African head wraps not just for a bad hair day

not just for a bad hair day

Stabroek News: Lifestyle - - Front Page - Olu­a­toyin Wil­liams

It might be sea­sonal, but African head wraps are very much a go­ing thing in Guyana even though many who step out in the head­gear are more en­am­oured of the fash­ion than of the cul­ture and tra­di­tion. Or­di­nar­ily Guyanese women would not be seen walk­ing down the street wear­ing head wraps, but ac­cord­ing to de­signer Anetha Daniels, who spe­cial­izes in cre­at­ing African wear for both women and men, many would choose the wraps for func­tions such as wed­dings and fu­ner­als. Dur­ing the month of Au­gust, and par­tic­u­larly on Au­gust 1 when Eman­ci­pa­tion Day is cel­e­brated, Guyanese can be seen sport­ing their African wear, com­plete with the head wraps. This head­gear is not only worn by women in many African coun­tries but is also pop­u­lar among African Amer­i­cans. “You know, these head wraps have mean­ing and I don’t want to look silly be­cause I don’t know the mean­ing,” Anetha said, and had she not been coaxed she might have ended the in­ter­view there. It seems that many per­sons who cre­ate African head wraps in Guyana are not keen on talk­ing on the sub­ject, be­cause they do not know the his­tor­i­cal/cul­tural mean­ing at­tached. In the case of Anetha, who is also the owner of Anita’s El­e­gance Africa Bou­tique on Char­lotte Street, and learnt the art of African head-wrap­ping in Lon­don, many times the wraps are im­pro­vised and may have no tra­di­tional mean­ing at­tached to them. When one sits in front of Lana Rutherford, who is em­ployed by Anetha specif­i­cally to do African head wraps, she en­quires about the func­tion they want to at­tend and then wraps to suit. Lifestyle saw her in ac­tion re­cently and the deft­ness of her hands was amaz­ing as she quickly folded the cloth, and in a jiffy, the model was sit­ting with an el­e­gant head wrap perched on her head. She was taught the art by Anetha, who wrapped heads in Lon­don and Georgetown for over 20 years, but since she was di­ag­nosed with Lu­pus, Lana moved to the front and has been han­dling her­self well.

Even as rain pelted down out­side, Lana moved from cloth to cloth, all bought from au­then­tic African stores in Lon­don, Anetha said, cre­at­ing style, el­e­gance, roy­alty and beauty all rolled in one, sit­ting on the head of her boss who per­formed the duty of model. Anetha re­called that while in Lon­don she had an African friend who in­tro­duced her to the head wraps as at the time she was de­sign­ing African cloth­ing but with no ac­com­pa­ny­ing head wrap. “She said you ei­ther use the same fab­ric that they are wear­ing or you do like the Nige­ri­ans and use a dif­fer­ent cloth to wrap,” Anetha re­called, adding that it was that friend who taught her how to wrap. Point­ing to var­i­ous pieces of cloth packed neatly on a shelf, Anetha boasted that they all orig­i­nated in Nige­ria. “But you see what we do, we just make up our own styles in head-wrap­ping. We don’t know the in-depth mean­ing be­cause you see with these sort of Nige­rian head wraps there are ones to tell when you are sin­gle; there are ones to tell you this woman is mar­ried; there are ones that tell you are a widow; there are ones to say you are a vir­gin,” Anetha said. Her daugh­ter is mar­ried to a Nige­rian and his mother has in­di­cated that the younger gen­er­a­tion is un­aware of the sig­nif­i­cance as the older gen­er­a­tion did not pass the tra­di­tion down. And while Nige­ri­ans would use any cloth to wrap their heads, Anetha said Ghana­ians—she has vis­ited Ghana— would mostly use the cloth of the out­fit they are wear­ing to wrap their heads. “But not so with Nige­ri­ans, they are mad with fash­ion and if you go to a Nige­rian func­tion you will get eye-turn with all these dif­fer­ent colours blend­ing in,” she said. While Lana and Anetha charge $1,000 per head wrap (ap­point­ments must be made) they re­vealed that the wrap can be slipped off, kept in the box and worn again. Anetha Daniels is also a fash­ion de­signer spe­cial­iz­ing in African-wear.

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