#WomenWithShortHair. Meet Rosebella Abok

Stephen Ouma
Jul 11, 2022
3 min read

I’m now just learning about the texture of my hair. The much younger Bella went to the salon accompanied by mummy and my sister, Achieng. Those visits are recollections of a salonist who sought to accomplish straightened hair, most of the time using heating elements. My sister seemed to not feel the pain and discomfort that I did. Her hair is thicker and her scalp is definitely not as sensitive as mine. These hair comparison conversations between my sister and I continue into our thirties.

When I was about seven years old, my sister and I caught something at school that warranted hair cuts. My sister's hair grew faster than mine. When mine got to a desirable height, my elder brother took an interest in my mane. He would style it for me. I actually have a photo of my hair at eight years old, styled by him.

In my teenage years in a girls boarding school, we were required to wear our hair straightened and pushed backwards during the weekdays. On Saturdays we could style it differently. I would creatively braid my hair, much to the interest of my schoolmates. I recall with fondness how I was sought after on Friday evenings.

I kept my hair natural most of my campus life. When I was 22, I tried out relaxed hair for a while but went back to my natural hair shortly after. I tried out a red-dyed Mohawk in 2009, something I enjoyed and had fun with.The interesting thing about how I wear my hair now is that it has become a conversation starter. I am also comfortable speaking with people I’ve just met. I cut my hair short and dyed it red in March. When I walked into a room I would immediately see the expression on people's faces; surprise and curiosity mostly. The conversations that have followed have been very enriching. We’ve traded hair stories, most-daring-things stories, and everything from how spouses, friends and bosses respond to our decisions.

People say that when a woman cuts her hair, there must be something monumental happening in their life. When we cut and dye our hair, well…
I love the song by India Arie,  “I am not my hair”. I can literally relate to the title. Whether I wear my hair long or short, natural or texturised, my hair is not my definitive. It’s part of who I am. I am so much more!!

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