My Curly Beautifull Hair

Catherine Djiemo
Posted October 7, 2021 from Sweden

Moving to Sweden was a joint decision for my husband and I . We thought then , " it will be a great idea to raise our kids in a society that prejudice and injustitic is less prevalent " . That was untill the reality of living  here became a fight for my  basic existence as a black woman .

Even my curly beautifull hair became a question to my identity . 

I walked into a hair salong for a hair wash and i was told "Vi behandlar inte denna hår typ "- meaning  we donot treat that hair type in here " .

As i tried to explain myself , the hairstylist got her opportunity to say "Vi behandlar inte SVARTA PERSONS HÅR HÄR I SVERIGE  -meaning we do not treat black peoples here in Sweden ".  My very lucious curly hair, beautifull and outstanding in its texture , glowing in it originality was experiencing an attack liken to an earthquark. I felt  i was pushed onto a wall with no escape than to fight back . 

Why can you not wash  my hair , i questioned ?

You will have to ask my teachers where i studied my trade  the lady stylist replied . 

The whole place was quiet for a moment  as i stired and affirmed with my body language that i know my hair is a work of art ,that have  an unmeasureable equity. 

" I am overdetermined from without . I am the slave not of the ideas that others have of me , but of my own appearance and opinions of myself " ( Fanon 1967:116 ) . As I momored these words from Frantz Fanons world renowed book on "Black skin , White Masks " fron 1967 , i remember asking :

Let me get the name of your institution where you studies ,  ? . 

That was a journey that took me 2 years and 3 months to get a full reply from the inspectors of vocational training in Sweden , " there was no study plan for afro curly hair " they wrote but we welcome suggestions they insisted . Within these process i learnt to braid , style and do natural treatments for my hair . My grandmoms oil reciepes came in handy as i walked on my journey advocating for being black in Sweden.

Today we run a registered NGO "Working Across Borders Empowerment Center "( WABEC) where we empower women not just on their hair but on career development , autonomy within yourself  through motivational speaking and other collaborations with the local chapter of the United nations within our kommunity in Kramfors-Sweden . Here we teach everyone who care to know about the beauty of "my curly beautifull hair . We teach young girls , mothers,father who are both biolological and adopted parent to kids with afro hair ,on how to care for the beautifull curly hair of their loved ones . We are seeing a change in attitude , perception and cohenrence within social spheres.

We are building and restoring  self confidence in so many young girls who have hated their curly hair for such a long time . The feeling of being racialized by your hair or any appearance is an everyday battle for many young people with an african heritage in Sweden and within EU atlarge.

For my kids and many kids born and raised here ;

To be black in Sweden is to stand out in a society where blackness is a racial marker - only to exists as a counter-position to whiteness . 

To be black in the country where they have their accesstralroots, is to be called coconut kids ( black on the outside - white on the inside ) . 

Belonging to them have become an inbetweeness which is rather very confusing and radicalizing .

My curly beautifull hair helps affirms their personal being and creates tangible links to an authentic  existence and acceptance within themselves. 

I am a complete representation of my curly beautifull hair 

Mvh 

Catherine Djiemo 

 

Comments 17

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Otuto Monye
Oct 07
Oct 07

Wow....this is so inspirational. Keep it up with your great initiative. You're restoring dignity to the blacks and building the self-esteem of many that have been treated as trash because of their background.
Well done sister.

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 08
Oct 08

Hej Otuto,
Thanks on such lovely words of encouragements . It's Always important to accept yourself cos people are always opinionated towards others. This is the reality of the modern world.
Hugs

rebecca.tang
Oct 07
Oct 07

Your black curly hair looks gorgeous. I am really feel to hear your experience in Sweden. There is still more work to do to improve the diversity and inclusion in everywhere in the world.
Be strong! Never give up!
May Almighty God bless you!

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 08
Oct 08

Hej Rebecca,
It warms my heart to hear you say that. That is actually my daughter with the big curly hair. I tell her everyday how gorgous her hair is .
Hugs

megsmueller
Oct 08
Oct 08

and I love it! :) Greetings to you sister! Your hair is gorgeous, a blanket of beauty. Thank you for taking what you have experienced and for turning it into something positive!

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 08
Oct 08

Thanks Meg. It's wonderfull to see how our curly hair blooms when properly care for. People do not understand that curly afro 4c hair is the most delicate hair types.
P.s it's sexually my daughter on the picture.
Hugs

Paulina Nayra
Oct 08
Oct 08

Dear Catherine,
Those curly beautiful hair can provide opportunities for women to learn new skills, develop a career and their self-confidence. Being turned down by the salon because they do not know what to do with the curly beautiful hair is a signal to open a salon specializing in curly beautiful hair. This reminds of my mother who was hairdresser. She'll welcome the curly beautiful hair am sure.
Thank you for sharing your story. I love it.
Huggs.

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 08
Oct 08

Hej Paulina,
I absolutely agree on that. You girl have got to find a balance. I have thought about this but am too scared to start maybe.
Hugs

ceegrah
Oct 11
Oct 11

Beautiful, I am glad you stood and advocated for your rights. Thank you for your initiative it will go a long way in bridging the gap. By the way I love your long curly hair.

Much Love

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 11
Oct 11

Thanks Ceegrah for such encouragements .
That is my daughter feeling confident in Her curly hair. Hur hair is a work of art.

ceegrah
Oct 12
Oct 12

oh wow, its so beautiful

Ethanuz
Oct 11
Oct 11

Noob news! I demand this centuries and the next to understand that race is nothing but stating the color of another dress in the closet- it means nothing but evolution. Humanity has long ways to go -I can tell that much from your statement. Do not fret, people that are racist and criticize are of the past- annoying dust to be wiped off from the kitchen slab. Mind not the darkness but light that sets you towards your kind. Keep fighting, we will keep supporting. Good luck on your journeys.
P.S if anyone ever judged your beautiful fluffy afro (I literally worship those hairdo's) or tone again, ask them this;
"What do you think my skeletal color is? Cause last time I checked when we all die we die the same. Skin tone is just because of melanin nothing else- these creeps just want to feel superior. Be inspired and Inspire.

Olutosin
Oct 13
Oct 13

Ohhhh I am sooooo happy to read this piece. Thank you very much for being a changemaker. Thank you very much for standing for all of us.

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 14
Oct 14

Hugs in Hamony

Leonida Odongo
Oct 14
Oct 14

Dear Catherine ,

More energy to your activism.

Best

Leonida

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 14
Oct 14

Thanks Leonida. Hugs

Efe Omordia
Oct 14
Oct 14

Love your determination. Sometimes we mistrust what we don't understood. The hairdresser was ignorant and would have used that opportunity to learn something new