Today, I had a very interesting moment in traffic. It had to do with my hair.
Ever since I started wearing my hair natural, I’ve had several comments from people: friends and foe alike. For those of you who know me, I have dreads not for any religious reasons or beliefs but simply for the fact that that was the only way I could wear my hair natural without having to wrestle with a hair dryer.
I’m not rastafarian, although my rastafarian friends believe that I possess some “root” characteristics.
Very often I’d have what I term “the nod” from my rastafarian brethren. Some even attempt to speak Patois with me. They only realize halfway that I’m absolutely clueless and then decide to switch to a more comprehensible language. Rastafarians intrigue me. The way they walk, dress, talk. It’s the pounded fist greeting (thats the right hand out streched in salute style only it goes to the heart instead of the side of the head), which I personally think is very hygienic; or the thumping of the chest; perhaps its just that they call their women Empress. Whatever it is, I just think that true Rastas are cool. Just the way they are fascinates me and I don’t mind them thinking that I’m worthy of their association/company.
Because I don’t wear make up and sometimes prefer to wear native sandals when I’m out, I usually get mistaken for a Rasta Woman. Most people who don’t know me well describe me as the Rasta Woman and that’s ok by me. Quite a few of my friends call me Ras Winnie anyways. Frankly over the past 7 years of having dreads, my hair has had more attention than myself. When I started, people would look at my hair rather than my face when they were talking to me. It annoyed me, but soon enough, it became a great icebreaker for many a wholesome conversation. And now, I don’t mind the attention.
This afternoon’s incident was one of such Ras-moments on the streets of Osu. I was driving towards the stadium and as I cracked my knuckles (a very bad habit) on the steering wheel I accidentally honked my horn, attracting the attention of a rastaman who sold electronics along the Kingdom Books Stationery road. They guy quickly looked up and waved at me. Then he walked up to the car and motioned me to roll down the window and gives me a very big smile. Then the smile goes down just as suddenly as the it came up. He had mistaken me for someone else. Just as he was apologizing for the mishap, he looked at my hair and asked if my hair was “a natural dread” as he put it. I said yes, then the smile got wider. Then the traffic signals hit green so I had to move. Lucky for him, the signal turned red just before I could cross. I looked in my rear view mirror and there was Ras-(I forgot his name) running after the car.
He stopped by the car and asked my name. I said “Yaa” and then he beams through the knotted beard and says “Empress Yaa”. That just made my day! I laughed and immediately, he switched to Patois mode. In my head, I’m like “dude, I don’t get a word of what you saying”; but on my face, I had a smile. I mumbled something in response and just then the lights turned green for go. He pounded his heart with his fist, smiled under the hot Osu sun and waved goodbye to his newly found Empress…or something like that. It’s difficult to make up a fairy tale that involves two rastafarians in the middle of the scorching sun in Osu.
That I believe was the highlight of my day. Yours maybe the coconut seller or even the guy who sells rat poison. Whatever the case, we all have things that intrigue us and things that makes us smile. All I want to say is that, let’s enjoy those moments as best as we can. That might just be the highlight of their day too.
One love, peace and Jah Bless.