I recently shaved my head … and no, I wasn’t going through something. Well, technically I was, but not what you think.

It wasn’t a break-up sob story or a spur-of-the-moment crazy hairdo act. I wasn’t looking forward to it because like, most women, I believed that “your hair is your crown”. Confidence comes not only from looking good, but from having a great mane.

However, knowing the real reason I cut my hair off made me carry the look with confidence and pride. I lost my brother in March. In my culture, a cleansing ceremony follows a certain period of mourning, set by the elders.

This cleansing is basically the process where you are, well … cleansed. There is no other way to explain it. But one of the rituals involves cutting your hair off. If you are lucky, only strands of hair are cut from the sides of your head, but if you’re not so lucky, you’ll lose it all.

On the eve of the ceremony, my siblings and I had a huge debate about this. My sisters and I decided, no way were we going to lose all our hair. In the end, though, I was the only one to come out “wounded”.

After my uncle did a choppy job on my natural afro, I decided my brother should take out the clippers and remove the rest as quickly and painlessly as possible. I didn’t break down though, when I saw it fall. I was honouring my late brother.

My new look has other advantages too, the most important being the ability to take head to toe showers. All my ladies will agree with me on this: it is such a good feeling having a proper shower without having to worry about messing your relaxed, weaved or freshly blown hairdo.

You will probably envy me for this too, but windy days do not faze me at all. I can take a ride in a convertible and have stress-free “wind in my hairless” moments.

Even though the father of the reformation, Martin Luther said, “The hair is the richest ornament of women”, I’ve let my hair down on this one and enjoy the fact that I now know that my tresses do not define me.

 Published in Vuvuzela 14th Edition, 18 May 2012