The Curly Affair That Was Cape Town Natural Hair Festival 2017

A week before the Cape Town Natural Hair Festival, we were talking about natural hair events in Cape Town. An acquaintance mentioned an upcoming event, I did not hesitate to let her know that I no longer bother to attend such gatherings as my previous experiences exposed me to "classist vibes", a bourgeois demographic to be precise. As relevant as the natural hair movement is, not only in South Africa but globally as a whole, I still find it to be noninclusive; it lacks representation. There is a certain kind of nappy crown that is mostly celebrated by mainstream media and on social media platforms. It is softer and not as kinky as your ordinary Black Woman's nappy hair; 4C.

She however suggested that we check it out and a week later on 17 December, natural hair enthusiasts, including us, flocked to the second annual Cape Town Hair Festival held at the Canvas Space.

The event was vibrant not to mention well-attended to full capacity. The venue was packed to the extent if you didn't book in advance, tickets were no longer purchased at the entrance.
Upon arrival, I was in awe; never in my life had I seen so much popping curls in all colours, length, volume and so on in one place. It was beautiful and breathtaking.

With various vendors in categories such as fashion, cuisine and hair brands, we were spoilt for choice. There was something for everyone not forgetting live performances in form of music and poetry.

One of my highlights was seeing kids be part of the significant gathering. They also had a feature where they'd write a child's name followed by phrases such as, "your hair is beautiful"(for example Samantha, your hair is beautiful). This may look like a nonfactor but its impact on those little ones cannot be undermined. Affirmation is vital. My second highlight was the lady who did her big chop at the festival while the crowd cheered her on.

Apart from the venue space glitch, the event also lacked diversity in natural hair types. I kept on asking where are the 4C sisters like myself at? There was a handful of them. This was a miss. But so many questions came to mind: Could it be that 4C sisters just didn't show up?

All in all, one of the best events I have been to this year. The ladies behind the concept seem to be genuinely passionate about natural hair and if they continue to put in as much effort, this will be one of the biggest annual events South Africa has ever seen. I hope they look into the diversity issue; it is imperative.
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