I registered early for free entrance to both the conference and the exhibit at the Africa International Hair Extravaganza (AIHE) held on Saturday 12 September in Midrand. This was my second time attending in their 4 years of running. (see last year's attendance here). The event was as always an extravaganza of flare and creativity showcasing various demonstrations by various stylists, fashion shows, music and various brands showcasing their products. As I missed the conference last year I decided to attend this year and because it was held at the same time as the exhibit in the hall next door, I missed out on the demos and show but did not mind at all.
Back to the conference. After the welcome and introductions, there was a session on the DTI offerings and assistance for local manufacturers which was good and informative information but the attendees who would have benefited more from the info were not all present. Unfortunately the road closure did more damage than was anticipated and the attendees were few. This was followed by a demonstration and instructions on the right way to apply relaxer given by an ORS representative and educator. As much as I believe people are not quite there yet as the use of relaxers is as much a mindset thing and to each his own even if it means us being self destructive, I found the whole presentation to be quite contradictory. A picture of the extent of damage and harm were shown and yet at the same time it was said that relaxer can be healthy for hair. There was even mention of how if you leave a strand of hair in relaxer the strand will disintegrate and yet there we are being told to stick to the relaxer timelines given on the box etc and I'm like awaken good people and staywoke. The relaxer vs natural debate for me is not a debate - each to his own remember, BUT lets give facts where facts are due and lets call a spade a spade. If something is bad then call it bad. full stop. Anyway let me not get into a whole other post here, I am gearing up to share some personal experiences with fibroids and effects of relaxer etc and I will do those posts in due course.
So, yes I was cringing and itching to say so much but decided it was not my platform or the time so let things be. At least there was some education on the good way to apply a bad thing and if only more stylists and salon representatives were in attendance, these type of educational sessions need to be taken to the salons and brands need to follow up with the salons using them to make sure the education is being followed. The conference took a break after this segment and unfortunately due to time, I did not return for the remaining segments and took a last squiz around the exhibits, went for a late lunch and went home.
(above photo curtesy of Haitural)
(above photo curtesy of Afro Amour)I think the points and angle and opportunity the extravanganza gives are still quite valid and still an avenue and platform for education when it comes to most things hair, I just look forward to more, More proper hair care sessions, more healthy hair representation, more education on ethnic hair care and more use of the platform this event has. If its to be a truly african experience then lets invite other African countries to exhibit. There are so many other African brands out there with even Nigeria making a lead in the natural hair care and the promotion thereof. Lets invite other african counrties to be present to give their says on industry trends and markets and lets open the conference more. Lets promote more. People hear of AIHE but don't know what it is about. So many ideas and so much can be done and yes we will get there.
Thank you though for continuing the event ,the day was not wasted and was informative. Lets listen to our hair and speak to our people,