“Hai kyk hoe lyk jou hare. It nogal suits you” – said everyone in my life every time they saw me with my new look. Why would it not suit me though?
Why would the hair I was born with not suit me? Sieke because for 26 years of my life my mother and I and everyone who wanted to help -or got paid to help- tried to change it. With good reason, they tried to help me fit in. Not be bullied. Help me be better and get better opportunities.
How, do you ask, does hair change all that?
Easy, when you’re “kallit” you grow up doing everything you can to be accepted. You choose where you want to be accepted. If you choose wrong, you end up with the rear-end of society in general (die gat kant vani bies).
It’s called Culture Assimilation. Our people went through the pencil test (the apartheid regime’s way of deciding who is accepted as white and who really should just remain classified as non-white). After this little significant exercise, people either rebelled or did everything in their power to show white people of that time that we can look, sound and act just like them. Talk about peer pressure.
So then, if you’re like me, you were put through early morning Saturday hairdresser appointments with Good Hope or Heart FM (previously called P4) blasting the Top 40 countdown from every speaker in the room. By the way, if you only arrived when the Top 40 was on, then you were going to be there all day.
Naturally, my mother wanted to be out of the salon before 9am so we can get to Checkers before the masses woke up. She got so much joy from leaving the hairdresser first.
And I was chuffed, we were chuffed. My hare het geskud uit die kopvel uit. And if you didn’t need a relaxer to make your hair blow with just a swing of a door, then meisie you got it! The perfect hairdresser and styl hare (girlfriend your white heritage came through for you)!
Of course, for some of us, to get the result explained above, you needed to get a relaxer every 3 months. Dark & Lovely was the one; get it from Clicks in isle 7 (I knew this by the time I was 5). When you go to the salon though, they use the green pot Soft ‘n Free -the good salon expert stuff *wink wink*.
The effects -negative and positive- the relaxers had on our scalps is something to be discussed at a later stage.
The more lightweight and white-like your hair was, the better your chance to get a good man, a good job and great opportunities. Because your hair made you, it was and still is, what defines you, at least that’s how we were inadvertently taught. Styl hare is presentable, rich, professional, socially accepted and your card to debate how you are 86% white (al is jou vel so donker soes a 75% dark chocolate)
Kroes on the other hand is disgusting, poor, unprofessional, uneducated and the wearer of it is probably high on some kind of drug.
However, there is a movement that seeks to change the way our people are defined. A sub movement that seeks to change the way our beauty is defined.
My daughter will not conform, I will not conform.
Embrace your heritage, embrace your natural hair.
My Kaaps Glossary:
Sieke – probably
Kallit – also written Coloured (a person of mixed descent) also debatable
Styl hare – Silky soft hair, think blonde bombshell in all of the hair ads
Meisie – Girlfriend
Kroes – refers to natural hair think Macy Grey and Jill Scott