I remember when my Mom would sit me between her legs and thread my hair for school. I used to hate it. It was painful, gave me headaches and I didn’t feel pretty in it. I felt my forehead was too prominent in it. This was actually very true as most of my hair was pulled back and threaded in different strips.
Threaded hair is also called Akweley Waabii a Ga word meaning Akweley’s fingers. Akweley Waabii must have stemmed from the resemblance of the hair to red chili which also has the same Akweley Waabii name. Do you see it too? Threaded hair is definitely fiery like red chili.
On certain days, she would send me off to a woman near Chorkor who lived in a wooden hut by the seaside for the threading to be done in a more intricate manner. That night would be one of tossing up and down trying to get the right position to place my head as painlessly as possible.
Threading my hair became a thing of the past until recently when I went back to growing my natural hair. It has become my go-to for stretching my hair out instead of blow-drying. I have become heat-averse of late.
The act of threading involves winding a black thread around hair in various tight intricate designs. The black thread unsurprisingly comes from China and the brand is theCeiling Fan. What I found surprising is the purpose of the thread is for Knitting and Cross Stitching.
I wonder why threading is or was referred to as Abaawa (Housegirl or Househelp) some years ago. Was it only the type of hairstyle ‘housegirls’ could afford to do? I shared a threaded hairstyle some time back on Facebook and asked people to caption it. Abaawa was one of the names tagged on the photo by a friend and I suddenly remembered its use in times past.
Are we shy to wear threaded hair as naturalistas because of this label ? Is threaded hair perceived as a hairstyle for the poor? A few Ghanaian women are wearing the threaded hairstyle as part of their everyday hairstyle and i love them for it. But few attempt it and within a few days take it off. Wearing a threaded hairstyle for longer serves a greater purpose:
Not only does it stretch the hair but is also a great protective style for hair growth & maintenance.
· It also makes you stand out wherever you are instead of standing in with the rest of the crowd.
Its cost effective. Depending on where you thread your hair, it can be cheaper than braiding cornrows or twists which most naturalhair saloons are charging GHC35 for today.
Today, I threaded my hair and did a bantu knot remix with it.
My hair was section in six parts from the middle like a cobweb of sorts.
Each part was then threaded. Then each threaded hair was then wound down and held in place by another thread.
It took less than an hour to complete! I am all set and ready for a new week! Monday has nothing on me! I cant wait to watch people's reaction to this. Priceless!
Have you tried threading your natural hair yet? What was your childhood experience with threaded hair? Do share in the comments below.
#MyKpenkpeshie (Kpenkpeshie is a Ga word which means tough hair) is a natural hair feature of the everyday Ghanaian woman and her natural hair journey. It's a collection & curation of stories by Ghanaian women as they recount childhood memories, natural hair-care tips, societal reactions to their change and more.