Feb 13, 2018, 1:50:50 PM Opinion

I once read the bluest eye by Toni Morrison and sadly I could relate, however not really about wishing I had the bluest eyes but rather the idea of having long sleek wavy hair. I was that black girl in the corner, wishing my hair could graze my neck, dance with the wind but in reality it was the opposite, a wrinkled ball of abrasive curls. Ridiculously difficult to comb, with countless trips to the salon, for that much awaited perm. However as I grew older I felt content straightening it with creamers and with maturity I discovered the art of weaving.

Hence growing up I rarely grew an Afro and I’m yet to tread the natural route however yesterday I met a beautiful African girl; Au natural. In the days of scientificial cosmetics she reminded me of what natural beauty truly is in the era of the Kardashians, Khanyi Mbau and mshoza. She exemplified the ideal poster girl child in her natural self; she’s a reminder of our authenticity and untainted beauty that should resonate with each of us universally.

She had her lengthy dark black Afro neatly tied in a bun, with long dark black lush eyebrows and her smooth skin hardly had any traces of cosmetics. In her late twenties she’s a vision of beauty we fail to see more so in media publications. When I saw her I wished my daughter and black girls everywhere could see her, so that they may be reminded of the beauty that lies within them, and more so the depiction of natural black beauty in its authentic self.

Sadly, we have ourselves gullible girls who wish and hope to live up to a facade of aesthetics glorified by social media, that are merely distorted masks of misrepresentations that are detrimentally misleading. Leaving our girls to a world of depression and suicidal tendencies all brought forth by a wave of falsified euphoria.

My butterflies there may be a breed of girls layered in cosmetics, scientifically enhanced and milking it on the social media platform but you yourselves in your Afros, gappy teeth and curves are gorgeous.

What is in the Afro? Our Afro, is who we are in our bubble of blackness, it’s representative of our ancestry. As a result I have failed to see the beauty in that representation and I hide my head in shame, though I’m utterly shameless as it doesn’t make me any less the person I truly am. It’s just that, I never took the opportunity to face my flip side, the side that’s over the years been hidden as I have immersed myself in the pages of our western culture forgetting who I truly am.

Afro, reminded me that there’s another side of me that, I’ve over the years buried and unfortunately it wasn’t intentional. You see, the thing is we chase success trying to excel is all things western that we forget who we truly are. My roots, my Africanism, the girl that transcended the journey to my womanhood that’s the ‘I’ within. I realized this when I battled to converse with Afro in our home language, and when I recalled how I haven’t been to my grans rural village in years. In that moment of reality, I was engulfed in a wave of disappointment and shame at the thought that even my daughter fails to converse in my home language, that she and I when we together our verbal stories are communicated in Shakespearean.

In that Afro I was reminded of who I am and what my story is but most importantly I was left contemplating that journey in my life story. It wasn’t just an Afro but a telescope to that self within, as a result I admired her and salute her for her authenticity, originality and with that, not conforming to societal idealism of what the ideal picture of beauty should be.

To a girl child out there, I say to you embrace your humanity, that aura of authenticity, bask in it because there’s an extreme measure of beauty and serenity in that individuality. That in your natural beauty never to lose sight of the Afro within.

My hair is chemically treated but my Afro is who I truly am within and I intend to start celebrating that girl. I intend to start conversing with my daughter in her maternal language as it’s never too late to start. I intend to take that long awaited journey to my grans village away from the city scrapers, data revolution and technology. That’s it really, reminding self of the blackness within and in truth, it’s about time, I start embracing her with all honesty and verity. In the words of Alicia Keys, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth, nothing.”

Published by Murunwa Netshisaulu

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