Turban Rendition – Who Taught You?

By Darnelle Thompson & Zine Mabunu

From seeing our mothers and our idols wearing it as a symbol to show respect when meeting with elders; to using it as a cover-up for a bad hair day; to wearing it simply because you want to, a crown holds no competition to a turban.

When you meet her (the goddess in a head wrap) ask her to share her experiences. The similarities in the differences among her and the fellow sister donning the “doek” are striking. Yes, they are all dodging different magnitudes of curveballs that life keeps batting their way. Regardless of our varied cultural backgrounds, we have all been subjected to the same abrupt “hey Erykah Badu” catcalling. Alongside further patronising questions like “isn’t it heavy?” Even from the aunty seated beside you in the taxi on your way to work or school it’s arguably an alien experience to the rest of society. This got me thinking that maybe there’s an etiquette guide circulating about. Mapping out how this head wrap crown-wearing individual (the Afrocentric, otherworldly, magically inclined woman) that they meet in their community, classroom or office ought to be treated.  Such a guide could look something like this:

  1. Be bold enough to utter a word apart from the not so subtle gawky-ogle (is this even a thing?)
    Do not simply smile, say hello and treat her with the same amount of dignity you’d treat everyone else you come across. You want to impress upon her your difference, not your similarity.
  2. Astonishing assumptions 
    Not all turban-donning females listen to Erykah Badu or Jill Scott (PS -these two powerhouses have paved the way for our generation’s fundamental female empowerment and consciousness). Sometimes I have that gangsta rap playlist teleporting me right back to the reign of Candace, Queen of Ethiopians (also one of our continent’s  greatest Nubian Queens ), spear in hand with the whole shebang.
  3. Magic 
    Whether you’re wearing it to keep those bantu knots in check or simply because the patterns on the fabric match your outfit, please never fail to recognize and repeat to yourself daily: you are magic.

Impressive ethnic fashion accents and prints are being elevated to new heights on the runway and all over social media.  When it comes to head wraps, I’ve come to find that the more fabric the merrier. More really is more and the bigger the better! If we’re being frank, nothing says statement piece better than a stuffed turban reaching for the heavens. Donning the head wrap is classy, and goes with anything and everything through all the seasons. Go from bad hair day to timeless beauty in minutes!

Let’s see what the goddesses in head wraps say about how their fabric makes them feel.


“For all the times I’ve said , ‘no one can tell me what to be’; I’ve had my Bouncy Afro or my Banging Turban.”
– Zine Mabunu, 21. IG:@zinefox09


“My crown makes me realise how loud my heart beats for Africa.”                                                                                                         – Zoleka Qodashe, 22. IG:@_zvleka


“My mood depends. Most times I feel regal. I’m always channeling a proud African.”

– Sinalo Mkaza, 23. IG:@Sinalo_mk


“Head wraps make me feel physically and spiritually connected to my surrounding.”

– Desne Peterson, 22. IG:@ben_andsocrates


“My posture automatically adjusts itself. It puts a kink in my step.”

– Noluthando Tsoko, 22. IG:@no.luthando

Happy head wrapping everyone!

One thought on “Turban Rendition – Who Taught You?

  1. Yeah right you got it gals, a sense of identity that knows no boundaries that says I am comfortable in my own definition of myself, haters keep your stereotype opinion of who you think I am and what I can or cannot be or do. Keep keepin on sistas !


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