Fancy hairdos stand in way of new voters

PROSPECTIVE female voters in Bulawayo have a difficult choice to make if they want to register, as this may mean cutting off their fancy weaves and locks to get new identity documents.

REPORT BY NQOBILE BHEBHE

Many women literally have to pay though their noses for removal of fancy hairdos and this sometimes means skipping a few lunches at work or at school. They may have to cut hairdos to pose for the Registrar General’s camera.

But the Bible says: “. . . For a woman, if her hair is abundant, it is a glory to her” and prospective female voters are not willing to let go of this honour.

But for prospective female voters in Pumula, the choice has been an easy one; they would rather forgo registering than remove their weaves.

They said registration officials informed them that it was against the law to be photographed with braids and weaves.

Southern Eye yesterday witnessed several young women at Pumula Community Hall removing braids in order to acquire IDs.

Leadness Mlalazi said she was not aware that fancy hairstyles were not allowed when posing for photographs for an ID.

“I heard about it, but never took it seriously,” she said. “But when I got here (Pumula Community Hall) intending to acquire a national identity card and register to vote, I was told to undo my hair style.”

So she decided to undo the plaiting on the front of her head only, but she swore that she would not undo the rest of her head and if officials insisted, then she would continue without an ID.

“However, I would rather not acquire the ID and not register to vote than remove (the hairdo),” she said, as a friend struggled to remove the plaits.

Other women said they felt discriminated against as men with bald heads or any other hair styles were not restricted.
However, some Pumula residents expressed disquiet in registering to vote as their main aim had been to acquire identification particulars. The mobile voter registration exercise started on June 10 and will end on July 9.

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