WITH one in four women in Harare donning a weave coming from as far as Brazil and India, shocking details have emerged that some of the weaves have maggots or worms.
Some people believe natural hair is being shaved off dead people while others think the weaves carry with them contagious diseases of original owners.
The Kenyan Standard reported recently that a Kenyan woman suffering from severe headaches learned that her pain was caused by flesh-eating worms living in her hair weave and burrowing into her skull.
There is now strong speculation that some human hair used for producing the weaves was being collected from dead people, some of them with contagious diseases.
As for the thousands of women in Zimbabwe, the weaves case has caused quite a scare as questions continue to be asked, chiefly the origins of the hair.
The WeekendPost discovered that some Indian weaves come from a temple where congregants sacrifice their hair.
According to the Daily Mail website, the Hindu temple of Tirumala Venkateswara on the coastal state of Andhra Pradesh receives thousands of Indian women every day and a few men who offer up their hair as a gifts to Lord Venkateswara, the presiding deity.
The temple is said to be the starting point and principal provider for an industry that has seduced celebrities the world over, and those rich enough to buy human hair.
And the trade in human hair is booming.
Temple hair, as it is known, has already found its way to hundreds of British salons, where it is sold in the form of real hair extensions costing up to $6 000.
One leading manufacturer boasts that hordes of celebrities, including Mischa Barton, Eva Longoria and Frankie Sandford of The Saturdays have used its products.
Temple hair has also found its way into Africa and Zimbabwe through agents who buy and sell hair from China, Britain and the USA.
The hair found in Zimbabwe is not of the high premium quality but none the less it is real human hair.
To fans of extensions, the appeal of human hair is obvious: it both looks and feels better than the synthetic additions made famous by those richly endowed.
Moreover, the quality of Indian hair, which is strong and has for the most part never been subjected to Western shampoos, is known to be unusually good.
It is safe to say that the temple makes millions of dollars from the piles of thick black locks. Yet the women who once possessed the hair — many of them peasants — receive not a single dollar donating their hair, instead, as a religious sacrifice.
History of the origins of Indian hair has been laid bare and some hairdressers in Harare say one actually needs to pray before wearing the weaves to do away with evil spirits that might be attached to the hair.
Given the history of Indian hair, Stanley Madzura a hairdresser with a high end salon that often works with premium hair, said clients should be careful when using the hair.
“I have heard stories of people who shave their hair at a temple as a way of sacrificing. We don’t know what they say when they are shaving the hair maybe they direct all their troubles to go with the hair such that the hair would be cursed. It is better to first pray before you wear the weaves.”
Barbra Chikosi, owner of Red Rose Hair Salon said it was false that Indian hair comes with maggots.
“It is not true that the weaves come with maggots. Users of weaves do not maintain them such that they end up having lice and other flies. Women should learn to wash their weaves and oil them as well as comb them.”
However Felistas Chiname, a hairdresser from Harare, said women should be careful when using Indian hair.
“I heard that some Indian hair comes from a temple where it would have been sacrificed by women seeking different deliverance from their different challenges.
“I think this hair would be cursed and it can cause problems to the women who wear it.”
Chiname, however said she enjoys wearing Brazilian hair because it lasts for a long time as one can remove and use it again after some time.
Meanwhile, another hairdresser Clara Motsi said she does not really care where the hair comes from as long as it is serving the purpose of making her look beautiful.
“These weaves are really safe. We are using them and I have never had any complaints from my clients,” said Motsi.
In Zimbabwe, some churches have banned the use of weaves because they say they are cursed.
An apostolic sect church has banned its female congregates from wearing weaves arguing that they are cursed.
Women at a famous Pentecostal church are now favouring short natural hair as they believe weaves are cursed. - Margaret Chinowaita, Community Affairs Editor