place a great emphasis on their hair styles and hair care. But beyond the current fashion trends, the history of hair styles has a social and cultural significance intrinsic to each beautiful strand.
As in most African societies, hair functioned as a carrier of messages. Within these societal cultures, hair was an integral part of a complex language system. Ever since African (or Angolan) civilizations bloomed, hairstyles have been used to indicate a person's marital status, age, religion, ethnic identity, wealth and rank within a community. In some cultures, a person's surname and geographical origin could be ascertained simply by examining the hair because each clan had its own hair style.
offering to braid someone else's hair was a way of asking them to be your friend. Hair braiding sessions are a time of share confidences and laughter; the circle of women who do each other's hair are friends bound together in a fellowship.
the hairdresser always held a special place in community life. The hairdresser was often considered the most trustworthy individual in society.
Clearly, hair has never been a purely cosmetic attribute for Angolans or for Africans in general. It is a testament to the strength of these that most of the same rituals and beliefs regarding the hair remain in traditional Angolan societies today. (Hair story: untangling the roots of Black hair in America. By Ayana D Byrd, Lori L Tharps)