Actress Mmabatho Montsho surprised us all on Valentine’s Day when she posted a picture of her new look on Instagram with the caption, “My wish this Valentine’s Day is that all kinds of love & consensual unions be respected & celebrated. I also wish courage upon those in unloving situations to free themselves. Happy Valentine’s Day friends.”
Making the Big Chop is a big deal for women all over the world. Women make this transition for many reasons, but most have this sentiment in common: it’s liberating!
“Cutting off my hair symbolised bravery for me!” Simone Thomas (25) says. “I cut off all my relaxed and chemically processed hair and I now rock my teeny weeny Afro (TWA). It was nagging at me, challenging me, calling me to be brave and embrace my natural hair in all its glory. I transitioned in 2011, but after six months my natural texture started showing more and more, so I went back to my relaxer. My hair was soft, thick and shiny. Then I fell back into the habit of relaxing!” But she persevered. “Fast-forward: it’s a year later and I now wear my hair naturally! I made the Big Chop (BC) on 30 January 2015 after not relaxing my hair for only two months. My natural hair was as short as my pinkie and it’s grown to a length twice the size of my index finger.”
After the death of her six-month-old son, Jacklynne Jaftha (34) was more than ready for a new beginning. “I gave it a lot of thought and decided to make the Big Chop − so much freedom! For me, it was a journey of self-discovery, getting to know and love myself. But it didn’t come without its frustration. Nevertheless, I’m happy about my decision and pleasantly surprised that my husband loves his kroes-kop wife’s hair!”
Mercia Lategan (25) tells of her decision to go short. “I’ve been through multiple obstacles in my life such as abuse, disappointment and hardship. For a long time, I allowed my circumstances to define me, imprisoned by the words ‘ugly duckling’. I realised I was defined by my hair that was relaxed, dyed and exposed to extreme heat. It was the only gratification of beauty taught by society. My hair just refused to grow. On 1 October 2013 I’d had enough and decided to go for the Big Chop.”
Another woman whose life changed the day she cut her hair is 22-year-old Shazia Jodá. “I had the big cut in 2013. I remember it was a Friday − the day I got my driver’s licence. For me, it symbolised letting go of everything I’d been hiding behind. I lost so much weight and wanted to physically state to myself (and the world), ‘Hello, I am here.’”
“Once my hair was off I felt so free!” Shazia adds. “I felt less heavy and even joked with my friends that my hair carried secrets and situations, therefore making it heavier on me!”
Sharleen Williams (32) would gladly recommend it to anyone who, like her, suffered the consequences of a relaxer in the name of having “better hair”. “If your hair is no longer the glory it should be and you’re tired of broken, limp, lifeless hair that needs pomades and hairsprays to make it look attractive, then liberate yourself from wanting to look like someone you were never meant to look like,” she says. “The road will be hard but it will be worth it. Once you understand your hair − not the hair you have when it’s relaxed − you’ll be the happiest person!”