Hairstyles among Ghanaian women has been with us for centuries and hasn’t changed much over the years, with Ghana not being a leading light. The average Ghanaian woman loves fashion and styling their hair is one way of achieving this and so over the years we’ve seen many hairstyles come and go and here is a few down memory lane we wish to share with you.
Hair played a significant role in the culture of ancient African civilisations as it symbolised one’s family background, social status, spirituality, tribe, and marital status. As early as the 15th century, hair was the main disseminator among different tribes and within communities of marital status, age, wealth, and rank on the social hierarchy within a community or tribe. Members of royalty would often wear elaborate hairstyles as a symbol of their stature, and someone in mourning, usually women, would pay little attention to their hair during the period of grieving. Hair was seen as a symbol of fertility as thick, long tresses and neat, clean hair symbolised one’s ability to bear healthy children.
Teku Teku: At about the 1950’s came what they called the “Teku Teku” where women tied their hair in knotted sections.
Tekua: As far back as the 1800’s, Fanti women styled their hair with wooden supports making their hair stand in a special and unique way referred to as Tekua. Till date, they still do it during their festivals although it has gone through a lot of changes.
Afro (Center and Half Bow): The 1970’s saw the revolution of Afro-hair where Ghanaian women leave their hair untouched and later combed it till it stood up high and in order to make it more stylish, most of them patted the middle in what was termed centre or half-bow. It was locally known as”aboy”.
The 1990’s till date has seen a lot of hairstyles with people being creative with it, but so far we’ve seen the likes of corn roll, dreads, weaves etc. and it doesn’t seem like that’s all that’s left, we still have a lot to see.
The HeadScarf: Down the line when slavery was rife around the 1900’s, missionaries enforced that women do not leave their hair uncovered as it is against God’s command. This forced many Ghanaian women to use scarf wherever they go. After a while, scarfing became a fashion trend.
Perming and Jerry Curls: The 1980’s saw the invention of the stretching comb and chemicals used to soften the hair and this brought about a hairstyle known as “Akuko Jerri” where many Ghanaian women applied harsh chemicals to their hair curly and wavy. The stretching comb was also another tool that was used to straighten the hair of women and it was used by heating it in fire and using it to stretch the hair into a fine texture. The stretching hair could be traced way back to the 1800’s but was mainly used by the whites till it became en vogue in the 80’s in Ghana.
The Twist: The twist became fashionable in the 1960’s and it saw many women twisting their hair in all kind of styles as they pleased. Most women did it on their own or had a friend or family member do it for them.
So the question is why won’t African ladies and men just leave their natural hair alone without adding clicks, weaves, wigs, extensions, glue and others to their hairs. For some women, their natural hairs are kinky or coarse making it difficult to comb, others maintain they go for the extensions to make them look matured whiles others contend it’s a technique to allow their hair to breathe and grow whiles they put on the weaves.
Another school of thought is that wigs allow you to visit the saloon less hence reduce the level of harm you could be exposed to. For such people who hold this view, a wig is the equivalent of a cap, guys put on. Its simplicity allows them to wear it and head for work or attend other functions without a hustle.