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By Novel AllenPublished 3 years ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read

Originating in Sub-Saharan Africa, these beautiful transforming head wraps are known by interchanging names, Dhuku in Shona, Gele in Yoruba, among other names.

These multi-colored wraps have an infinite number of ways in which they can be worn, simply or gorgeously twisted and twirled.

Headwraps have evolved over time, from being stylish wraps in African traditions which have endured and still remain in fashion, to also being worn by women and men all over the world.

Wraps have been used for various reasons, including as a stigma of enslavement by white colonial slave masters to quantify anyone of color as inferior, forcing them to cover their heads.

The African American and African women and men of the world should wear our head wraps proudly to honor our ancestors and carry on our tradition of cultural beauty.

Black women are much more creative in choosing colors and designs which are poised in upward tilts and folds which show their entire face, while European women opt for simpler styles which cover their hair downwards.

It is said that the African woman wears her headwrap as a queen wears her crown.

Wraps have different significance depending on who is wearing it. They vary, from traditional to ornamental and religious to ceremonial. White wraps are worn for weddings and special events.

Can we talk about the Cotta wrap. This phrase was coined in Jamaica. I grew up seeing people carrying loads on their heads with this wrap. I can find no other name for this habit of twirling some kind of fabric in the shape of a donut and placing it on your head before donning your load.

This load varies from tiny loads to 'humongous' outrageously daring feats of balance. It baffles me why they never made a makeshift cart or something to pull these loads.

People, especially women have perfected this art of carrying in various parts of the world, Africa, Jamaica, Asia and other places I have seen only in pictures.

Apparently there are schools of thoughts on head carrying.

Some benefits are as follows:

1. It helps you find your axis, Once you place a load on your head your muscle and bones automatically align and your spine straightens.

2. It strengthens your neck muscles (longus colli). Weight applied on your head engages your stabilizer muscles. It strengthens the muscles deep in your neck as well as your torso. This braces the body like a column in a house. These muscles support and brace your spine which will lead to better physical activities and less wear and tear.

3.The neck muscles are encouraged to relax. Stabilizer muscles are stimulated to ease tension in your neck. The changes in you body which corrects the alignment of bones and muscles allows your body to feel more centered and grounded. This leads to a calming free-falling sense of being giving one the feeling of oneness with nature and self.

4. It may seem primitive for people to carry loads, but I have seen many an etiquette class place books on the heads of girls heads to center their posture and give them poise. This is no different, except one is seen as genteel and the other a tiring drudge.

When hurricane Gilbert devastated Jamaica we had to walk a mile to the nearest clean water supply balancing buckets and tubs on our heads. You really have to stand tall and walk with a more meaningful step with loads on your head.

It turns out we should practice carrying loads on our heads, just make sure to Cotta or cushion your head for heavy loads. It would probably mean less trips to the doctor. More years of physically good posture would lead to better health and longer life.

We probably would not need all the chemicals we subject our bodies to in the form of medicine.

I see pictures of older African and other women standing straight and going strong while Western women are bent over and stooped. Let us practice that spine alignment everyone, for the sake of our spines

After doing a little research for this article I am now resuming my habit of carrying things on my head to realign with my body self and become grounded and centered.

In my twilight years I can have the bones of a twenty year old. I can live a healthier life.

Every activity has good and bad attached to it.

So, if not properly utilized, carrying loads on your head over a long time might hurt your neck or some other parts of your body.

But as has been pointed out, there are great benefits as well.

Thank you for reading my story. Done with heart.


About the Creator

Novel Allen

Every new day is a blank slate. Write something new.

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