Last week, I was drinking a coffee with my friend Marita, searching for new trendy hairstyles on the internet, looking for the latest creation from the famous hairstylist gurus.
We spent or wasted a couple of hours on the sofa without really being satisfied by what we found.
Marita’s family is from Rwanda, a country located in central Africa, so I ended up asking her what was the hairstyles that were commonly worn in her country. But having spend all her life between Denver and Texas, she didn’t know anything about it but she promised me to ask her mother.
Two days later, we met to share a smoothy to get our daily dose of healthy vitamins while the temperature was flirting with the absolute zero and I reminded her about our last discussion.
Thanks to god, she didn’t forget to ask her mum, because what I discovered was simply stunning: the Amasunzu hairstyle!
The Amasunzu hairstyles
She showed me a couple of pictures on her Samsung S7, yes she got it before they stopped the production and banned it. And I was shocked by what I saw. Those guys in Rwanda have the most unique and creative hairstyles I have ever seen.
So I decided to investigate a bit further.
In living memory, this style has always been used in Rwanda by both women and men.
Even thought females and males wearing Amasunzu is carrying different symbolism.
For women, it was a sign of purity and virginity. So it was used only by teenagers and un-married women. Once married they would opt for an hairstyle called uruhanika that let their hair grow out freely.
In contrast, for men, the Amasunzu style symbolizes power, might and nobility. It was therefore reserved to grown men. It was mostly worn by the most fierce and respected warriors, the tribal leaders and the members of the community who enjoy the higher social status.
The Amasunzu hairstyles today
As you know, Rwanda has been torn apart by a cruel and destructive civil war during the 90’s that lead to one of the most terrific genocide in human history. The effect of this tragic war has lead Rwanda inhabitant to heal the wound rather than celebrating their culture and tradition.
Meanwhile, with the recent improvement in the country, the Rwandan youth has been rediscovering this tradition and it is gaining momentum in the society. People are eager to show their pride to re-embrace the Rwandan culture.
It’s nowdays, not uncommon to meet youngsters wearing Amasunzu in the street of Kigali.
How to do the Amasunzu style
I didn’t try yet but I showed the pictures to my hairstylist, and she was immediately captivated by this style. She couldn’t believe that this pictures were taken somewhere in the middle of Africa more than 50 years ago.
She found the styles so modern, unique and creative that she became obsessed with it.
From what I know there are more than 30 variants of Amasunzu. You get it by cutting a chunk of hair on the side and working it into a wave pattern as it grows over time.
I really thank my friend Marita for this discovery and maybe we will soon see Amazunzu styles in the american’s street.