Countless accusations, praises and comments have always fallen to the lady folks’ corner for harbouring the craziest ideas concerning their beauty.
Such ideas range from the appearance of their hair, its texture, to various colours on their nails as dictated by the trends. However, despite the criticism, everything pertaining to physical appearance can be resized, renamed, redesigned and re-done—to one’s comfort—without minding the creator’s initial purpose, approach and definition of the subject in recreation.
I am, nonetheless, fascinated with the concern men have taken on to rebrand the appearance of their bodily features, ranging from pedicure to bleaching; something my innocent mind attributes to the gender that does not fully appreciate the beauty embedded in the true identity of an African.
Obviously, everyone has a choice of hairstyle, although a lot of dust can be raised particularly about a man with dreadlocks. Many people, especially the elderly, have had a fair share of lamentations about the waning image of an African man in several aspects; dreadlocks being one of the fading, unappreciated hairstyles.
Some people argue that men should not plait or have hair like women do; while others maintain that it is just part of living in a dynamic world.
How do dreadlocks, therefore, play out for the corporate man? Do they have to be an inch-long or as one may please? Is it about the rules and regulations about one’s job/profession? Or is it about self?
With the new fashion trends that have been attributed to the Western influence, just like women, men have broken out to taste the mysteries of having preferred hairstyles. While most men are comfortable with shaving their heads bald, others do not mind combing and patting their afros for work. It all seems to revolve around comfort.
Well, if the afro can pass for the corporate man, what about the dreadlocks?
Ronald Irumba, a hairstylist and owner of Iruro hair and style unisex salon in Mutungo, a Kampala suburb, says people who used to do dreadlocks in the past were associated with common vices—they were usually smokers, drug users, the jobless and lumpens of the time. He reveals that they did not take care of their dreadlocks and thus created a wrong perception in the minds of many about this hairstyle.
“However, nowadays people are getting used to it because dreadlocks have no problem. I receive male clients of different classes including the corporate men,” he says.
He adds that his clients trust him because he advises them about how to properly take care of themselves to fit in the work environment without any grimace of disgust.
He adds: “With time, society will be okay with it because the people wearing dreadlocks are perfectly in good shape, sane and responsible. Actually, the number is increasing each day.”
Banet Mutungi, an engineer with Watoto Limited, says having dreadlocks should not be a yardstick for measuring one’s character, lifestyle or ability to deliver at work. He, however, maintains that in the corporate world, it is not safe for people such as managers to have dreadlocks because their subordinates and clientele might have different perceptions of such a hairstyle.
“I worked with them [dreadlocks]. My mates, friends and clients can testify that my work ethos, character and performance were just fine and excellent irrespective of my hair,’’ he says. “[However], I chopped them [dreadlocks] when I felt it was time and I wanted to have a change. Coincidentally, it was simultaneous with the fact that I was getting a higher position at work,”
He advises that dreadlocks should be well taken care of, kept neat and at a reasonable length if one decides to have them. Because human nature is rational, it is a matter of choice for a corporate man to settle for such a hairstyle as long as he is not discomforting the people around him.