How to join Nairobi dreadlocks movement

In Summary

• There’s a lot more people with locs now.

Dreadlocks are becoming more popular.
Dreadlocks are becoming more popular.
Image: FILE

I’m sure you’ve noticed it too, a lot more loc’d heads are popping up around Nairobi. A hairstyle that was once associated with mainly bhang addicts and mungiki, is now not only the prerogative of every so-called “creative”, but also business executives and many white-collar professionals who aresporting this look too.

The reasons for this sudden locs boom are many. Perhaps the increase in pro-black and pro-roots culture currently permeating in America is the main reason, as whatever goes on in the West eventually finds itself in these parts. I mean, who can blame us, we have a few good things from them.Moreover,there is no refuting that dreadlocks have been a part of African culture from time immemorial.

Another reason may be the natural hair movement. It began with women in Nairobi trading off their permed tresses with kinky, coily manes in all their natural glory. For those of us with more steel wool-like textures, myself included, who just could not make their hair emulate that of the natural hair instagrammers and you tubers, opted for locing up our hair.

Others saw the locs journey as a deeper expression of their true self.

Whatever the case is, there’s a lot more people with locs now, which naturally makes me feel the need to impart advice on dreadlocks for those newbies out there or those thinking of joining this select group of individuals. Before I start, I think it is only fair to put a disclaimer on my authority on this subject. I was a 4-year locs veteran…if you have had yours longer, feel free to read on and nod your head in agreement or reminisce on your locs’ younger days.

If you are in this for the long run, get ready for them to become an investment, an extension of you. This will not just be your perspective, but that of the people around you as well.

For starters, every matatu tout, hawker or for the ladies, a man trying to hit on you; will almost always call you Ras. It is best you accept this name as part of you the minute you decide you are getting locs. Don’t forget the variations too such as Rasta, or Rasta Baby—which so far, I’ve only heard in Malindi.

There is also the fact that assumptions will be made about you. Whatever someone may perceive of dreadlocks will have a great impact on any first impression. I’ve heard it all but the best one remains that people think loc’d women are unbothered by other people’s opinion, which in hindsight can be taken positively or negatively but I always chose to look at it positively.

Chopping them off will mean something, and you might not be so ready to let them go. I still have mine in one of my bedroom drawers, just in case I change my mind. Others put back the same set they had previously cut off, e.g. Joan Munyi of Yummymummy.

If you do manage the courage and strength to let go of them, your family and friends who had associated you with locs will not be. It is as if they were more attached to them than you were. In my experience, men have a harder time accepting their departure, which leads me to believe that maybe locs are a fetish, like bald-headed women or long-legged women or more recently—according to twitter so don’t judge me—big foreheads onwomen.

With all that in mind, should you still get loc’d up? Yes, A hundred times yes. Do it for the culture.