African Hairstyles back in time



“The hairstyle for next week is……”


Who can remember that phrase from their secondary school days?For me,I couldn’t have forgotten, It was after all a source of torture for me!The few times I did hear it-I skipped assembly a lot, they announced new hairstyles every Friday and the day before every holiday-the first thing that came out of my mouth was a groan.I always hated braiding my hair because it always hurt afterwards-my hair and butt(the stool was very hard) I was very restless and didn’t like sitting for too long.

I was in the market today when a woman walked by me. What caught my attention and got me staring as she walked past-even turning around to get a better look -wasn’t the fact that she had virtually no eyebrows(shaved off…on purpose), it wasn’t the fact that she was  attempting-quite unsuccessfully I might add-to pluck a wedgie from her butt(that is practically normal where I live)and it definitely wasn’t the fact that she then used said hand to pick up a spoon and scoop some food for her customers(she is/was a food vendor)

Nope, what got me staring was her hair, particularly the way it was styled, I hadn’t seen that particular hairstyle-on an adult- in  a LONG LONG time, it reminded me of my childhood when the hairdresser would sit on a bench and then proceed to pull my head right under her “iro” (traditional sort of wrapper used as a skirt, you wrap around your waist)while I sat on a really low stool(Ahh…fond memories. NOT.)That same hairdresser I told you threatened me with a comb, remember her?

It was like her hair opened my eyes because after that I started noticing more of those “ancient” hairdos I was telling you about. Some of them I remember from my primary and secondary school days,we weren’t allowed to use extensions at all. I got some pictures by trolling around my hairdressers place.

I literally waited in her shop until someone made the style I wanted a picture of(I waited a long time*hint*days*and no, I didn’t sleep in her shop,I have my dignity you know*hmmn* flashback to me begging customers to make a style*grins*)and one was by yours truly(didn’t you notice my head?It has a very distinct shape, you know)

All these were before I discovered if I had done my research well,I could have found some online!

So the pictures are finally here for you to sit back and enjoy(hey why did I have to do all the hard work?!?!)





Shuku(Also referred to as suku,means basket):This hairstyle is one of the most ancient hairstyles in Nigeria and is still quite popular.In ancient times,only queens were allowed to make this hairstyle as it was only for royalty.Oh well,I am royalty! ;D



Koroba– This hair style was designed to resemble an overturned (upside down) pot or basket.It was my least favorite growing up because it required me to sit on a really low stool,facing the hairdresser and she would then proceed to tuck my head under(yup,I said under) her wrapper and some questionable smells were emanating from down there*shudder*


Photo from Google,if anyone knows where exactly,let me know


Kuli Kuli(now popularly known as bantu knots): When I heard the name bantu knots, I was like “what is that”.I could not believe my eyes when I finally searched out a picture and I found Kuli Kuli staring right back at me!There are different variations of this hairstyle,as shown in the pictures. Kuli Kuli is a Northern Nigerian snack that is made from dry roasted peanuts/groundnuts. A pictorial of this is up on my Facebook page.


Ipako Elede(Pig’s nape):The braiding starts from the back of the head(nape)and eventually ends at the front.I don’t think I ever made this hairstyle.





Moremi(Named after Queen Moremi Ajasoro of Ile Ife): It would be a crime to not include this!This hairstyle was named after Queen Moremi. The picture explains the style.You can read about the legend of Queen Moremi on Google.



Patewo (A direct translation of this is “clap your hands”):As the name implies,the hair is plaited horizontally from both sides of the head in such a way that the ends meet in an imitation of clapping hands.I think this was one of my most favourite hair styles growing up.It kind of reminded me of a sea horse!A variation of this hair style is Three Jolly Friends, a combination of Patewo in the middle, Kolese at the back and plaited bangs at the front.




Ojokopeti(Rain is not beating the ears): The braiding runs horizontally from one side of the head and ends close to the other ear.


Sourced from Google


Ajankolokolo(more recently known as tomato):This very unique hairstyle was made on hair that wasn’t long enough to braid.The hair was parted into small sections and wrapped at the base with thread.


Sourced from Google


Kolese(means “legless” a.k.a All back or cornrows):This style is very popular in primary and secondary schools.The hair is parted in numerous vertical rows and plaited from the fore head to the nape.It is the direct opposite of Ipako Elede.


Sourced from Google


Orisabunmi:This is a combination of two hairstyles,Shuku and Koroba. The hair is parted in a circle at the centre of the head.The circle is braided into Shuku while the other surrounding parts are braided downwards towards the perimeter of the head into Koroba.




Calabar(Popularly known as Bob Marley): The hair is parted into little individual sections and braided.This hairstyle is very popular among school girls,(although my school never did call this hairstyle)we loved it because it showed off our long hair.


Sourced from Google


Coverpot: I unfortunately couldn’t get the traditional name for this,but I’ll keep looking.This hair style is a combination of two hairstyles, kolese and shuku and as the name  suggests, resembles a covered pot. The braiding technique used is called “didi”


If you know the traditional name,please let me know


Kiko(African threading or as I used to call it, “ancient torture device”): Another of the very ancient hairstyles.This style was used to stretch out the hair to make it easier to braid and also to promote hair growth.



And that’s all!…at least all I could find…for now-dum dum…


Please note that this is the Nigerian Edition of “African Hairstyles back in time”

What do you think?Did It bring back memories? Let me know in the comments section!

Correct me if I made any mistakes.

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Byee 😉




4 Comments Add yours

  1. justvou says:

    That first shuku is the business! Can’t wait to get that done on my hair when I go home.
    I went to a boarding school where they didn’t dictate hair styles, however junior students had to have their hair cut and then senior students were given the option of growing their hair. I stayed in short cuts until i left that school, I know remember the horrors of facing a woman’s crotch for at least an hour each saturday… lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mide says:

      LOL yea that is my head, glad you like it 😉 .I would have gone to a boarding school,but my mom completely refused, she said by the time I graduate, I’d be as thin as a stick!But I did end up chopping my hair in my final year,I got tired of braiding it.When I did this Shuku, I was allowed to sit on an actual chair because I was deemed “old enough”,so its not as bad as I remember😂


      1. justvou says:

        Oh lucky you! I wonder how I would have turned out had I gone to a day school.


      2. Mide says:

        I wouldn’t say “lucky”…day school isn’t easy either,especially since it was a christian school…very strict 😐

        Liked by 1 person

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