• Kees Kibinda

The power of the Fro

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

Laetitia Ky from Ivory Coast creates art using her afro. The theme as silver thread throughout her artworks is that of feminimism. But that is not all. She is also contributing towards changing the world's perception of what it means to be an African.

Isaac Newton is the man we acknowledge for defining gravity. I think that all most everyone reading this article can confirm that they were also taught about that later summer afternoon in 1666, when he was sitting in his garden at Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham Lincolnshire, where he was probably enjoying a nice cup of tea and suddenly he saw an apple fall from a tree.

He may have gotten recognition for his system of gravitation, but most Africans have been defying this from a very young age without even trying or realising it. You see, our hair has this beautiful characteristic of growing upwards instead of hanging down below; blurring our vision.

I for one, do not understand the witch hunt that goes on against the natural hair of women of African descent. You know, how they are being forced to get a wig, or buy a weave, or put in Brazilian hair. Another thing they often opt for is relaxing their hair. When a woman of African descent does show up for work with an afro; they are told that their hairstyle is unprofessional.

This is out of order in my eyes as the afro should be cherished. Yes, the upkeep of it is a tedious and expensive affair. We even make jokes about it when we say that Africans are unafraid of lions, hippos, elephants or reckless drivers. However, when that one drop of rain hits our skin; everyone scatters! This all for the fear of the force of the fro.

A long time ago, when I was very young, I had an afro myself and it was glorious if I may say so myself. I remember a specific incidence where I went to a house party (not a rave but an actual party at a friend’s house), and I had my trademark afro. My friends and I decided to pull a prank where we hid a phone in my hair and I walked around casually, talking to people and entertaining them.

At some point we decided to let the phone ring. This is of the time when most cell phones had the same ring tone. So, everyone around me was grabbing into their pockets to get a hold of their phone to see whether it was them being called. When realising it was not them, they’d ask each other whether it was the other’s phone that was going off like that. All the while, I am keeping mum, taking in the scene until I casually said: Oh right, I beg your pardon. And with a big movement of my hand, proceeded to remove the phone from my hair and answered the call. Good times… Sadly, with the years catching up with me; my days of defying gravity are behind me. Anyway, I digress.

A lady by the name of Laetitia Ky from Ivory Coast does something amazing with her hair. She is a hair sculptor. She uses coat hangers, wires pins, needle and thread to sculpt her hair. One art piece takes her about 3 hours to create.

She says that she got hooked to braiding her hair from the age of 5. What drives her are three things: a positive attitude, changing the image of Africa and she is a feminist at heart. Feminism is a big theme with her hair sculptures as well.

Sometimes the artwork is political. Most times it is beautiful. And other times it is simply a bizarre creation. Needles to say, Laetitia’s following on social media is ever growing both on Instagram and on twitter. I say to you Laetitia, keep on going and inspiring people on what they can do with their hair by creating your artwork and at the same time being able to change people’s perception on the African continent and monetise on it at the same time.

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