Black Female Identities in Harare: The Case of Young Women with Dreadlocks
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The construction of post-colonial African female identities has faced a number of challenges. Colonial ideologies and African patriarchal traditions threaten to stifle African women. African cities have become sites of struggle as black women strive to express themselves in spaces that are defined in masculine terms. This article examines the theme of black female identities in Harare. It focuses on how some young women have cultivated dreadlocks as a signifier of their consciousness and of their own identities. It outlines how for these women dreadlocks are more than just a fashion statement or a hairstyle. Dreadlocks seek to defy colonial images of blackness as inferior to whiteness. They also challenge dominant notions of being a “presentable” woman. The article highlights reasons that have been put forward to resist the cultivation of dreadlocks by women. Using historical, literary and phenomenological approaches, the study highlights the complex factors that influence the formulation of black female identities in a cosmopolitan setting.
Additional Citation InformationChitando, Ezra and Chitando, Anna. (2004), ''Black Female Identities in Harare: The Case of Young Women with Dreadlocks'', Zambezia, vol.31, no.1, pp. 1-21.
University of Zimbabwe Publications