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'It saddens me that these 13 year olds from Pretoria Girls High are put in a position where they have to be bold, to be fighters. These are children, and as much as it is right to applaud them for their courage, we need to take a stand to change the society in which we live, so that the right to wear your natural hair is not something that anyone has to fight for, much less a child'

The BET Awards took place just over a week ago, and of course there were so many highlights, from Jesse Williams epic acceptance speech, to Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar’s splahing performance- it was all trending! However, what went down as far as fashion statements on the red carpet was also noteworthy, most notable being that of the ever gorgeous Nandi Mngoma. She made her red carpet appearance in a gorgeous black and white asymmetrical gown, very clearly inspired by tradition Xhosa attire. She was all over international social media as ‘the mystery celeb’ who stole the spotlight on the red carpet. Many wondered who she was, the beauty who ‘slayed’ the BETs with her gorgeous short natural hair.

Recently there have been a series of trending posts on ‘Black Twitter’ called #BlackSalonProblems, depicting all the little experiences that only a black girl, with black girl hair, would understand. Everything from that awkward moment when you asked for a trim and instead got a cut, to feeling like you have been forgotten under the dryer, and the hilarious gifs to go along with them. While it is all fun and games, there is one black hair problem which is no joke- and that is chemical relaxers.

Miriam Makeba is undoubtedly one of the continent’s most famous and prized exports. Though it was through her music that she first went to the UK, and eventually settled in the US, it was her very verbal stance against the injustice of the Apartheid regime, as well as her unapologetic refusal to assimilate into Western fashions of straightening the hair, wearing cosmetic make up, and the latest trends of the 50s and 60s, that ultimately saw her lauded as ‘Mama Africa’. She represented black femininity in a way that had scarcely been seen before; she exuded African female sensuality that was not presented as ‘the hypersexed black Venus’ as had been propagated for centuries in the West.

Last week Thursday 5 May, I made my way to Urban Zulu Natural Beauty Hair Salon in CBD to get my hair done. Yes, it was with a little trepidation and my nerves on edge, can you blame me? The last time I was at a hair salon was 7 years ago, just after having gone natural, and it was in hindsight that I realized how uninformed so many black hair salons actually are about natural afro textured hair; and how they contribute to the masses of black women who opt for straightening their hair, or putting in weave extensions because they feel like they have no other options- but that is a conversation for another time.