News / Africa

Back to Their Roots: Afro's Popularity Grows in Senegal's Capital

Teclaire Wilson of Dakar proudly displays an increasingly popular natural hair style in Senegal (VOA/Ricci Shryock)Teclaire Wilson of Dakar proudly displays an increasingly popular natural hair style in Senegal (VOA/Ricci Shryock)
x
Teclaire Wilson of Dakar proudly displays an increasingly popular natural hair style in Senegal (VOA/Ricci Shryock)
Teclaire Wilson of Dakar proudly displays an increasingly popular natural hair style in Senegal (VOA/Ricci Shryock)
Ricci Shryock
It's the first Afro Dakar meeting of the year, and a couple of dozen women have gathered next door to a hair salon in Senegal’s capital.

These business entrepreneurs, Internet bloggers and feminists are members of a club called N'happy Galsen, a group of women who encourage and celebrate natural hair styles, especially the Afro.
 
One of the meeting's organizers, Agnus Diof, said their group name is a play on the traditional word ‘nappy’ – a word that means tightly curled and can sometimes be racially offensive – and gives it a positive meaning.
 
“It's natural and happy,”  said Diouf. “It's the mix of the two. It's to say that natural hair's not a disaster.”
 
Natural hair is not a disaster

Teclaire Wilson runs an online vintage clothing store and is a 'N'happy' member.  She said the movement is growing in Dakar, but it is still hard to find salons in the city that can style natural hair.
 
That's why these Afro Dakar meetings, – where they discuss the care and treatment of natural hair – are important.
 
“We have to have solidarity, especially here in Senegal, (where) the movement is new,” Wilson said.
 
The women talk about thre proper care of frizzy hair and "to know how to take care of it, and to not get discouraged.” Wilson said a lot of women who started to grow their hair frizzy decided to go back to straight hair because they didn't know how to take care of it.”
 
'I liked that Maguette...'

A self-described 'feminist,' Maguette Gueye said she sees a link between a woman's pride and wearing natural hair. When she stopped straightening her hair and let it grow naturally.
 
“I saw another 'me,' another Maguette," she said. I discovered another Maguette, and I liked that Maguette, and I let my natural hair grow.”
 
Marie Grace Agboton doles out advice on her blog, “The Simple Life of MG,”
to the growing number of women choosing to wear their hair naturally. She also gives product advice that helps new N'happys learn how to style their hair.
 
“It is becoming a return of honor to the African woman,” said Agboton. “There are some who are saying, 'We are no longer obligated to have smooth hair to feel beautiful. We can have our hair, and walk proudly down the street.'”
 
At “Les Hairoines” in Dakar's Point E neighborhood, salesperson Fatou Ndeye said their products are selling quicker as more people turn to natural hair styles.
 
While straightened hair is still the most common way to wear women's hair in Senegal, women like Agboton hope that with a little encouragement and advice, more women will choose to go natural.

Listen to Dakar women talk about the Afro
Listen to Dakar women talk about the Afroi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More