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.
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."
So...you 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