So there has been a lot of noise about Adele wearing her hair in Bantu Knots, and a Jamaican flag bikini and the internet went wild over accusations of cultural appropriation.
Firstly, Bantu knots are not from Jamaica, they have nothing to do with the culture or country, so I am so confused as to why Adele is being accused of any “Cultural Appropriation” in relation to Jamaica. Or maybe her crime is wearing a Jamaican Bikini, because the hairstyle she is wearing belongs to a small Bantu speaking country called Zimbabwe in the heart of Southern Africa.
Let me put it out there, that when it comes to the Bantu Knots in Adele’s hair, she did no cultural appropriation because the women who are the owners of this rather iconic hairstyle, called Zimbabweans, wants absolutely nothing to do with the style. It is rather a disgrace to them. They do not even know that it is their cultural traditional hairstyle, when they hear the term “Bantu knots” they think it belongs to other fancy people not Shona speaking Zimbabweans.
The women would rather wear hideous looking Brazilian wigs than wear a Bantu hairstyle in their own natural hair. It’s a pitiful story really…
Whilst the world is in an uproar over Adele wearing the Bantu knots, and calling the whole thing some sort of Jamaican culture appropriation, the word Zimbabwe has never been mentioned in the saga, where the hairstyle actually originated from…the people of Zimbabwe themselves don’t even know that it is their cultural hairstyle. That’s how sad it is…
When I constantly say Zimbabwe is a cursed little Kingdom with no redemption, these are some of the things I mean, even the credit which rightfully belongs to the fallen Kingdom goes to Jamaica, and in this case sometimes South Africa.
Being Zimbabwean born, and Bantu by origin, I absolutely adore Bantu hairstyles, I even once did a spoken word performance on Bantu Hairstyles at Bournemouth University for Black History Month in 2015. I love the Bantu hairstyles because I have worn them since I was a little girl, that’s the only glory of my hair I have ever known…
So I can’t help but weigh in on this Adele Bantu knots saga, because I see a whole lot of proper cultural appropriation behind the cultural appropriation accusations. Firstly, Bantu knots have nothing to do with Jamaica or Jamaican heritage. Bantu knots as they are called today, originated from obviously the Bantu people, the people of SUB SAHARAN AFRICA. Over 4000 years ago, the Bantu speaking people migrated from West Africa, finally settling in Southern Africa, where the Bantu Knots originated from.
However, though a lot of credit is given to their origins being from the Zulu people of South Africa, this is not exactly the entire truth of the matter. A lot of credit is given to South Africa, because it seems to be the focal point of Southern Africa, so modern historians like to give credit to South Africa, when they are referring to anything Southern African, especially Zimbabwe, a “sister” of South Africa.
However, for me personally, as a historian who normally conducts my own research, when it comes to who the Bantu people really are, what I know is their best representation is the Shona people from Zimbabwe. Shona is the most widely spoken Bantu language to date.
The greatest monument or works of the Bantu people in history is the Great Zimbabwe, which was built by Bantu people when they settled in Zimbabwe in the 11th century. The City of Great Zimbabwe and Monomotapa, which is now in ruins, is one of the greatest mysteries of this world, like the Egyptian pyramids, no one can understand how the Bantu people skillfully build the stone walls city, Dzimba Dzemabwe.
Monomotapa/Mwenemutapa/Kingdom of Mutapa was the last great African Empire. Chancellor Williams wrote, “One might wonder of its beauty, how the Garden of Eden, surpassed it?” The Vakaranga immigrants who developed the Empire of Monomotapa followed the general practice of establishing effective political rule, while promoting economic development. There was much desire for perfection and beauty in the Kingdom of Monomotapa, so the women came up with beautiful hairstyles with patterns to elaborate their beauty.
My father, “Chief Mutota” a direct descendant of the Mutapa Empire, of true royal blood, has always wished I come out and carry the beauty ,pride and identity of the lost and forgotten Kingdom of Mutapa as the biblical royal daughter of Ophir, pledging that his blessing as a father is always upon me, but this is an honour I have always declined, as glorious as the history of Bantu people of Mutapa Empire was, I have no desire to bring back that pagan glory, so I chose my husband’s identity, culture and people rather.
“….and at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him. The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts, the richest of the people…” Psalm 45.
As a woman who was born in Zimbabwe, but absolutely hate this country because of the pagan gods they worship, and the their cultures which are so abusive, especially to the girl child, I only took three things with me when I left Zimbabwe, 1) The Bantu hairstyles, not just the knots, 2) The staple food, I love sadza, and 3) The shona names of my 4 oldest children, Nakai, Shingi, Kunashe and Fadzi. These are the only three things I took from Zimbabwe and which will always be a part of me, apart from that I do not follow any Canaanite culture or traditions of the shona/bantu people, especially the worship of pagan god Mwari, and their worship of animals through totems. I am now Hebrew and Ashanti.
And the only home cooked food I crave when I am with child is sadza, and my Ghanaian King has learnt to cook me Zimbabwean sadza, just the way I like it, and he loves it too, and the children can’t get enough of it, especially if the King cooks it.
And yes, the Shona names of my children are so special, even Ghanaian Sonnie Badu, my favorite Ghanaian gospel artist, sings my son’s name Kunashe…
Like I said before, because of the fall of the Mutapa/Ophir Empire, anything today historically glorious from the Bantu people is ascribed to South African Zulu people, as we see happening with the Bantu Knots today.
The Bantu knots are only a variation of the original hairstyles of the Bantu people, which included parting hair in sections, and tying the hair into knots and forming patterns be it flat strands coiled in thread, or standing strands, or knots which is how kinky hair was maintained. These hairstyles are the epitome and beauty of how Zimbabwean hair is done, which I absolutely adore, and in Shona its called “mabanzi” meaning, “many buns.”
The “Bantu Knots” that everyone makes a fuss about today, worn by Khloe Kardashian, Rihanna, and recently Adele, featured in vogue magazine and other high end fashion articles are actually a variation, the least one, of the Zimbabwean original hairstyles.
The number of buns’s sections you have in the hair is determined by the length of the hair, the shorter the hair, the more the buns, the more the hair the less the buns, that’s the beauty of it. The shorter the kinky hair is, the many the buns, and the many the buns, the more artistic and original the look.
Bantu knots, are the version that was worn, or is worn for a ceremony or event. It is a style that lasts only a day. It is also very uncomfortable, and sometimes painful if done very tight, and impossible to sleep well in it, so it is an occasion Bantu hairstyle. Just like how white people or Asains do updo’s or tie their hair up in a bun for ceremonies like weddings, Bantu knots brings out the versatility of kinky hair and makes an “elegant silky look” whilst still maintaining the kinky look on the knot. It is a very original beautiful elaborate hairstyle for kinky hair.
I personally wear my hair in these original Shona/Bantu hairstyles all the time, but instead of putting the hair in knots, I put mine in “mabhunzi.” I have always worn my hair in mabhanzi, and was often mocked by Zimbabweans women that my hairstyle in this era screams poverty, like I have no money to buy Brazilian wigs.
I once went to a Zimbabwean party in the Bantu buns, years ago when I was still married to the Zimbabwean fool, and the Zimbabwean women at the party actually asked me why my hair was like that…
I always have my girls hair in “bantu buns” as I call them, as well. It is the most original manageable hairstyle out there for Afro hair. It lasts a good week or two weeks and doesn’t take a lot of time to do.
The Bantu knots, which I sometimes do on my daughters for special occasions, are literally a fancy version or variation rather of the Bantu buns. Instead of making each threaded strand flat and connected to another bun, you simply leave strand standing and coil it around the bun to make a knot. That is the most original version of Bantu Knots.
When Black Panther came out, I quickly did Bantu knots for my daughter before we went to the cinema in honor of Wakanda. Like I said, Bantu knots are meant to be an easy quick fix sleek updo for kinky hair.
Funny I always wanted to do Bantu knots for my daughter for school special occasions, but she would refuse and say the black boys would laugh at her if she ever wore Bantu knots and say her hair looks crusty and funny. My daughter’s fear of being bullied if she wore Bantu hairstyles actually came after one new girl in her school, ironically from Zimbabwe, whose family had just immigrated to the country, came to school in Milton Keynes in Bantu buns and knots. My daughter said the Zimbabwean girl was bullied so bad for her hairstyle by black boys she went into the toilet to cry.
Its tragic really, because for that reason my daughter could not wear Bantu Knots for school.
I can not stand braids on a young child, I can not stand their pagan origins either. I see no beauty in braids, I would rather have my girls in Bantu buns, at least they are learning that their own hair can be worn beautifully and stylishly, they don’t need braids or weaves to be beautiful.
What you see today is not the original version of Bantu knots, the version you see in the western magazines and on Rihanna is actually wrong. The Bantu knots we see today have been modified for mixed race hair types, which is cultural appropriation at its best. You do not use hair extensions, or give the Bantu knot a silky look to make it as though the hair is naturally straight. The knot at the top is supposed to emulate kinky hair, that’s the whole point and beauty of it.
That said, maybe its better for the hairstyle to be hijacked, misrepresented and abused by the likes of Khloe Kardashian and Adelle because the women who are supposed to own this hairstyle are the Zimbabwean women, who find the style so backward and for people in poverty.
Just last month, Rihanna was up again with her cultural appropriation and wore the Zimbabwean mabhanzi/Bantu buns. She even wore them wrong by putting a Brazilian weave at the back, distorting the beauty and meaning of this iconic hairstyle, yet Zimbabwean women were so flattered and grateful that Rihanna a superstar wore their cultural hairstyle. Yet when a woman like me wear mabhazi, they say you are poor and can’t afford a white woman’s hair.
The saddest thing is the women (most of them anyway) of Zimbabwe don’t even know who they are or their history, neither do they know where they are also going. 1) I doubt they even know that they are Bantu people. 2) They don’t even know that the Bantu knots or Bantu buns or Bantu strands are their original cultures hairstyles, which they are supposed to wear at their own weddings and marriage ceremonies. What a lost people they are, so wrtetched too. The pagan Kingdom fell indeed.
Zimbabwean women hate these Bantu hairstyles with a passion. They see it as cheap and for people with no money. For their own weddings and marriage ceremonies, instead of rocking original Bantu hairstyles, they wear these tacky horrible looking smelly wigs and weaves.
Even the Bantu once first daughter of Zimbabwe, Bona Mugabe when she had her famous wedding, chose to wear a weave, when normally she wore natural looking hairstyles.
I don’t know why black women, not just Zimbabwean women by the way, think when it is their wedding, they have to cover their hair with a Brazillian woman’s hair. I have never seen such disgraceful behavior in black women if truth be told, its like they are mad, that on their wedding day, the day they should shine in their own glory, they cover their crown with a pathetic hideous smelling wig, yes these wigs actually do smell.
As for me, I love my Bantu hairstyles, especially the Banty buns. I always wear my hair in the buns, and the King loves me so in that style. He says it makes me look “pretty”.
On my upcoming wedding, I will be a damned soul if I cover my own crown with another woman’s hair. I haven’t decided yet on what hairstyle I will wear, it will be something the King loves me in, either my dreadlocks, or just my natural hair lose, or even Bantu flat buns.
Maybe the iconic Bantu buns from Ophir /Zimbabwe/Cannaan will be only thing I take from Zimbabwe to my Hebrew/Jewish/Ashanti wedding, I love the Bantu buns more because Zimbabwean women despise them, it could be the most beautiful hair I wear at the royal wedding, and it is indeed my favorite hair.
But my King said to me, “Baby you know these Zimbabwean women love to copy, the way they copy you though…they hate you but copy you, once you make a statement at the royal wedding, they will all start wearing Bantu buns again, as if…”
And my King is right, one Zimbabwean woman called Simba who used to be my friend went to my hairdresser once and demanded my exact hairstyle, my hairdresser was so disturbed by her obsession she told me that she had never seen anything like it. My ex-sisters in law used to literally go and buy whatever hair I bought, and imitate me, I found it scary actually. I could never have a single hairstyle in peace. My “brother”‘s wife would do the same, if she saw me in a hairstyle, she would go and do the same thing, even the colors. They even took it further than copying just my hair, one Zimbabwean woman Milcah Chisale would come to my house and go and buy whatever piece of furniture I had in my house, like everything, from colors, cushions, rugs, she copied my whole house!
When I tell my King, he says, “It is the Ophir royal anointing on you.”
“Well, Zimbabwean women may start wearing the bantu buns even now, just because I am talking about them, never mind the royal wedding…” I told the King.
The Genesis Of The Revelation by
Mary-Tamar was Jean