The Bar Loves Zulaikha Patel

Do you know how many sistas would sell their souls
for a fro like this????

I cannot express just how in awe I am of this tiny human.

I don't even want kids, but if I did have/adopt a baby girl, I would want her to turn out just like 13-year-old Zulaikha Patel, a South African student who fought - and is technically still fighting - for the right to rock an afro so flawless and majestic it rivals Foxy Brown's.

For those of you just now learning about this girl, you did not misread.  An African student living in Africa is being denied the right to wear her natural hair.

Now...I attended primary school in Cameroon, West Africa for three years during the early 1990s.  I attended a private school (PPS Nkambe, represent!).  And y'all, the entire school was natural.  Permed hair was simply not allowed.  If you came to school with permed hair, you got a BC free of charge.  Now, I'm not saying hair policing of that magnitude is kosher, but at least it favored African children looking like, well, African children.

Later in the 1990s, back in the States, I met a young Nigerian woman who wore her hair just like we had at school in Cameroon - short and natural.  Still a child, I asked her why she kept it that why now, when she was attending college and free to do whatever she wanted with her hair.  She shrugged and replied, "It's the African way, and I'm happy with it." can imagine my facial expression when Zulaikha's story took over the Negrosphere like a storm.  Why are White people, in Africa, in 2016, still dictating if/when Black Africans (and Blasians, in Zulaikha's case) can wear their natural hair?

And while it's easy to get upset solely at the White folks in this scenario, they're not actually the problem here.  As the 21st Century trudges on, members of the African Diaspora need to go far beyond the White aspect of our problems.  Like, where are the Black leaders in this situation and what exactly are Black South African tax dollars paying you to do?  Thirteen-year-old schoolgirls should not be doing your job, ladies and gentlemen.  Because it is your job to see to it that they don't have to protest this type of bullshit in the first place!

And miss me with the excuses.  I don't care how much some White Western country is trying to bribe you.  I don't care if they've sent an assassin to put a gun to your head right now.  Because if you are a Black leader, don't get it twisted: it is a requirement that you be ready to fight and die for the freedoms and advancement of Black people - no exceptions.

And for those of us whom you're leading, we really need to start enforcing said requirement.  We need to start keeping our own assassins on standby in case the need ever arises to replace you.  So you can take our bullet or the White man's bullet, but you ain't gettin' out of your failures alive, son.
"The black man has become a shell, a shadow of man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity." - Stephen Biko, South Africa

“I am fully aware of the dangers to which I am thus exposed, but firm in the conviction that my country’s cause comes first. I take the step and chance the consequences. I am prepared if need be to shed my blood and die if need be, that Ghana might have self-government now.” - Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana

"Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people." - Nelson Mandela, South Africa

"Nah." - paraphrasing Empress Taytu Betul of Ethiopia


  1. That's my daughter.

    No,really though,like you,I don't have any kids nor do I desire to have any,especially at my age but if I did I would want for her to look like Zulaika Patel and be like her.

    When I first read about this beautiful heroic young woman I had to wipe my eyeglasses 99 times and thought about going back to my optometrist before I realized where this incident was taking place: not Europe, Canada,the U.S.A or Australia... but in South AFRICA and on the AFRICAN CONTINENT!

    I couldn't believe what I was reading. I had to read on various South African publications before I realized how crazy the story was ,not because of what the girls were doing but because of the White man telling them what to do in THEIR homeland. The nerve of them!

    I think that their afros are beyond beautiful and if I had Zulaika's hair,I would rock it like her.I also envy my mom became she also rocked one since 1975. If I had to do it over again,I wished that she would have made me her hair clone.Man,it doesn't matter if you're a Black person in the States, South America,Canada South Africa,we're under attack for being different and embracing it. I don't know about other people but to live in a world where everybody has to be the same seems incredibly boring to me.

    If I had a daughter or son, I would tell them to stand( or sit like Colin Kapernick )in the truth.Taking this stance isn't about standing for a hairstyle, its about standing up for your people, history ,truth and definitely.. your culture...a culture that they're jealous and feel threatened by.

    I thought about those days where straightening/ perming hair was a must for most Black women .. those days where you was shamed of it thinking that kinky hair was a terrible feature to have. Now I feel bad for unknowingly, being ashamed of not embracing me at the time. I feared that I would be laughing stock of my state if I didnt have straight hair.

    These least where I'm from..I see more women,young and old wearing natural hair and braids more I do see them with straightened hair. I admit ,I was one of those women who wouldn't walk out of my door without permed hair,until a couple of years ago..seeing a woman at my workplace rocking her Angfela Davis like ' fro.It was gorgeous.

    Though I never thought of my Blackness as being negative..I may sound like a loon for saying this but when I attended a Watch night service at my church last year,it was like something came over me..some form of an epiphany like feeling that I haven't got over since..and never want to stop feeling. I don't know...I guess about my ancestors heritage was swiped from them..and with Black woman and those horrible Tignon laws telling Black women that something was wrong with our hair became it wasn't White hair.

    Some people may accuse you of being " political " for wearing natural hair.When it comes to natural hair ,it should never be just seen as such,it should be about loving YOU! Its just plain stupid that Zulaika's school what the school is doing to her and her friends.

    When I looked at Zulaika's story it made me think how much White society want the world to emulate them.To downgrade someone's hair is another way if them getting power..power that have no right to take away from those girls.

    If all goes right,I plan on getting braids when the weather gets cold. I already know how I want my hair braided. As someone joked on a FB page they loved the idea of changing hair 19 times a! That is the beauty of Black hair/ being Black ..just knowing how diversified and beautiful it is. I wouldn't want to change that for the world. I appreciate peoples uniqueness.

  2. That's my daughter.

    No,really though,like you,I don't have any kids nor do I desire to have any,especially at my age but if I did I would want for her to look like Zulaika Patel and be like her.

    She's so beautiful she brings tears to my eyes.

  3. TheSecretNinja20019/6/16, 10:55 PM

    reading stories like this royally piss me off, at the same time, i applaud this young lady and all the other young ladies like her that are fighting not just for what they believe in, but the RIGHT to look like themselves.

  4. Zulaikha reminds me do much of myself at her age.Difference being,I was doing the Colin Kaepernick number..protesting the flag.

    If Zulaikha was my daughter,I would not be ashamed of her actions.Why should she? She's standing against racism via her hair. She's doing the right thing and I would support her to the fullest.

  5. Amazing, she`s amazing. I hope she`ll be OK in the long term and that this fight will make her stronger. I hope her movement will get bigger and bigger.


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