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I had dreadlocks – beautiful, long, authentic dreadlocks. And I chopped them off on my own, one by one. Why? Honestly… It was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s fault.


I was reading Americanah and was drenched by Chimamanda’s words from page 1. She has a way of telling a story that is so… me. With each “mhm” and “dude” shout, I kept feeling a conviction of wanting to make a change for myself – specifically to embrace my hair for the first time. To embrace who I truly am.

I had been thinking of having an afro for a long time, as a matter of fact before starting my dreads journey I really wanted an afro that Erykah Badu would sing about. I kept toying with the idea and asked my boyfriend numerous times in a jokey way and he could never say yes because he met me with my dreads, so he could not imagine me without them.

But on this very brave and hot day, I decided I needed to make this move for myself. Whilst thinking about it I came to a deep revelation:

Many people put so much emphasis on my dreads as my prime identifier. It would go something like this: “just ask/go to Taffy” (short for Tafadzwa). The person will ask “which Taffy?” and be responded to with “the one with the dreads.” So you can imagine the smoke that was rising when I cut my dreads and people didn’t know how to refer to me anymore.


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At first it didn’t bug me, but as I have been growing deeper into my roots and self-identification I realized that this was definitely a BIG deal. I really was my hair to others. My dreads took the spotlight and not my heart. Why couldn’t people refer to me as “the one with a heart the size of heaven” or “the one whose smile melts every stress and anxiety”? Why couldn’t people refer to me as Tafadzwa – the one created to bring love, light and happiness to all?

We have become so accustomed with associating people with traits and mistakenly believe that is who they are e.g. the one with the thick beard, the one with the big boobs, etc.

So when I sat with so much fire in my heart from this soliloquy, I pardoned myself from calling my boyfriend to ask or warn him of what is about to happen because I knew he would bring some doubt (let’s face it, in my life I only had braids, long relaxed hair, and dreads. So I had no clue as to what true shape my head has or the actual texture of my hair). My mother wasn’t in the house either for verification on my decision so I took it as a sign, grabbed my big red scissors, and cut the first dread in the middle of my head (just in case) and screamed… with a big smile on my face and continued till each and every one of them was off. It was great to see them all individually in my hands.

Standing there in all my short, coiled hair glory felt PHENOMENAL. “I did it” – that’s all I could say after that. I done did it.

That was 3 December 2015. Today I am still loving it much more than my dreads actually. Sure I miss them when I look at old pictures of myself but the moment I look in the mirror and touch my short soft fro, I don’t regret it one bit. And on the even brighter side, after my boyfriend cooled down, he fell for it too. With him being a graphic designer, he was finding it difficult to illustrate his Queen because of my dreads overpowering my features. Now with my short hair he says he can finally illustrate me because my features stand out more and I am looking “beautifuller and beautifuller (I know) by the day”.

My name is Tafadzwa, I am 22 going onto 35 looking 19 (apparently). I am not my hair (thank you India Arie), I am about to change my life (thank you Coco Chanel), I am not the Vice President of the Natural Hair Front (thank you too Solange) but I am me (thank you Dad).

For any woman that has had their soul tied to her do and wants to embrace herself fearlessly, just do it. Run, cut, embrace, love it and yourself… because you deserve to love the true you.

Written by Tafadzwa L Muzuwa

IG: @teaandnickles

Blue Bird: @TryTAFADZWA


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