Edited by Azizi Powell
This pancocojams post presents information about Samburu people and showcases seven YouTube videos that document the ways that Samburu females wear their hair.
I began searching for YouTube videos on Samburu women to ascertain if the custom of wearing their hair completely shaven is still being adhered to by those women or if some Samburu women are wearing their hair in different styles, as it appears to be the case among some women of the closely related Maasai ethnic group.
As a result of watching the videos that are featured in this post and other YouTube videos of Samburu women, I believe it's incorrect to say that all contemporary Samburu women wear their hair completely shaven.
The content of this post is presented for socio-cultural purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2017/12/youtube-videos-that-showcase-multiple.html for a link to a closely related pancocojams post that showcases multiple hairstyles that are worn by Maasai women.
The comment section of that post includes some quotes from a quora.com blog post and my comments about reasons why African females wear their hair shaven.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE SAMBURU
"The Samburu are a Nilotic people of north-central Kenya that are related to but distinct from the Maasai. The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats and camels. The name they use for themselves is Lokop or Loikop, a term which may have a variety of meanings which Samburu themselves do not agree on. Many assert that it refers to them as "owners of the land" ("lo" refers to ownership, "nkop" is land) though others present a very different interpretation of the term. The Samburu speak Samburu, which is a Nilo-Saharan language. There are many game parks in the area, one of the most well known is Samburu National Reserve."...
DISCLAIMER ABOUT THESE VIDEOS:
My focus on hairstyles isn't meant to minimize the importance of other topics that are addressed in these videos such as the efforts to eradicate the traditions of female genital mutilation among the Samburu.
Some of these videos will be showcased separately on this blog to highlight that important topic or to highlight the Samburu cultural music and dance.
The only "research" that I've done on this subject is via the internet, and particularly via watching a number of YouTube videos.
This post isn't meant to suggest any positive or negative valuation about the custom of shaving any female's hair or any female wearing her hair in any particular hairstyle.
Furthermore, these videos aren't meant to represent all of the various ways that Samburu females wore or now wear their hair.
I'm not a hair stylist. Therefore, I may have used incorrect terms for the examples of hairstyles that I've noted which are shown in these videos. Additions and corrections are welcome.
Any information about this topic is welcome in this post's comment section below. Thank you.
Example #1: Samburu Women Cultural Dance
Kenya CitizenTV, Published on Aug 12, 2008
Some examples of non-shaven hairstyles in this video:
1.41 in this video shows a woman wearing her hair in a very short natural ("afro").
2:03 and 3.38 of this video shows a woman with her hair straightened (by chemicals or heat) and worn in ponytail in the back.
Example #2: SAMBURU WOMEN SONGS WESTGATE.MP4
daniel letoiye, Published on Dec 17, 2011
Most of the women in this video wear their hair shaven or very closely cropped . However, as shown at __ in this video, the elderly woman wears her hair in what Jamaicans and other people nowadays would call "locks" ("dreadlocks") and a young woman wears her hair in what African Americans would either call "locks" or a "curly 'fro".
Example #3: Samburu Women's Conference
Dr. J. L. Williams, Published on Jan 8, 2014
This video shows a few women wearing their hair in short cropped naturals or in straightened hair worn in one ponytail in the back.
Example #4: Power Breakfast: Samburu culture and traditions
Kenya CitizenTV, Published on Sep 30, 2016
Power Breakfast: Samburu culture and traditions
The women in this video wear their hair in various types of braided hairstyles as shown in the title photograph of this video. Usually such braided hairstyles are created by augmenting the female's natural hair with hair weaves or hair extensions.
Also, note that the woman talking at 20:02 in this video has a gap in the middle of the lower row of her teeth. I've noticed this custom in a number of videos of Samburu women and Maasai women and men, sometimes with the gap also in the middle of the upper row of teeth. My guess is that having a gap in the middle of one's teeth is a traditional sign of beauty, however I can't find anything on the internet that refers to this custom and I don't know if this custom is still being followed by contemporary urbanized Samburu.
Example #5 - WARNING: The beginning of this video includes brief scenes of topless women. Also, there are a few instances of profanity in the narration of this video.
The Land of No Men: Inside Kenya's Women-Only Village
Broadly, Published on Sep 9, 2015
Where the foothills of Mount Kenya merge into the desert, the people of Samburu have maintained a strict patriarchy for over 500 years in northern Kenya. That is, until 25 years ago, when Rebecca Lolosoli founded Umoja village as a safe haven for the region's women. Umoja, which means "unity" in Swahili, is quite literally a no man's land, and the matriarchal refuge is now home to the Samburu women who no longer want to suffer abuses, like genital mutilation and forced marriages, at the hands of men.
Throughout the years, it has also empowered other women in the districts surrounding Samburu to start their own men-excluding villages. Broadly visited Umoja and the villages it inspired to meet with the women who were fed up with living in a violent patriarchy.
Click https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/kenya-s-umoja-village-sisterhood-preserves-past-prepares-future-n634391 for more information and another video about Umoja village in Kenya. Additional information about this village is found online.
Examples of some of the non-shaven hairstyles that are shown in this video:
Rebecca Lolosoli, the founder and leader of Umoja village wears her hair in a relatively short natural (afro), as seen in this clip at 4:25 in this video.
At 20:27 in this video, the narrator speaks to a Samburu women who has a short hair style that might be the result of her hair being chemically straightened.
At 24:05 in this video, one woman in the group wears her hair in what African Americans would call a natural (afro) and one woman in the group wears her hair (chemically or hot comb) straightened in a ponytail in the back.
At 24:41 in this video, the narrator speaks to a Samburu women who wears her hair in micro braids down below her shoulder.
Also, note that 1:00-1:26 of this video features a clip of former United States President Barack Obama speaking about the need to eradicate the traditions of female genital mutilation and child marriage in Kenya, East Africa and elsewhere in the world.
Example #6: Samburu Lenkupae Traditional African Wedding
Meredith Beal, Published on Nov 9, 2016
Glimpse of a traditional Samburu wedding in Kenya. Samburu are a Nilotic people of north-central Kenya that are related to but distinct from the Maasai. Nearly 4,000 people attended the wedding including members of Maasai communities from all over
The women in this video wear their hair in multiple hairstyles, including in completely shaven, various straightened hairstyles including wearing a "bun" hairpiece on the top of their hair, natural hairstyles including short naturals (afros), and wearing hair weaves/extensions.
Example #7: UCHAGUZI- St. Joseph Catholic Church Choir - South Horr Samburu
Verony Productions, Published on Jan 16, 2017
A number of females in this video wear their hair unshaven and in various styles.
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