Protective Style Challenge: Week 38; Ifikuti


This month I thought I’d do something a little bit different. 24th October is Zambia’s Independence Day and ZedHair has decided to commemorate the occasion by dedicating the whole month to illustrating how our fore bearers indigenous knowledge can be used in hair care today. We will be talking about ingredients and methods that have been used for centuries and are still applicable to us today. We’ll have posts on indigenous knowledge but also plan a workshop at the end of the month that will focus on using indigenous knowledge and ingredients to build a healthy hair care regimen.

As part of this commemoration I will use my challenge to show four hairstyles that are undeniably Zambian.


This week I am wearing ifikuti. I wore ifikuti once last year and thought it would be fun to do it again.


Ifikuti, which are essentially braids that are tucked into themselves to form a sort of little bun, tend to be worn at bed time. You see, we’ve always known that our hair needs to be kept stretched or it will tangle, so girls and women with natural hair plait ifikuti before bedtime. Ifikuti aid manageability by reducing knots and tangles that can occur if you sleep with hair in an afro state.

In all honesty most women wouldn’t be seen dead with ifikuti during the day. It’s sort of the way some people feel about Bantu knots. They are not really considered a style in and off themselves. I’ve already worn Bantu knots during this challenge but it’s still difficult to feel confident up and about in my ifikuti.

Part of my inspiration to try this style is my personal woman crush Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi who looked so elegant in them.

Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi

Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi

I decided clean lines would work best so used a small toothed comb with metal attachment to make my partings. I made a sort of hexagonal shape with five sections around the head and a section in the middle.


Ifikuti are usually plaited tight from the bottom to ensure maximum stretch but I decided to start plaiting about a third of the way up the chikuti (singular) so that I had very loose look.

The front had to be a little more interesting so instead of tucking the braid all the way in I left some of it visible.



4 responses to “Protective Style Challenge: Week 38; Ifikuti

  1. Pingback: Protective Style Challenge: Week 39; Mukule Updo | ZedHair·

  2. Pingback: Protective Style Challenge; Week 40: Cotton | ZedHair·

  3. Pingback: Protective Style Challenge: Week 43; Hats | ZedHair·

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