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Afro craze in Botswana


Africa’s hair wars are far from over. A whole new generation of women is abandoning hair relaxers and straighteners for a natural kinky look. The Afro is definitely the style du jour, albeit with a twist.


Not only are women now only interested in growing their hair naturally, they are also learning about their African hair-a long overdue task, perhaps neglected for generations. Furthermore, they are going all out to embrace the curl in their kinks, finding ways to enhance them through styling and even shunning the comb. Twists, Bantu knots, crocheting are some of the ways Batswana women are using to define their kink.


Just in June this year, a “Hair Meet” was staged in Gaborone, and organizer, Kefilwe Loewen says about 100 people attended. According to Loewen, the turn up was very good. “Considering it was the first of its kind, and no one really knew what to expect I think it was really good.”


The show featured advices from key people from the hair and beauty industry, notably a trained hairdresser who presented on styling tips and products that are friendly for natural hair.


She revealed the presentations were mainly on, “Basics of hair – structure, and general makeup. This was important because most people only know relaxed hair, and once they move to natural hair they have no idea what to do because it is totally different in care and handling.”


“We also spoke about natural hair terms to know, blow drying techniques if one does blow-dry
and did Demos of how to do styles eg bantu knots, flat twists etc,” Loewen shared.


Loewen herself waves the banner for natural hair. She started a blog where she shared her natural hair journey and other tips on grooming natural hair. Furthermore, she started a Facebook page which so far has 2477 members. She went all natural in 2013. She has been experimenting with natural hair styles and twists and concedes she will never go back to relaxers.


African women have over time been under heavy scrutiny for their choice of hairstyles. African women who opt for relaxers, weaves or braids have been called un-African, women who wear dreadlocks or their natural hair have been praised for being connected to their African roots. However, opting for the natural look comes with its troubles.


African hair is versatile. A lot of African women’s texture is kinkier and consequently stubborn. In Botswana it’s popular for African hair to be referred to as “dikgobe”or “sekgwa”. Sekgwa means bush, ‘which derives from the bushy texture, dikgobe is a Setswana dish comprising beans and samp, or maize.


According to Loewen, a lot of women want to know how to make their natural hair softer and manageable or longer without using relaxers. “The main question I normally get is ‘How can I make my hair soft and manageable?” Of course there is no short and simple answer to this one because natural hair is so diverse,” Loewen said.

“Then follows, ‘How can I grow my hair fast?” And again, no fast answer, but what I do know is that natural hair grows amazingly beautiful, and it can become very long with proper care. From personal experience I’m always on the lookout for ways to keep my hair moisturized, which is a challenge for high porosity hair, and our dry climate doesn’t help. This is very important because dry hair breaks, and dry hair hurts, and dry hair doesn’t grow.”

The ubiquitous 70s trend has gained momentum in the last five years in the United States, although it has been present from way back as the 1960s. It has also gained track across the world, with natural hair advocates going all out to share information, tips and videos on social media with the rest of the world.


This however does not mean it’s all a smooth path for women returning to the natural hair look. Natural hair, locks included has overtime been considered unprofessional and unkept. A lot of women have opted for weaves or wigs to attain a more professional look, or to don a more acceptable look.

“Because of the general perception that natural hair is not beautiful, most people seeking to go the natural route don’t get cheerleaders, which is a very important aspect in this journey. Most people will tell me that they used to be natural, and then they reverted to relaxing,” Loewen said, adding that the natural hair group on Facebook, NHBots has been a support platform for women ready to give up on their natural hair.

“Some days you wake up and your hair is just not cooperating, so having other people telling you that hey, tomorrow will be better keeps one going for sure,” she said.


The greater challenge, according to many women who are not using chemicals for their hair is the lack of specialised hair dressers. Loewen further asserts that the access to products that are natural-hair friendly is very limited.


Keitiretse Bagele Bapindi has had her fair share of the hair game. She has relaxed her hair, locked it and now, though by coincidence bears the afro.  Her journey with growing the natural afro began in 2009 when she cut her hair to re-grow her locks. But she instantly fell in love with her new growth and forgot all about the dreadlocks and decided to let it grow naturally. But that her hair texture is naturally soft is a plus for her.  “I don’t do much to it, I use moisturiser and gel activator sometimes, shampoo and spray,” Bapindi said.


According to her, the afro style is very affordable because on some days she can do a wash and go, or cover it up with a scarf.


Two weeks ago, members of the NHBots group spurred on the craze with the hashtag, sekamoforwhat, for the Friday-Fro selfies. Every Friday, members post a selfie to the group wall, on this particular friday, members were encouraged to spare the comb for the day and share selfies to the group, showing off their curls.


Locally, some famous faces with the afro as their hairstyle of choice include poet and public speaker, TJ Dema, Ko Pisa hitmaker Gaone Rantlhoiwa and athlete, Amantle Montsho. Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has also for the better part of her career as cabinet minister also showed off a bulky afro, including former Speaker of Parliament Margaret Nasha.

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TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch

14th October 2022

On Saturday 29 October 2022 (11:00- 15:00) Bash Connektor will be presenting their 1st TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch which will be hosted by Basadi’Bash’Masimolole. Tatso. A Setswana word. Taste  .Tatso / ta-tso/. verb.

The Brunch will be held at Myhomecafe by Mogobane Dam and tickets are selling at P650 per person. Only 50 tickets available and sold through pre-booking. The value of the offering will be a brunch meal + bottomless mimosas + connekting conversations that matter with leading women in corporate and entrepreneurship. This is an inspirational / empowerment connekting session for Women.

Bash Connektor is a Marketing Company with a twist founded in March 2022 by Basadi Bash Masimolole who has 15 years plus Marketing Experience. The INTENT of Bash Connektor is to Link People, Experiences, and Brands. The K instead of C is INTENTIONAL. We are all about contributing towards AMPLIFYING brand and country messages through curating experiential offerings and connekting conversations that matter, said Basadi Masimolole.

With a sponsor or funding, Basadi Masimolole’s ultimate goal is to have visual podcasts and empowerment connektor sessions at villages as part of cultural tourism and contributing towards the Botswana Government’s Rural Areas Development Program (RADP).

Individuals interested in purchasing the limited number tickets or Brands interested in participating on the TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch through sponsorships/ brand placement opportunities can reach Basadi’Bash’Masimolole on +267 7140 6660 / masimololebasadi@gmail.com / Bash Connektor Facebook page.

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