Growing and maintaining natural hair nowadays seems to be the new type of ‘swagg’ mostly among ladies who opt not to use other chemicals to give their hair some refreshing touch.
Well, of course, we can say some men, too, prefer to grow their beards and hair the natural way either for the love of the natural touch or simply just for the fun of it.
But, perhaps, the element we fail to see in growing our natural hair is how we take care of it hence it is important that we learn and understand comprehensively on what we can do about it.
For natural hair enthusiasts, then it is easy to learn through attending Natural Hair Conventions, strictly organised to teach people how to take care of their natural hair.
The conventions, which started in 2017, aim at giving viability to natural hair and, also, to go against the myth that ‘African hair doesn’t grow’, according to one of the organisers, Wongile Mbano.
Mbano explains that it is possible for a person of African descent to grow their natural hair long hence they hold these; conventions to teach people how to do so.
Says Mbano: “We welcome absolutely anyone—people interested in going natural and both people who are newly natural and veterans. We’re also looking forward to having people with locs attending, and this event is just as open to men as it is to women, because we have come across men who are also interested in growing their hair and beards.”
Mbano says since the inception of the convention, they have been fortunate to get a good turnout, both in Zomba, where they began holding the annual event in 2017, and also, in Lilongwe last year.
She says the turnout has been getting better with each event and there are many people who are taking the step to go natural, and are hungry for knowledge.
The next hair convention is taking place today at Baobab Backpackers Lodge at Sunnyside in Blantyre, where attendees will discuss issues pertaining to natural hair, apart from buying products that are perfect for taking care of natural hair.
Apart from attendees learning how to care for their hair, vendors, on the other hand, are also given a spotlight to market their products (such as natural oils, butters, shampoos and conditioners).
In turn, they end up having ready customers to buy their products at these events, once they have learnt how to use them effectively.
On the impact of such gatherings, Mbano says they hope that they empower people to first and foremost embrace the beauty and versality of their natural hair, that they have the freedom to wear their hair the way they want to without feeling judged or confided by conventional standards of beauty which have told us for years that “only straight, smooth hair is beautiful”.
One of the attendees from a previous event held in Zomba, Alicia Lamba, says through such an initiative, she has learnt a lot about natural hair.
“It has had a good impact on us natural hair enthusiasts because through these events we get to learn the do’s and don’ts when it comes to looking after natural hair and what products to use; it’s a great learning experience,” she says.
Moving forward, Mbano says they will move to Zomba again, having held the event there before and that it will be the end of it for this year.
She says: “We would like to hold annual events as time goes. We have been so fortunate to have sponsors at every event that we have held. In Zomba, we were sponsored by having a free venue at Pakachere Backpackers Lodge in 2017 and Mai Pai Treats in 2018.
“For our first Lilongwe event in 2018, we received monetary support from Central Health Medical Aid. We are so grateful to our sponsors.”