So, what does an angry black girl of 25 years of age do? She decides to grow dreadlocks.
Not so amazing you might say. But, for a conservative preacher’s daughter like me, it was a very big deal. My father’s comment was that “No daughter of mine will ever have dreadlocks!” I said , “Dad, you’ll get over it”. And he did.
He and many other people had in their minds the shaggy dread head look of Bob Marley or our local musicians. In 2011, many people forget that back in 2004, there was still a lot of stigma about dreadlocks. They were banned in many offices and you would never see them on TV (unless that person was a celebrity) and definitely not in church or the local supermarket.
|The parents were relieved that I didn’t look half bad|
During the intervening years, much has changed. Dreads have become ubiquitous. Whereas, when I started, you could only go to Joe Dreadlocks or Nyambe in Kabwata market to have your locs done, now you find a loctician in almost every market, and sometimes more than one exclusive locs hair salon. Even more telling is that although Lusaka and Kabwata in particular remains the centre, loctcians have spread right across the country. There is no longer any need to travel all the way to Lusaka as I did during the two years I lived in Chipata, the capital of Eastern Province (on the border with Malawi).
This may come as a suprpirse to people who are not from Southern Africa. During my travels to west Africa especially, people would come up to me in the street and ask to touch my hair or inquire about how I manage to sport dreads in an office setting. To anybody who comes from Zambia and any country going south, this is just a weird question. Our comrades in South Africa and Zimbabwe have been rocking their dreads for years and Zambians have only just caught up.
Nowadays, newsreaders, pastors, teachers, doctors and CEOs wear dreadlocks. They are everywhere. Step out of your gate and you will see someone within an hour. And, me being me, therein lay my problem. My hair had been locked for five years and not only was I getting bored with it, but I also felt that I was no longer making a statement with my hair. I am not sure why I felt (or feel) the need to do this, but somehow I do. I knew I could never relax my hair again, so I was in a bit of a fix as they say.