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Their gods, our wives

Thu, 16 Jan 2014 Source: Mensah, Solomon

By Solomon Mensah & Mavis Boamah

“When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.”

That is what the legendary wizard of literature, Chinua Achebe, tells us in his renowned novel Things Fall Apart. Indeed, if the end of the year (2013) had brought my childhood friend, who now seeks academic asylum in the Whiteman’s land home, it was never the case that he could not have seen the end of the year at that vast lands that lay beyond the boiling sea. It was, however, a way of gathering together with family and friends here under the scorching sun.

Whenever we meet, we do not merely talk of the fact that we are growing old but of the responsibilities that come with ageing as well. We are nearing thirty and marriage - like the suffering that knocks at one’s door, when you tell it there is no seat for him, tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool - stares at our faces. If you had ever seen a sanitary inspector fixedly looking at the bottom of a barrel filled with water, you would understand what I mean here. Family and friends are asking ‘when are you marrying?’

But aside the azonto-weddings that today’s Ghanaian woman is eager to embroil around her neck, a number of factors push young men like me and my friend to coil into our shells. The young Ghanaian woman (some) longing to be a white African- bleaching, shaving of eyebrow, elongating their nails, lips painting and devastating enough, the wearing of wigs. I hear common Cocoa Butter cream has recently turned a black woman into an oyibo.

Unlike cunning Kwaku Ananse who would carry all the world’s wisdom on his protruding belly, I would like to zoom in on only one of the aforementioned factors by carrying it at my back for discussion. Ladies, kindly relax and read; I have no intention of “al-shababing” you with verbal bullets.

Tell me, why do you wear wigs? How do you feel in it? Do you have any idea how you look like when in it? Well, some look nice on some heads. But as to whether it fits your head or not, wigs have some serious spiritual backgrounds that I think if you had known, you would have discarded it to the dustbin.

This is what the 020/0244 pastors won’t tell you. They are in for your money and not your salvation. Why not put aside the “I am highly favoured” mentality and follow the subsequent lines in sober reflections. Come on!

Looking through historical window, records have it that by 1580, syphilis – a sexually transmitted disease – had become one of the worst epidemics to strike Europe. William Clowes, an English Surgeon, described the number of syphilis patients who clogged London’s hospitals as “infinite multitude.” It is recorded that without antibiotics by then, victims of the disease suffered; nasty rashes, blindness, open sores, and hair loss.

Long hair was a trendy status symbol in the society. With those who had the ‘Lord to be their barber,’ battling baldness was as painful as though been told to squeeze water out of a rock. The syphilis epidemic, partly, fueled the surge in wig making. Historians referred to wig made for the bald as a shameful necessity. You see, the craze to have hair on one’s head did not start with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.

Away from the syphilis canker, at age 17, Louis XIV (1638 – 1715), the King of France sprung on his feet with the agility of a leopard and commanded 48 wig makers to save his image. What image? The desire to maintain his hair on his head. Five years later, the King of England, Charles II, is also reported to have emulated Louis’ hair restoration. Kings Abr3!

… And the history of wigs continues unabated. In this 21st century, I am yet to spot a descendant of Eve who is growing bald. I think finding a naturally-bald-woman would be as scarce as meeting a lady in her prime. Perhaps such a lady might be suffering from such hair loss related sicknesses. So again, women why do you wear wigs? Mavis Boamah is a level 200 student at the Ghana Institute of Journalism. She finds out.

I am taking a stroll through one of the principal streets of Accra. Here at one shoulder of the street, pedestrian malls stand like bull frogs in a swamp. Solomon, feet are stepping on feet and heads knocking heads as passers struggle their way through this chocked lane.

On my immediate left is a metallic store, a little bigger than the size of a lotto kiosk, filled to the brim with cosmetics. In the store are mannequins head-geared in wigs and weaves

Women, old and young, either troop in and out of the store or steal a glance at the mannequins on tenterhooks. Felicity is a 25 year old woman. I ask her why the craze for wigs; “Well for me, it adds up to my beauty. Whether it’s the bride or the corpse in wig, the product electrifies their beauty.”

For Rita Adutwumwaa and her friend Abigail, both nurses, “wearing of wigs does not only save one’s hair from breaking off but it cuts down the cost of going to the salon every week.” From what I have gathered so far, Solomon, wigs are but just another twist of fashion.

Alright Mavis, thank you.

It comes in different forms with various names. The human hair such as the Brazilian hair and other many synthetic ones; the wig caps and the hair braids. But from where do we get these wigs? Sources such as (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhzyAKAtbU4) affirm how human hairs are sacrificed to gods at Hindu temples, India. These hairs are later packaged to countries such as ours for sale to our women whom we take for wives. The most dangerous thing in relation to the sale of these hairs is that, most of the worshippers who donated their hairs to their gods do not know that their religious leaders later sell them out.

India is not the only country noted for either sacrificing human hair to gods or selling such hairs. In many other countries including Peru, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB-eOprpq-M), one’s hair could be sold in other to afford a bowl of meal.

Mavis, owing to this, whenever I see a lady in wig; whether human hair or synthetic, I jerk my head sharply like an animal that has sniffed death in the air. Perhaps, the only thing that attracts men like me is the wiggling of our ladies’ buttocks like worms in skin tights- Parental Guide (PG). Mavis, I guess you know that both the Bible and the Quran speak against one adding artificial hair to their natural hair? Please don’t ask for quotations. Let me sound here like muffled drums before your fellows twist my head for me to see my heels. But as it stands now, if I do not meet such Indian women with long natural hairs, then I may be compelled to marry one of their “gods.”

Solomon Mensah is a Sunyani-based Freelance Journalist and Mavis Boamah, a Student-Journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ). Writers’ emails: nehusthan4@yahoo.com & boamahmavis@ymail.com

Columnist: Mensah, Solomon