Mbalantu Women • The African Rapunzels
Have you ever heard of Eembuvi Braids? Yes? No? Let's talk about it!
These braids were created by the Mbalantu women of Namibia. Now they can definitely teach us a thing or two about protective hairstyles and hair growth!
By the age of 12, Mbalanutu girls have their hair covered in extremely thick layers of materials such as fat, finely ground tree bark and specific oils that are mixed together. The hair is covered in it and is then braided into tiny strands and uniquely styled.
This mixture is said to be the secret to their extreme hair growth. Some Mbalauntu women have hair that touches the floor!
The young girls live with the thick mixture for several years on their scalp and once they reach their Ohango Initiation Ceremony, the braids are loosened and the growth of the hair is seen. The hair is then re-braided and re-styled in the popular gravity defying hairstyle, the Eembuvi Braids! The Mbalantu women have several styles of the braids that they wear throughout their lives.
It is a unique part of the African Heritage that re-emerged in the 90's as Box Braids, although they have since been done less thick and less long. The Eembuvi Braids have become inspiration for Box Braids styles all over the world.
Although no one knows the specific type of fat and oil used by the Mbalantu Women or even what inspired this style of braiding, different theories have been made and we can not wait to get or hands on the actual formula.