SHARE

The Mwila Women of Angola and Their Fascinating Cow Dung Hairdo

Must Read

Top 10 Youngest Presidents In Africa (Updated: 2021)

In recent years there has been a subtle surge of politicians in their 30s and 40s winning leadership roles...

African Culture: The Wodaabe Tribe Wife Stealing Festival

The Wodaabe tribe is a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group. They are traditionally nomadic cattle-herders and traders...

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Becomes First Female Head of World Trade Organization

Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed to head the World Trade Organization as it seeks to to resolve disagreements over how it decides cases involving billions in sales and thousands of jobs.
SHARE



The women of the Mwila tribe prepare a paste made from a red stone called Oncula. They then mix the paste with oil, butter, tree bark, herbs and dried cow dungs before applying the concoction to their dreadlocks.

The Mwila Women of Angola and Their Fascinating Cow Dung Hairstyle
Photo: Eric Lafforgue

The Mwila people live in Angola’s southwestern highlands. They are a semi-nomadic people who farm, raise animals, and then move when there’s a need for better grazing and hunting.

Hairstyles are very important and meaningful in Mwila culture and the women of the tribe are famous for their very special hairstyles.

The Mwila Women of Angola and Their Fascinating Cow Dung Hairstyle
Photo: Eric Lafforgue

The women wear elaborate and unique hairstyles which have much value for the people of Mwila.

The Mwila Women of Angola
Photo: Eric LaFforgue

The dreadlocks-looking hairstyles are not just for the aesthetics. The plaits are called nontombi and the number of nontombis on a woman’s head has a specific meaning.

To create the ornate styles, the women of the Mwila tribe prepare a paste made from a red stone called Oncula. They then mix the paste with oil, butter, tree bark, herbs and dried cow dung before applying the concoction to their dreadlocks.

The Mwila Women of Angola and Their Fascinating Cow Dung Hairstyle

They also decorate their hairstyle with beads, cauri shells (real or plastic ones) and even dried food. Shaving the forehead is considered as a sign of beauty. The plaits, which look like dreadlocks, are called nontombi and have a precise meaning.

The Mwila Women of Angola
Photo: Eric LaFforgue

Women or girls usually have 4 or 6 nontombi, but when they only have 3 it means that someone died in their family.

Mwila Women are also famous for their necklaces, which are central and meaningful as each period of their life corresponds with a specific type of necklace.

Related:   Abuna Yemata Guh: The Most Inaccessible Place of Worship on Earth is Located in Ethiopia

The Mwila Women of Angola and Their Fascinating Cow Dung Hairstyle

Young girls wear necklaces, heavy red made with beads covered with a mix of soil land latex.

Related:   Abuna Yemata Guh: The Most Inaccessible Place of Worship on Earth is Located in Ethiopia

They keep this necklace until their wedding. When married they start to wear a set of stacked up bead necklaces, called Vilanda. They never take their necklace off and have to sleep with it.

However, more and more men and women now dress in a western way, because people make fun of their hair and attires when they go to markets.

The Mwila Women of Angola and Their Fascinating Cow Dung Hairstyle
Photo: Paul Barrero



Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to receive email updates

With a subscription profile, you automatically receive updates without having to return to the website and check for changes

Just In

Top 10 Youngest Presidents In Africa (Updated: 2021)

In recent years there has been a subtle surge of politicians in their 30s and 40s winning leadership roles...

More Articles Like This