By Farayi Mungoshi

DR SOLOMON GURAMATUNHU stood up to speak after the play Coming Home and started explaining how he came up with the concept. 

As an eye specialist, it is understandable how and why health issues are close to his heart. 

But to think of using art (theatre in this instance) as a tool to express his thoughts, views and feelings is rare because, seldom do we find doctors or people operating in and from different fields other than the arts industry contributing. 

We need more people like him supporting the arts. 

He did not beat about the bush as he immediately launched an attack on fake hair (weaves) and bleaching. 

He explained why women with weaves often pat their heads, sometimes vigorously, citing bacteria as the cause for this and elucidated on how bacteria love such moist and dark places; and how it quickly multiplies. 

His words, for someone with a weave and sitting in the theatre, were quite sharp; clarifying how weaves have an unpleasant odour that can even make a whole bus stink.

A few women in the audience, particularly donning weaves, shifted uncomfortably in their seats. 

I recall thinking to myself: The thought of maggots feasting on your scalp and live things crawling around your head and not being able to even scratch made me revisit thoughts of being in hell and burning forever in unquenchable fire without rest. 

A scary and terrifying thought! 

Yet black women would rather endure the pain and torture, thinking they can just pat away this health risk. 

Dr Guramatunhu was relentless in his onslaught of the weaves and bleaching. 

He was unapologetic as he pressed on, adding how hair is sometimes taken from dead people’s heads to make weaves, which in turn are sold in different countries, Zimbabwe included. 

A couple of young women walked out as he spoke.

I could see that the doctor had chosen to just hit hard and let the sad truth sink in.

He was clearly taking no prisoners! 

Hard as it might be to take in, I am convinced most black women don’t really know the consequences and dangers of wearing weaves. 

Some even lend others these hair pieces after using them. 

How unhygienic!  

In order to get the seriousness of the issue at hand; an article by the Caribbean Current (July 2015) shows that African-Americans spent US$507 billion in 2009 on hair care, with the biggest chunk going to weaves. 

Antonia Opiah, a contributor for HuffPost confirms that this is a multi-billion dollar industry, while some statistics show that during the Christmas period of 2018, over a billion dollars was spent on weaves. 

Imagine people pumping in billions of dollars for products that leave one’s head filled with maggots!

Dr Guramatunhu did not just point out the negative attributes: He would also soften the blow by breaking into praises about the black woman, telling them how beautiful their dark skin is, their natural hair too.

It is important to note that some blacks have taken the Western definition of beauty and made it their own. 

As such, black women have taken to bleaching and there are men who call such women ‘yellow bones’. 

To prove this; Jethro, (in the play Coming Home) after discovering that the woman he wanted to marry, Netsai, is actually bald and originally dark skinned, dumps her. 

Ironically, the majority of men do not want to settle with these so-called ‘yellow bones’ when they realise that they have fake nails, fake hair, fake skin colour, fake eye lashes and — even fake backsides nowadays!

One then wonders why some women go to such lengths in the name of pleasing men?

Perhaps the questions we should ask ourselves is: As black people, what do we consider beautiful? 

Why are we so obsessed with being light-skinned and having flowing hair? 

Are we forgetting that God made white people’s hair long and flowing in order to protect them from the cold?  

Why then do blacks aspire to look like them when some things about blacks are different and created for different purposes? 

Is this not some other form of mental slavery that makes blacks loathe and hate themselves to such an extent they prefer to transform themselves to look like another race? 

If blacks would only allow themselves to learn more about themselves, their history and be made aware that they are a beautiful, intelligent and mighty people, then we might have less people vying to look whiter than whites.

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