Black women have been discriminated not only for their skin colour but also their 4C hair that refuses to grow long and is always shrinking. It becomes a big hustle for them to enjoy swimming for fear that their straightened hair would lose shape when they jump into the pool and reworking it back to its previous state, could be way demanding.
Latest statistics by Sport England has revealed that 95% of black adults and 80% of black children do not go swimming, mostly because of their afro hair. A 38-year-old British inventor has created a unique solution to this problem. Inspired by her own experience when she gave up swimming two decades ago because she did not want to damage her hair and her six years old daughter fear for swimming, Danielle Obe started making unique waterproof headscarves. Branded Nemes, she designed them to protect Afro hair, in a bid to encourage more black people to go swimming.
“Getting into any type of aquatic activity then was a huge no-no. I couldn’t go swimming in the evening after work. If I did, how would I turn up for client meetings the next morning?.
“Natural Afro hair grows up and out, not down in length like Caucasian hair. The chlorine dries out the hair, causing it to be frizzy, brittle and “thirsty”, which is what causes breakage, hair thinning and in some cases, for women with processed, delicate hair it falls off if the hair is not thoroughly washed out, conditioned and rehydrated,” she said.
Together with her daughter, they tried out a number of swimming caps until she realised that she will have to come up with something of her own. After she created her design, she began sharing it to encourage more people to go swimming. Ideally, these headscarves with an ancient Egyptian design can be used by everyone, not just BA, to swim, steam, spa or shower and protect colour-treated hair in chlorine water so hair colour lasts longer. Thanks to this scarves, he family has embraced swimming.