Rihanna Rocks A Classic African Hairstyle For Vogue

For the May 2020 issue of Vogue, Rihanna chose to represent with a beautiful, classic hairstyle.  Her hair was styled in what is called the Betsimisaraka hairstyle. Such homage brings awareness to the distinctive styles that women of color display.

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Image Credit: UK Vogue

 

The Betsimisaraka Hairstyle Originates From Madagascar

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Image Credit: eBay

What makes this hairstyle so iconic, is the fact that Madagascar was discovered by women. Tropical and serene, this island is located off the east coast of Africa. The natives that inhabit the land carry Indonesian genes. A vessel arrived 1200 years ago on the island holding 30 women. It is a possibility that they sailed off course. Extensive DNA studies have traced today’s residents to these 30 women, who probably mated with African men who were already there. Indonesia and Madagascar have a distance of 5000 miles. So their trip across the Indian Ocean was quite a lengthy one.

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Image Credit: Picuki

Madagascar prides itself on having a mixture of Asian and African descent. They have many tribes, one of them being Betsimisaraka. Plaiting hair is seen as important to one’s beauty among their women. The Betsimisaraka hairstyles includes 5 tufts, 2 on each side, and one behind. They also wear numerous plaits that are not fully braided at the end, as Rihanna modeled.

Gold and silver pins are sometimes put in their plaits, right above their forehead. Other ornaments used are crocodiles teeth, bones, or shells. In the late 19th or early 20th century, the way you wore your hair let people know your rank and financial level. The rich would wear many silver and gold ringlets in their hair. Married women would wear their hair twisted up. Unmarried women would let their hair flow over the shoulders. In the year 1822, the Europeans arrived, and they introduced their unique way of styling hair. But that did not stop the Madagascar women from wearing their native hairstyles.

A Barbados Singer Who Pays Tribute To Culture

“I feel like I have no boundaries. I’ve done everything – I’ve done all the hits, I’ve tried every genre – now I’m just, I’m wide open. I can make anything that I want.” – Rihanna

This is not the first time Rihanna has shown love for her people. Just recently she donated $700,000 to Barbados so her people can have respirators during this pandemic. And for the cover of her Limited edition i-D Rihannazin cover, she sported cornrows. Her stylist for both magazines was Yusef Williams, a British-Nigerian. Cornrows are another popular African hairstyle. They have been seen in ancient paintings dating back to the early 5th century BC.

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Image Credit: i-D Magazine

Our motherland is where civilization started. So many inventions that began in Egypt have reached every corner of the globe. This includes different stylings of hair. How amazing. Our roots don’t only grow past our scalps. They have grown to touch many hearts.

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An African postal stamp, Image Credit: Dan’s Topical Stamp

 

What classic African hairstyle do you like to rock? Comment, like, and subscribe.

Sources:

https://www.seeker.com/madagascar-founded-by-women-1765687347.html

https://www.msn.com/en-za/lifestyle/lifestylebeautyandstyle/crowning-glory-rihannas-top-3-iconic-fashion-cover-looks/ar-BB120Xet

History of Madagascar, By William Ellis, Joseph John Freeman

Femicide In South Africa

Shuga is a TV show that I always get excited to watch everytime a new season comes on. It’s first season was videotaped in Kenya, and it was how Lupita Nyong’o  got her first main acting role. Ever since then, it has changed countries, jumping from Nigeria to South Africa. Pretty soon a new season will be filmed in Coite D’voire. It touches on the issues a lot of people of color face, such as discrimination, finding oneself, relationship problems, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But what really caught my eye was The Down South Season 1 , which depicted life for youth in South Africa. And what really broke my heart ( although the story was fictional) was how a young 15 year old character Tsholo (pictured in first image, image credit: MTV Shuga) dies after being in a abusive relationship with 24 year old neighborhood taxi driver Sol. It moved me to research a trending topic called Femicide. Global Americans states South Africa  as the 3rd country in the world to have a “very high” rate of femicide, with El Salvador taking the lead. What exactly is femicide? Why is it such a huge problem in South Africa? And what can be done to prevent it?

The Meaning of Femicide

The spectrum of violence is a long one. It can start off as just a verbal insult, grow into physical assault , and explode into murder. Femicide is the actual killing of women.

The World Health Organization has this to say about femicide: “Femicide is usually perpetrated by men, but sometimes female family members may
be involved. Femicide differs from male homicide in specific ways. For example, most
cases of femicide are committed by partners or ex-partners, and involve ongoing abuse
in the home, threats or intimidation, sexual violence or situations where women have
less power or fewer resources than their partner.”

There are different types of femicide:

  • Intimate femicide– A murder of a woman by their own current or former husband or boyfriend. An ongoing study by WHO found out that over 35% of femicides are committed by the persons own current or former intimate partner.
  • Murders in the name of honour-  ” ‘Honour’-related murders involve a girl or woman being killed by a male or female family member for an actual or assumed sexual or behavioural  transgression, including adultery, sexual intercourse or pregnancy outside marriage – or even for being raped . Often the perpetrators see this femicide as a way to protect family reputation, to follow tradition or to adhere to wrongly interpreted religious demands. Murders in the name of ‘honour’ may also be used to cover up cases of incest .”  -WHO Organization. Wow. So to cover up a crime like rape or incest that was not even the females fault, some families decide its just best to kill off the woman , so the family’s reputation can be “protected”. Very barbaric and sickening.
  • Dowry-related femicide- This is when a conflict involving the bride price enrages the in-laws so much, to the extent that one of them decides to just kill off the newly married woman.
  • Non-intimate femicide- When a female is killed that has had no relationship with the man. It usually happens after sexual aggression. It is random and is sometimes done by a creepy stalker or a secret admiring psychopath.
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Photo by CHRISTOPHER MARQUEZ on Pexels.com

Why Is Femicide Such A Huge Problem In South Africa ?

The South Africa Police collected data that shows that a woman is murdered every 3 hours in South Africa. Nationally this is 4.8 times the global average rate.

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Image Credit: MatieMedia

The Institute For Security Studies explanation is understandable. It points to apartheid as one of the main reasons why violence in South Africa is at an all-time high. With so many years of inequality and abuse of power on their plate, many South Africans have no reasons to respect the law. And to this day, the European race still holds most of the power and wealth in South Africa. Much of the poorer class, which is comprised mostly of blacks , in this day and age still do not have access to psychologists or lawyers who will fairly fight for them. Although wrong, what usually happens when a man who has carried the weight of stress and trauma has nowhere to turn? They unleash their pain on a woman. And just one blow can become fatal.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Femicide?

 

Increase Education, Intervention and Research

The more men that become informed of these horrifying statistics,  the more awareness it will bring to the situation. It can move many SA men to be on the lookout for potential violent situations. If you see a female neighbor that is bruised, try to figure out what is going on. A lot of protests are going on with women marching the streets, but more men need to be involved.

Restrict Gun Ownership And Increase Gun Laws

Guns should only be used for hunting animals only. (That is my opinion, and I am sticking to it.) The government needs to enforce stricter gun laws so that a lot of deaths can be prevented. If guns have to be seized, then so be it.

Train And Sensitize Health Staff/Police

Health care workers and police who are on the scene during violent situations need to be trained thoroughly. Proper documentation needs to be made, and improving detections needs to be done.

The community as a whole can do much to prevent femicides from happening. Walk away from abusive relationships. Say no to domestic violence. Need help? Always remember that you are not alone. Call one of these numbers if you are being abused or if you know someone who is being abused:

  • POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse): 011 6424 345
  • Gender-based Violence Command Centre: 0800 428 428 (emergency line) or *120*7867# (please call me facility)
  • Tears Foundation helpline: *134*7355#

Do you have a story to tell concerning the topic of femicide? Any input or advice to give? Comment below.

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Photo by Monnivhoir Aymar Kouamé on Pexels.com