That’s what the boys called a girl at my school, who had very short, tight curly hair.
I remember seeing the hurt in her eyes.
But crying would just have made the teasing worse, so she turned and walked away.
“Afdak,” was another taunt cruel boys used to fling at girls with so-called “kroes” hair.
It was in those days that I realised how politicised hair is in our communities, and how my own “korrelkop” was viewed even among my own people.
It couldn’t always have been that way when we all lived in communities where everyone had the same texture of hair.
It would only have started after we were convinced that some hair types are better than others.
The Bible story of Samson and the fable of Rapunzel has only reinforced the idea that long and straight is more desirable.
Our hair is clearly a metaphor for the fact that our minds and self-image were wholly colonised, alongside everything else.
Last week’s TRESemmé debacle is the latest in what has now become an almost annual hair raising matter about our crowning glories.
It’s time we root out the politics of hair.
And by that I don’t just mean the social politics of being victimised, which then causes us to victimise each other, but the fact that the issue is actually making it into mainstream politics.
Refusing to be brushed aside, the EFF was dying to be relevant again and – under the guise of highlighting injustice – plaited themselves into the drama, but only matted the issue even further.
Politically it may look like they scored a few points for themselves with their voters.
But ultimately, all they managed to do was to bring temporary volume to something that is a permanent hairline crack.
They’ve facilitated a comb-over, but we all know that the bald patch is still there.
The fact is, corporate bottom-line objectives almost never gel with what society needs.
There is no incentive for them to take the middle path or the side path, or any path other than the one that promises the greatest profits.
At least we are lucky enough to have voices that allow us to not mince our words.
But there are people elsewhere who don’t.
And somewhere in the world, another tone-deaf and insensitive company will set off new bangs about hair and then try to weave themselves out of it before they get scalped.
What we need is a better solution for what is a bouffant of a problem.
The only way to pull this thing out by the root, is for us to accept who and what we are; that we can’t always make our hair do what we want it to do; and that doesn’t make us any less than someone with straight hair.
There’s actually a theory that people with unruly hair are so smart that they change the world.
Albert Einstein is the prime example of this.
He is also the prime example of not caring what others thought of him and his hair.
If we are going to stop having our hairline-triggers set off and avoid being manipulated, then we need work on not caring.
When we stop splitting hairs over our dreaded folly-curls (follicles), then by extension, we take clippers to the pain this issue causes us.
We give it a fader … until there isn’t a strand of it left anymore!
This means not relaxing until we’ve snipped all the split-ends out of our self-esteem.
Until the only opinion that matters about our hair, is our own.
To achieve this, we must baldly go where no “mane” has gone before.
We must learn that when it comes to this issue, love is in the hair.