Heru di strika kabei

In the 20th century many people saw the straightening of hair as a necessity to make it in society. Your hairstyle could influence your social status. Mothers spent hours relaxing their daughters’ hair. Paticipant Chila shared some childhood experiences.

“As a kid they used this to straighten my hair. I would sit in the kitchen next to the stove. You turn on the stove and put the iron on it. Every time you put the iron on the stove, it heats up, then you divide the hair and run the iron through it. Your hair will become very sleek. When you are ready don’t let your hair get wet because the straightening will go. You should use the flat iron when your hair is clean, if your hair is dirty your hair will smell bad, they say it smells like animal horns.”

“When my father found out I straightened my hair he got sad and angry. He said I denied his fatherhood by changing the structure of my hair. After that I never straightened my hair again.”

“They say it smells like animal horns.”