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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs