In most African cultures, hair is associated with social status, religion, authority, and a person’s tribal background. For many, African hair is art.
When Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o, wore amasunzu, a traditional Rwandan hairstyle to the Oscars this past weekend, the world was in awe. But the amasunzu is just one of many artistic traditional African hairstyles making a come back. Check out the top 5 on the rise below.
Hair pulled into crescent shapes with sharps lines.
Amasunzu was traditionally worn by Rwandan men and unmarried women until only about 100 years ago. The style indicated social status and signalled the age for marriage.
Hair gathered in portions and wound around itself.
“Bantu” means people and is a blanket term used to describe the 300 to 600 ethnic groups within southern Africa. Bantu knots also are known as Zulu knots because the Zulu people, a Bantu ethnic group, were the first to wear the styles.
A smooth black thread is wrapped around parted hair from above the roots to the ends.
Hair threading has always been an integral part of African beauty, especially in West Africa. It is both a fashionable and protective and has been worn for ages.
Hair is parted in the middle and side, and braided in cornrows. It is then adorned with colorful beads and cowries.
The Fulani are a primarily Muslim, traditionally pastoral ethnic group in Africa that’s scattered throughout West Africa and parts of East Africa. A Fulani bride’s hair is especially colorful and deliberately adorned.
Hair is gathered into a top knot and stretched into sections with a tie.
The conical hairstyles of the 19th century Zulu women have now evolved into the intricate headdress now won by many South Africans.