On A Normal Affliction, my main mission is to debunk different ideals of normality that seem to flourish at the moment. Since last year, the topic of baldness on women has intrigued me because, although it is becoming more and more common, people still have very strong reactions to it. Being able to speak with women who have made this choice has been especially brilliant because of the vastly different reasons each person has had behind their decision.
For Nandipha Fumbata, having long hair took up a lot of time and resources. During her undergraduate studies, her boyfriend asked her if she ever considered cutting her hair. “What? No,” she had laughed. That afternoon, she thought “Why not?” and cut it.
“I love the freedom,” says Nandi Fumbata, who will never look back after cutting her hair.
I also asked both women what made them feel the most strong. For Nande, it is her education. She is currently completing her PhD in Economics. “It’s amazing how other people treat you differently as you become more and more educated.” She is a Christian so her faith in God is where she finds strength as well.
For Orateng Tsokolibane, the last time she had short hair was in primary school. “I was sort of teased for it,” she said. It’s the idea that having longer hair makes you more feminine and pretty but that is juts someone’s standards. “Cutting my hair was actually a pretty huge thing but I’m so glad I did,” said Ora.
Beyond the so-called feminine beauty standards of others, Ora Tsokolibane loves her hair short.
Ora takes a moment to formulate an answer to the source of her strength. For her, it’s getting as much knowledge as possible in terms of different cultures and worldviews. “Knowing that just because something has always been like it is doesn’t mean it should stay that way.” Her own understanding that she has the choice to do certain things or not also gives her strength – not allowing others to dictate her life because she is a woman. “My beliefs as well,” she says. ”You need something which grounds you.”