History of the ‘Afro’ hairstyle

C Stevenson, Edgemead

In response to Mike Thurgood’s letter (“Racism in schools,” Tabletalk, September 7).

I’d have thought that requiring Xhosa-speaking learners to converse among themselves in English, would be a big help to them in improving their English – practice makes perfect – and this, in turn, would considerably benefit them in their schoolwork.

It might be more difficult for them now, but it would help them in the long run.

As TV’s Dr Phil puts it, teenagers can’t see around corners.

Mr Thurgood doesn’t mention hairstyles, but that issue began the current dispute and has dominated it, so I did some research.

Based on Wikipedia, the “Afro” style only began in the 19th century and was worn by white women, who were, in fact, seen as pure examples of the white race.

So the very opposite of black African.

At most, there were small groups in Africa which sported a similar style. And there has been opposition in black Africa to that style.

The situation regarding braids is a little different, in that there is a long tradition of braids among some black Africans.

But even here the earliest evidence of braids is from Europe, over 25 000 years ago, and even the earliest evidence from Africa is from Egypt.

Furthermore, braiding is time-consuming, so it can hardly be described as “natural”.