Some acquire that accustomed beard is a movement, others see it as aloof acid your beard as it grows. This Sunday the accustomed beard association will accumulate at the third Cape Town Accustomed Beard Anniversary (CTNHF) in the Mother City. Two Co-founders, Eleanor Barkes and Amanda Cooke, chatted to Daily Maverick about movements, beard politics, prices and growth.
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“The adventure starts out actuality about hair, but you bound realise it is about demography affliction of yourself,” said Eleanor Barkes, blogger and one of the co-founders of the Cape Town Accustomed Beard Festival. “I anticipate all over (the world) bodies are annoyed of assuming to be article that they are not.”
Barks airish the question: “Why do I accumulate aggravating to align my beard back I apperceive for a actuality I do not acquire beeline hair?”
Hair industry trends appearance that internationally, there has been a abreast 20% drop in beard chemicals sales. According to The Clicks group, this trend applies additionally in SA. And the beard industry is big business – all-embracing in Africa, the beard industry was account R 6,3-billion in 2015.
The accustomed beard movement has apparent an admission in South Africa over the accomplished bristles years, with added articles on the bazaar and added bodies either accomplishing the big chop, acid their beard off and absolution it abound out in its accustomed accompaniment – or “transitioning”- to stop application chemicals and calefaction on your hair.
“This is my accurate self,” explained Barkes.
Amanda Cooke is additionally a blogger and co-founder of CTNHF. Her adventure appear “going” accustomed started back she watched her adolescent babe comedy with her cousin’s hair, which had been straightened. Her babe acquainted envious. “She said I ambition my beard was like yours.”
Straight beard – alike back it is not how your beard grows artlessly – is the barometer in best Western-oriented societies because the acumen of “kinky, bristling or kroes hair” is that it is bedraggled and that it doesn’t grow. These perceptions inhibited women and men from acid their beard as it grows.
Many acquire it is as a aftereffect of these perceptions that acid your beard as it grows is advised abolitionist or as activism, because no being of colour’s beard “grows out” the same.
Afros, dreadlocks, braids, weaves, headscarves, curls, bound or loose, it is about self-expression and an free choice.
Cooke started adequate her daughter’s beard back she was alone six years old, “because that is what my mother did, and that is aloof what we do”.
Once they absitively on a accustomed beard journey, both Cooke and Barkes begin that they had to do analysis online. Ironically, it did not appear artlessly because they had been befitting to civic norms – and burden – to relax their hair. It was article they had to apprentice – to booty affliction of their own hair.
“We (Cooke and her daughter) were at the hairdresser, accomplishing a relaxer for the actual aftermost time, and I told my daughter: Afterwards this we are activity natural.
“We transitioned for about a year and again we did the big chop.” That was bristles years ago.
The women both started a blog to certificate their journeys. “We were adolescent bloggers and we became accompany afterwards a alternate acquaintance put us in touch,” says Barkes.
They begin abutment calm and absitively to alpha Cape Town Artlessly Abutment Accumulation – a Facebook accumulation aimed at acknowledging “naturalistas” and auspicious a advantageous chat about the movement.
Barkes, Cooke and their adolescent C0-founders, Chantal Kock, Kasuba Stuurman and Simone Thomas began their adventure of authoritative the CNHF a reality.
The turn-out exceeded expectations. Barkes said: “(In 2016) we appointed a area for about 300 bodies and 800 showed up.”
“We didn’t set out to acquire the appulse that we did.”
And now they realise they acquire a albatross to abide to abound the movement and change attitudes.
Their responsibility, according to announcer and columnist of The Accustomed Newbie Guide Janine Jellars, is to advance association and to actualize platforms for baby businesses.
Jellars and Cooke are on the aforementioned folio about the role of the festival:
“We started the anniversary because we capital to get women of colour together, there was article accident that had a lot to do with award your roots, your authenticity. Bodies were acceptable added advanced to this fact. Five/six years ago we started cerebration about the anniversary because we capital to get agreeing women calm and acquaint them ‘you apperceive what? It is okay! It is fine! It is acquire to appear with your bossiekop or your kroeskop.” For me, the anniversary meant a acquisition of these “bossiekoppe,” enthused Cooke.
The women anamnesis the aboriginal day of the anniversary three years ago as an affecting day with tears of joy acceptable the day.
“People came up to us and said, acknowledge you. No one anytime did this for us,” accepted Cooke, “It was about beard and beauty, but it was deeper, it was for you.”
The anniversary at the Cape Town All-embracing Convention Centre is a aggregate of talks, stalls affairs bounded and all-embracing products, beard affliction experts and added appearance and adorableness finds.
Jellars believes the movement has had an acutely claimed appulse of the women. She declared the activation as “immeasurable”.
“So abounding of us grew up cerebration we’re not attractive, we’re not valued, we’re beneath than. A movement that centres us, our adventures and celebrates us for who we are is such an important allotment of architecture cocky and association esteem,” said Jellars.
Jellars declared an crisis that resonated with Barkes. She begged her mother to align her hair. “I was 12 and I asked for a relaxer because I was at a Model C academy and everybody at my academy had beeline hair,” explains Barkes.
Straight beard is commonly a boilerplate claim to admission professional, amusing and bookish opportunities, a bequest from a time back bodies of colour were advised unfairly and unequally.
Cooke said: “It took the case of Zulaikha Patel , for bodies to realise that, authority on maybe our rules are ancient and we do charge to change, maybe they are still colonial holdovers and maybe we charge to acquire bodies the way they are.’’
Patel stood up adjoin Pretoria Girls High for attempting to badge her Afro.
Barkes has a band-aid for how to action these ancient notions and rules. “Wear it more,” she proclaimed, “and area you can, brainwash bodies about the journey.”
She accepted it won’t be accessible but, “the added we normalise acid our accustomed hair, the easier it will be for naturalistas everywhere”.
Barkes said: “Because it is about like a stigma, your beard is not neat, but apprenticeship is key.”
“Let’s aloof animate the conversation, because it is not a atramentous or white situation. Don’t hunt addition abroad because you do not like their hairstyle.” DM
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