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Friday,August 07,2020 19:22 PM

Dreads find their way into offices

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th September 2005 03:00 AM

Dreadlocks are no longer seen as divine gifts or as the exclusive preserve of Rastafarians, but as a way to make that sassy fashion statement.

Dreadlocks are no longer seen as divine gifts or as the exclusive preserve of Rastafarians, but as a way to make that sassy fashion statement.

By Titus Serunjogi
Dreadlocks are no longer seen as divine gifts or as the exclusive preserve of Rastafarians, but as a way to make that sassy fashion statement.
Men, women and children from all walks of life have passionately embraced this extraordinarily hot hair trend. And the fad has continued to sizzle from catwalks to streets all over the city.
But one wonders whether dreadlocks are actually a style or a statement, now that urban working class women wear them to office.
One wonders what is behind the popularity of the dreads? A quick look around town shows that the most popular hairstyles nowadays are small tight twists.
Dr. Sylvia Tamale, an outspoken law don, has often been seen with ‘ropes’ that fall down her nape. So has Athena Mbabazi, a popular gospel artiste, who says, “I get my hair done into dreadlocks whenever I need a break from all the relaxers.”
However, the ‘rope’ craze goes much deeper than maintaining healthy hair and cutting a fashion trend. Some people wear dreadlocks just to boost their self worth.
It seems the wild tresses show that the person respects and identifies with all other aspects of African culture.
In Ethiopia, children who develop knotty locks as their first type of hair are thought to be blessed with divine gifts that eventually manifest themselves as they grow.
Indeed, for many people, dreadlocks have intense meanings that reach into physical, mental and spiritual realms. People originally grew the locks out of a need for self-love and affirmation. For many urban working women, hair is a symbol of past experiences. Other women have grown deadlocks as a spiritual repose or as a remnant of some family history. Why else would Rastafarians claim that their hair grows from the heart and thus they cannot trim it?
“I’m not ashamed to be natural,” says Winston Mayanja who says he hasn’t trimmed or combed his hair for the 10 years.
“Besides, relaxers, gels, pomades and straighteners aren’t part of our African heritage.” Seeing Mayanja, you’ll be awed by the awfully long and loose tresses that fall to his waist.
The Rastafarians’ quick way to grow dreadlocks is to let the hair grow unheeded for several years. Since African hair is naturally curly, it twists, knots and locks itself over time.
Rastafarians only apply palm juice to their hair and never any pomade, gel or conditioners. The crossover appeal of dreadlocks into office is often an attempt for women to embrace what they think is cool and convenient.
Olivia Lukwiya of Sheraton Hotel also says the locks are very convenient.
Lukwiya says all she does when she wakes up is to shower and put a little make-up before going to office. She doesn’t have to spend a lot of time before the mirror working her hair. “I’m not ashamed to be natural.”
The movement towards natural hairstyles may also be caused by the new sense freedom among Ugandan women.
However ‘naturals’ have led to problems within the urban community. Parents fear for their children that employers will link natural hair to Rastafarian or rascal behaviour. Many parents encourage their daughters to wear the nominal relaxed hair if they are to be respected.
Jean Bageire begun ‘locking up’ three years ago, while still a public relations officer for Kampala Casino. And she immediately got a negative response from her mother.
“She thought they were braids that were poorly-done or just unkempt. And she kept asking me when I would take them out. But my going natural was more for myself than for anyone else,” Bageire says.
Bageire is now admired by many of her women friends for her dreadlocks. She does not always have to watch out for new-growth in her hair.
And she is free from all the hustle with pomades, conditioners and relaxers or losing her night’s sleep for fear of spoiling her hair.
Ruth Kibirige, a beautician and principal of Tina International School of Beauty, says you can make sassy dreadlocks by applying molding wax to your hair.
“First wash the hair with a mild shampoo and add conditioner to uncoil the strands. Blow-dry the hair before applying wax and then dry it to let the wax settle and the locks to harden. Afterward that, you can wash it without unlocking them,” says Kibirige.
Eunice Karugonjo, the marketing manager of Simba Telecom, associates her shoulder-length dreadlocks with the beauty of the African woman.
“Why shouldn’t I be proud of my dreadlocks,” she says, running her fingers through the locks she now wears in a ponytail.
“There are so many women who feel frustrated because their hair won’t grow or with bad-hair-days.”
Karugonjo washes her dreads with shampoo once a week. Then she smears them with beeswax and twists them into coils for about two hours. Sometimes, she sits under a drier, where the wax melts and hardens.
“Clean hair will lock up faster than dirty or oily one,” says Kibirige.
“Besides, if you don’t wash your hair at all, it will stink and embarrass you,” she adds.
Any savvy shopper can easily locate dreadlocks care items such as wax, shampoo, Rastafarian woollen caps and beads in all shopping malls uptown.
To add any tint to your dreadlocks, you would have to first let the mould settle in for next two weeks. Then, you can wash the hair, sit under a drier to let it dry and later apply the tint.
However, tinted dreadlocks look fabulous on people who are into the show business.
And they are more convenient too, as they only need to be redone once in two and a half months.
These days no one worries about how people will look at them wearing dreadlocks.
After all, they do not look weird when worn with the office dress code.
Ends

Dreads find their way into offices

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