Hangwani’s friends arrived at the party in small groups. The music was pumping, some guys were playing pool under the lapa and the girls were getting their groove on dancing in a circle together. They all knew this was a great opportunity to socialise before the academic year became hectic.

Hangwani herself was mysteriously missing, but she would make her grand appearance anytime soon. Mr Tongo was happily greeting guests and Auntie Refentswe was in her element with all the visitors arriving: “You must eat! I’ve made lots of pap and sauce.” There was also an abundance of red velvet cake, thanks to Lisa’s mother. And there was punch, without liquor!

Chantal and Lisa were standing around adjusting decorations under the lapa: red streamers and big cardboard cut-out hearts.

Without warning, Hangwani suddenly made her entrance. There she stood, wearing fine, strappy black sandals and a loose, red cotton dress with an open back, her smile as bold as a rainbow after a storm.

“Wani!” yelled Chantal. “You look so beautiful!”

“Wow!” Lisa chipped in. “When last did we see you looking like this? It’s gorgeous!” She touched Hangwani’s hair, which was short and pretty. It suited her. “Cute!” enthused Lisa. “You look like Lira!”

Hangwani felt herself blushing with pride, but also relief, as she hugged her friends and Robert. She felt half-naked, but proud, to be herself.

Hangwani felt wonderful knowing her friends loved her for more than just her hairstyle. She secretly thanked the gossiping girls in Hillbrow for making the comment that had led her to ask: “Who would I be without my weave?”

When her Dad had fetched her from the salon on that Friday afternoon, he was shocked for a moment. Where was the young woman with the long, long weave who always accompanied him home? But then he took a long look at Wani. He smiled and almost began to cry, saying, “You look so much like your mother, my beautiful daughter.”

Sibu the hairdresser had lost an expensive gig, and cursed the girls who came into her salon making bitchy remarks about customers. Who would buy this Brazilian weave now? No doubt she would eventually sell it to somebody else out there – but Hangwani had been a consistent customer for years now. Sibu was disappointed, but she had to admit, Wani could pull off just about any look with style.

Now, as the party-goers gathered round, Hangwani screamed delighted greetings as she saw two special guests arrive at the back of the crowd: Omphemetse and Refilwe. She had managed to track down their numbers and meet them for a ‘confess and forgive’ session before the party. How much lighter her heart felt now that guilty burden was lifted. And how pretty they looked!

After a few moments of mushy adoration of the new hairstyle, Hangwani’s elder brother Tshepo approached and yelled, “And the best thing about this hairstyle: it’s waterproof!” At which, he and his friends lifted Hangwani up and threw her into the swimming pool.

Now the fun really started as people began to jump into the pool from all sides. Indeed, Hangwani was really relieved she wasn’t wearing a R3000 weave in the swimming pool!


Tell us what you think: Do you think girls worry too much about their hair?