In Zanzibar, plaiting or braiding hair is a common sight on the streets, especially in the more populated areas like Stone Town. Women with expert braiding skills can often be found offering their services to locals and tourists alike, typically setting up small stalls or stations.
Hair plaiting in Zanzibar is not just a form of hairstyling but also a cultural tradition. The braiding techniques used are often intricate and can vary depending on personal preference, occasion, or cultural significance. Women may choose to have their hair braided in traditional Swahili styles, such as cornrows or Bantu knots, that have been passed down through generations.
The process usually involves sectioning the hair, then using a comb or fingers to braid or twist the strands into desired patterns. In some cases, colorful beads, threads, or hair accessories are incorporated into the braids to add an extra touch of style. The finished braids can range from simple and neat to more elaborate and eye-catching designs.
For locals, plaiting their hair is an everyday occurrence, reflecting their personal style and cultural identity. On the other hand, tourists often find the opportunity to have their hair braided in Zanzibar streets as a way to embrace the local culture and enjoy a unique experience during their visit.
It is worth noting that hair plaiting in Zanzibar streets is not limited to women and girls. Men and boys can also be seen getting their hair braided, particularly during special occasions or for cultural festivities.
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