Protective Style Challenge: Week 39; Mukule Updo


This week I’m continuing with the theme of indigenous Zambian hairstyles. This up-do is based around cornrows or mukule in Bemba, a Zambian language. Mukule is the school girls choice of hairstyle and now only commonly worn by older more sophisticated women if extensions are included.

I’ve actually incorporated mukule in a couple of my previous hairstyles this year.


I’ve been putting off doing this particular hairstyle since I spotted it on Mekony’s Instagram account. I loved it but was not at all confident in my ability to recreate the look. I’m quite proud of how it turned out because I’m not the most dextrous person and just these three mukule took me almost an hour from making the parting to completing and ensuring each mukule looked nice and neat.

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I sectioned my hair into 5 parts. I was very particular about getting clean lines.

The biggest section was for the mukule at the back. I parted my hair from just behind either ear to my crown and set it aside with an alligator clip.


I then started work on the two smaller sections. The partings for each of these sections starts at my temples. The section on the left starts wider at the edge of my hairline and reduces in size before it stops at the crown. I also set this section aside with an alligator clip.

The section on the right starts out smaller and widens as it gets to the centre.

The front or top is mostly made up of chunky two stands twists but there is a tiny mukule right at the front. I made a small section about an inch wide across the front just above my forehead.

I only started to braid once I was happy that each section was just the right size. I started with braiding the back section upward and instead of completing the mukule all the way to the tip I decided to two strand the end so that it created more volume for the top of the up do.

I braided the left side from the crown outwards and again two strand twisted the end.


The right side was braided from the edge to the crown ending again in a two strand twist.


I made a tiny mukule in the front section and two stranded twisted the end. I finished off the top section by creating two chunky loose two strand twists.


I completed the styling by pinning the hair into shape. Its really hard to say exactly how I pinned the hair up. I always say just pin according to what you like the hair to look like; big, tight, raised straight up like a 90’s table cut or slightly skewed to the side. Play around with the twists and pins in the mirror until you have a look that you are comfortable with.


There you have it! A simple up-do created with mukule.



3 responses to “Protective Style Challenge: Week 39; Mukule Updo

  1. Pingback: Zambian Mukule Hairstyles | African Hairstyles Creations·

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