The creativity, knowledge, and techniques of styling and cutting Black men’s hair across the African continent are
dynamic and noteworthy. For example, this traditional crest from Rwanda is called “Amasunzu” (Ah-mah-SOON-zoo). It
symbolizes strength and bravery. Below is a video about a man who continues to wear this style to carry on his
Indigenous heritage. Note what he says about high top fades: do you think he is right that they have roots from
African styles like the Amasunzu?
A Wa Tutsi man of Rwanda with the Amasunzu hairstyle
Karrayyu warriors in Ethiopia use butter to shape their styles. Their wealth is from cattle (the
source of the butter). This ceremony ("Gada") rotates authority so that everyone shares power.
In 1879 the British were defeated by the Zulu, armed with little more than spears and tactical
genius. By 1890 the Zulu had surrendered, but their dignity is still apparent in this photo from that
Wrestling (“Njom”) in Senegal is so important that we know the names of champions from the 14th
century. Hair styles, powerful amulets and magical ointments are part of the tradition.
This Namibian man’s style indicates that he is not married. Once he is hitched, he will switch to a
The Karo of Ethiopia have lost much of their land to foreign investors. Their resistance includes
keeping cultural innovation and style alive.