Rocking her dreadlocks, Anethe has shown your hair does not define your job skills or competence. Here is her hairstory:
1. Have you always been natural? When did you go natural?
As far as I can remember yes, I think I tried relaxer once and it burned my scalp.
I vowed to never torture my scalp again.
I went natural I think in the late 90s and I always just used to put in braids as I couldn’t manage my afro.
2. Why and how did you go natural? Did you transition or big chopped?
I went natural because I never wanted to use chemicals in my hair.
I also think my mom played a bigger part in me going natural as she hated relaxed hair so one was kind of forced into accepting the natural hair.
I didn’t do a big chop, I just always had braids in and finally decided to put in dreads in 2002 when I was going to study in France. Having been in France before I knew that braiding ones hair doesn’t come cheap and I thought dreadlocks were easier and cheaper to maintain.
3. Did you do the big chop or transition? Why?
I always had natural hair I basically just transitioned from braids to permanent dreadlocks.
4. How has your family and friends reacted to you going natural?
My family reacted more to me putting in dreadlocks, especially my mother, I fooled her for one year thinking it was temporary twists.
My mother has never been a fan of dreadlocks as she associated the hairstyle to people smoking weed. Living under her roof that time it was impossible to tell her that I have permanent dreadlocks, so I lied to her the whole of 2002.
In 2003 I moved to France for 4 years and that’s when I was free to show off my dreadlocks. When I returned home my mom just had to accept the hairstyle.
My other family members love the dreads to an extend where I influenced most of my girl cousins to grow dreadlocks.
5. How do you take care of your hair? i.e. How often do you wash? How do you keep your hair moisturized? What products and techniques do you use?
I have a great hairstylist and she is my saving grace when it comes to the maintenance of my dreads.
I get retouched and styled at least twice a month, if I am lazy I do it from home.
I use Jabu Stone and Jamaican Lime and Mango products. The full treatment I do at the Salon and they use Shea butter and coconut oil products. On a daily basis I use the Olive Oil spray to keep the dreads moisturized.
6. What are some of the styles you use?
I do a lot of styles especially now that my dreads are very long.
7. How has the whole natural experience been?
It has been great and I wouldn’t have it any differently.
I feel like I am more connected to my culture and appreciating what I am and not trying to be someone that I am not.
It has been a journey of self discovery in the most divinely way possible.
8. How does this fit into your everyday life? Work? School?
When I was called for an interview to my first professional job at the Parliament of Namibia, I was advised by so many people that I should cover my dreads as organizations are reluctant to give jobs to people with dreadlocks.
I was told to put in a weave or braids just for the interview. I was like look if I am going to be discriminated simply because of the hairstyle on my head then I am just not the candidate that they are looking for.
I refused to be mentally enslaved and join in society`s stereotypes.
What I did is I went to the Salon the day before my interview, proudly asked my hairstylist to style my dreadlocks.
I went to the Interview with my dreadlocks showing, very clean, neat and I held my head up high in that interview as a true proud African woman would.
Two months later I got a callback and I was hired. I was currently promoted to a Senior Management Position with my dreadlocks at Parliament.
I didn’t have to change my hair to show that I am competent at my job, that’s just my hairstyle.
9. What were some of the best advice/critics you have ever received after going natural?
The most critic that I ever received ever since I can remember with dreadlocks is that I smoke weed. LOL.
10. What advice would you give to those transitioning or thinking about going natural?
It is refreshing to see that we have more black women going natural or putting in dreadlocks then before.
I think that women of African origin are now more proud of who they are and most have realized that we are just as beautiful with our kinky or curly hair. We are beautiful and I really don’t think we should be dictated by anyone as to what beauty is.
We should define our beauty and our beauty is AFRICAN BEAUTY. Love it or hate it we will walk with our heads high and proud.