The Kenyan Girl Child, Eventually Blossoms into a Gorgeous Woman.
For a long time, we as black people have allowed ourselves to be dictated to how we should look. We have been bombarded by the media with images of skinny light complexioned black women with long flowing hair and perfect little noses, and have been made to believe that that is how we should look if we want to be viewed as beautiful. It even went as far as black women missing out on job opportunities if they wore their hair natural, and let us not forget the ridicule one endured if they dared to wear their hair in its natural kinky glory. We have been programmed to believe that our natural features are unattractive and unacceptable. That includes our skin colour and our hair.I have to admit, that the debate lingered in my mind for a while, and this is what I came up with.
Borrowing from other cultures has never been trendier but rather more of a taboo. From afros to cornrows, henna to headdresses, cultural appropriation is a trending topic on the tips of tongues everywhere. The countless call-outs, egregious offenses, and heated debates swirling on social media ignites an important dialogue within Africa Itself. Where does cultural appropriation end and cultural appreciation begin?
The reason I tend to love the African afro is because, I think it expresses exactly who I am, where I come from, and the people who have paved the way for me. I’m superhuge on expression and individuality. I found it very difficult to be myself because I was comparing myself to others who had straight hair, and all the headaches of keeping it straight flying by the wind. There are a lot of stereotypes and misconceptions about black people and black hair. We shouldn’t have to question wearing our natural hair to a job interview; I wish people just understood how strong and beautiful it is. I think cultural appreciation is about understanding that you can’t just take aesthetic properties from a culture.
When am looking at African at large my eyes tend to be more focused on the little ones. The innocence in their eyes bring out the African beauty without holding back. They have no fear of rejections neither do they hold any perception on beauty. From the tender ages of twos and threes and fours..Years that is. This is that awkward stage where she is neither long nor short and she kind of wants to do her own thing, but doesn’t quite get it right. Your love for her is overwhelming and you can’t bring yourself to part with her. She throws tantrums and pretty much does whatever she wants and knows that mum will still hug and kiss her no matter how naughty she has been. You experiment with her a lot at this stage, trying to figure out what will make her outstanding at the wedding party till you discover that she likes stay natural.
As she gets taller and fuller, she starts acting like a typical teenager. She thinks she has everything figured out. Styles never seem to come out like you thought they would, she becomes completely unpredictable. She frustrates you, but you still love her dearly, you wear the botched twist out or braid out in a puff or hide it under a scarf, away from sight, until the beauty in her cools you down. Bye her late teens, she has curves in all the right places and even the boys begin to notice her and other mums look at her with envy and admiration wishing she belonged to them. She can curl, coil, wave, and even dance in the wind with ease. She is beautiful and she knows it. She has her moments of rebellion but dealing with her is a whole lot easier now. She still needs to be protected and she realizes that mum knows best. Her behavior is a little more predictable at this point. Mother-daughter relationship has evolved a lot, and you understand each other better.
Eventually she blossoms into a beautiful woman, even you never knew she would turn out this amazing. She is tall, confident and voluptuous and everyone wants to touch her. She knows how to act and is mostly predictable. She can come out and party like a rock star and can also be as shy as a violet. She still throws tantrums once in a while, but all she needs is a little love and attention. She is now mature and settled. She can lie down if you want her to or stand up in confidence, the choice is yours mama!
She finally appreciate the African dress, which in turn plays an important role as an expression of identity. Dressing is politically significant in its role as indicator of group identity and as a medium for developing and strengthening ethnic, religious, or political cohesion and solidarity, more so in expression of inner beauty. African clothing has distinctively colored fabrics and design patterns that are of cultural significance. Different colors can signify status, moods, fertility, vitality, spirituality, ceremonies. It is important to note that the African beauty defines prosperity and prominence, while upholding dignity, sobriety and contemplativeness. Let’s all embrace the Kenyan beauty in the Girl child….