Hildana.

Hildana.

Twisting and turning in bed as I felt every one of the beads braided into my hair poke and prod my scalp.
— Hildana

When I was little, getting my hair done was an exercise in passive resistance. The two places I did not want to be were the dentists and the space between my mother’s legs, with my head on her lap as she combed and braided my hair. Her fingers would vacillate up and down, forming a rhythm that my scalp had learned to remember. When she was done, she would thread colored beads through each braid - her quickness almost daring me to complain. What I dreaded wasn’t the time spent with my mother – that, I cherished - it was instead the time that would be spent that night twisting and turning in bed as I felt every one of the beads braided into my hair poke and prod my scalp. And yet every one of those beads reminded me of each second spent soaking in my mother’s brilliance – watching as she channeled her people’s brilliance and built a memorial to them on my scalp. Those beads reminded me of the bond that was being formed as her fingers moved swiftly through my hair – a bond that neither began nor ended on the surface of my head. So sometimes, when I was little, getting my hair done was also an exercise in love.

Words by Mumbi Kanyogo

Milan.

Milan.

Taji.

Taji.