Ghanain women do amazing things with their hair…often. An American colleague warned me last August that I could not easily use women’s hair styles as a feature for learning my students names. With Southwestern students, my home university, I notice that a woman has blond or brown hair that’s long or short. Then whether she has her hair in a pig tail or down, or wears a cap or not, is less important to me than if she sometimes wears contact lenses and sometimes wears glasses — a killer for trying to remember who is who.
An Ashesi student let me snap pictures of her hair styles over the last 2 months. Here are some of her different looks.
Here, womens’ hair styles are as much their fashion expression as their choice of clothing might be in the U.S. I celebrate their ability (and patience!) to create such masterpieces.
My hair seems so uneventful. I have two styles, shoulder length and short. Though as I moved from my American highlights (my attempt at masking the onset of grey) to my 50 year old natural salt-and-pepper color, I did go through a several week period of shimmer — the last 1/16th of an inch of highlight casting a glow over my otherwise blackish-white underneath. Several women have asked me if they can touch my hair, several asked if it’s real, and ultimately many more (out of the generosity of the hearts of students who watched my same old American shoulder length style for 6 months finally change into something different) compliment my new, more European, short-short cut. It doesn’t change very quickly, and it’s far from being art!