Traditional hairstyles in ancient Africa not only communicated social messages but also had aesthetic significance. Elaborate hairstyles often integrated, beads, pieces of wood, feathers, cowrie shells, stones and even extensions made of sinew, tree bark strips, goat hair, etc. They were also groomed with fatty substances, beeswax, clay, etc.
1. A Fulani woman with a Mohawk coiffure and other hair accessories.
© Afrika Museum, Berg en Dal
2. One of the Akenge women with hair shaped like a fan in the typical style of Zande, Democratic Republic of Congo. This hairstyle involved braiding their own hair with strands of foreign objects in the shape of a disc.
© Hair in African Art and Culture, Edit by Roy Sieber and Frank Herreman, The Museum for African Art, New York, 2000
3. Women from Mbalantu of Wambo group in Namibia, who have lengthened their hair to the ankles using extensions made of sinew.
© M. Schettler, 1940
4. Mangbetu hairstyles were really unique and artful, more so as this tribe from the northern edge of Zaire practiced head elongation or skull shaping.
5. Another Mangbetu traditional coiffure with decorative ivory pins.
6. Traditional pre-wedding hairstyle of women from a Burkina Faso tribe in West Africa
7. A traditional Masaai hairstyle from Kenya.
8. The Amasunzu hairstyles of Rwanda.
9. The traditional Himba hairstyles of Kaokoland, Namibia.
10. The Bantu knots or Zulu knots.