? Every day the white child gets out of bed and looks in the mirror and sees someone perfect, because the world has told the white child she is perfect. When the black child gets up every day, she looks in the mirror and has to straighten her hair and wish they were a little lighter skinned, because the world has told the black child that long, wavy hair and fair skin is beautiful.
Why is it that the white child can just wake up, tie their hair in a ponytail and go to school and they are fine, but the black child has to change their natural hair to suit school regulations? What are we teaching the black child?
Why is it, that we black people are always trying to fix ourselves to look white in a black dominated country? We understand if the schools are saying No Fancy Hairstyles at school, that is understandable, but our natural hair is not a fancy hairstyle and it is not our fault that our hair is unapologetically and wildly beautiful. Why would you want to rob the black child of their right to be black, and the right to feel beautiful in their own hair and skin?
Having straight hair is also perceived as being more sophisticated, it has even affected our ability to earn income. You are believed to be rich if you have a nice weave. The less African you look the richer you seem. Are these not stereotypes we ought to be breaking down?
If ANC was more pan africanist we would be in a better position because we would have leaders who know that EVERYTHING starts with self love and self belief. But unfortunately, we have apologist grown ups who listen to ‘Clever Whites’ and follow their narrative. If you are so concerned about seeing the blackboard are you going to put a height policy on all the tall pupils too?
We should not even be having this debate, this was a simple issue of setting the record straight:
Every black child has the right to be black…. leave the childrens’ hair alone.
And Madam minister…it IS controversial that a black child can’t adorn their natural hair in a black country.