After wanting dreadlocks for over 4 years last March I finally got them. Just over a year later I’ve spent between 15-20 hours this week picking them out. Anyone who knows me, knows exactly how much I loved them and took so much pride in having them. This post is to explain why I had to remove them and what that has to do with my year in South Africa.
Since last May I have had odd looks, many people asking me questions such as ‘Do you wash them?’ ‘Don’t you have to chop all your hair off after?’, and on the occasion I’ve received racial hatred and abuse due to having them. The first was a hair and beauty student on the bus shouting at me that hair must stink and that I’m dirty etc. A few times I’ve had black men come over to me out in public hold one of my dreads out inspecting it asking why i have dreads considering I’m white. I had some straight up say I shouldn’t have them because I’m white etc. Most recently I was at work and a black lady in my section would not look at me whilst I spoke to her, kept pointing at me and talking about my hair to her family, she stared at me whenever I wasn’t at her table, and tried to be as difficult as possible.
I’m a strong person and I can deal with it. I have an open mind and can see why the ignorant have an issue with my hair. As August draws closer I began to wonder if my dreadlocks would be an problem to more people in South Africa. I spoke to Project Trust and my country coordinator explained she had chosen my placement (although it cannot be confirmed until May) and it would be wise to take the dreadlocks out. It’s a touchy subject and I am the least racist person you could meet coming from a very diverse community. But I could become a victim of racial hatred on a frequent basis out there. Having dreadlocks could almost be like putting a target on my head for anyone who has racist views against white people. In August I want to settle in with the best chance possible, and not have views determined at first impression because of my hairstyle.
As many know, I had dread extensions put in also to make them longer as my hair was so short and thin. So without a cut this is what my hair now looks like. I should be having a cut sometime next week, I hope. The other photos are a bucket with all the hair that fell out and the dread extensions cut out in one piece.