Chinemerem is a member of my Facebook Page Natural Hair Community and I asked her to write an article for me on her natural journey. First Chinemerem’s beauty struck me from her profile picture, then I felt honored that someone from the Motherland was interested in what I had to say about Natural Hair Care and in discussions about Black History Month, when talked about slavery and she talked about tribalism and I wanted to know more. I hope you enjoy her article as much as I did!!
Hi, my name is Chinemerem Egbukichi. I’m from the eastern part of Nigeria. Nigeria is a country in West Africa, it has many different tribes and languages, but our lingua franca is English. The major tribes in Nigeria are the Ibo’s in the southeast, (that’s where I’m from), the Yoruba’s in the southwest (that’s where I live and grew up) and the Hausa’s in the north.
I want you to know a bit of where I come from to understand what I’m going to be writing about. The Hausa’s and Yoruba’s don’t like the Ibo’s and that was proved during the BIAFRAN civil war in the 60’s, it started because Hausa’s where killing Ibo people in the north. The Ibo’s are strong willed by nature and are believed to have been descendants of the Jews; we are business minded, educated and ready to work for our keep. The Hausa’s are mostly uneducated, but are the ones the colonial masters gave power to when leaving, even though they were an uneducated minority, till today. The Yoruba’s on the other hand are learned, influential and opportune people.
Believe it or not, Nigeria is just like the western world, the way we dress, speak, what we eat, listen to, places we shop at and go to etc. In Nigeria, it’s not unusual seeing people with natural hair but they have categories, like; children, Christians (because their churches preach against relaxed hair) and people that just want natural hair. But I’ll say majority of Nigeria’s have chemically treated hair (relaxed hair), a lot of us braid or have weave-o.ns
Back to the categories; I’ll write only about the children…..some parents don’t want to relax their children’s hair till they’re of age, I fall into that category. I had natural hair growing up, till I turned 18 and was graduating from secondary school (high school in USA). In my house then you only relax your hair when you’ve graduated from secondary school and that’s what I did, but it didn’t last long.
I was curious to see my hair short, so I cut it when I was 20 by then I was in my first year in
the university, it was awful, people kept asking if I had lost anyone, both those I know and don’t. In my country it’s not proper for a young lady to be low cut/clean shaven, unless she has lost a parent.
I was undecided about what to do with my hair and I relaxed again to get length to fix weave-on for my sister’s wedding. It was alright for awhile but I didn’t like how my jet black hair was turning brown, always breaking, harder to relax and all, so in my final year at the university at the age of 25, I cut it again.
This time I knew what I wanted, to leave it natural. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s a journey I don’t mind taking, presently I’m on my 8 month since I clean shaved my hair. I presently have a weave-on, to afford touching my hair too much and my hair has reached that length where it’s not really a TWA and neither is it a normal afro. I haven’t measured the length of my hair but it should be about four inches. People ask me why I cut my hair and all, I tell them I want to grow natural hair…..I don’t think they understand, but they don’t ask any further questions, just agree with my answer.
Natural hair worldwide isn’t seen as beautiful, but it must be well combed if not you’re classified as rough, dirty….in the USA, they do finger combing, it won’t work here, if it’s not a comb you used, your hair is uncombed.