The Mbalantu Women

The Mbalantu Women

Hey there! Have you ever heard the myth that black women have short hair? Well, let me tell you about the amazing Mbalantu women in Africa who have super long hair that reaches all the way down to their ankles. They are like real-life Braided Rapunzels, defying expectations and rocking their long locks with pride. And guess what? It’s not some ancient secret – it’s a tradition that has been passed down through generations.


How They Achieve Remarkable Hair Growth

1. Natural Moisture

The Mbalantu women use a special homemade mix of omutyuula (acacia) bark and fat to keep their hair moisturized and prevent damage and breakage from a young age.


2. Ceremonial Hair Care

As a Mbalantu girl grows up, her hair becomes a big part of her journey. Around the age of 12, there are special ceremonies to help promote hair growth. The girl has to cover her hair with a thick paste made from powdered tree bark of the Omutyuula tree mixed with fat. She keeps this paste on her scalp for years before revealing her long hair.


3. Unique Styling Techniques

Once the base is set, fruit pips and long sinew strands are added to the hair, creating the iconic Eembuvi braid. By the time a girl turns sixteen and goes through the Ohango initiation ceremony, her braids reach all the way down to the ground.

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4. Continuous Care

Even as a grown woman, her hair continues to receive the omutyuula mixture to keep it growing. When she gets married, the Eembuvi braids are styled into a headpiece that can be so heavy it needs support from a rope or skin strap. This style shows her marital status and only changes during major life events like becoming a mother.

So, the knotless braids and other braid hairstyles we see today are inspired by the Mbalantu women’s Eembuvi braids. Their dedication to tradition and unique hair care practices show the importance of culture.

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