Weekend: Yes, it will get better

As I reminisce about Fall 2013 when I had to force myself to smile so that my baby brother would not get down on himself, I now agree.  Life may get unbearable, sometimes you may feel like you cannot take another day, another hour, another minute. But hang on, just hold on. Time will pass and it will get better.

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Weekend: A trip to the MET Museum in NYC

Always good to learn about the past so that we make better decisions now and tomorrow…so made a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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This time around, I was surprised to learn that this miniature statue is the oldest work of art, close to the ca 3,000 B.C. This would be close to the times of Adam and Eve…how could we have come from monkeys if by then, humans were able to create such refined works of art? Anyway, the statue is entitled “A striding figure with ibex horns”…a mixture of human and some animal.

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The MET museum in NYC is always fun and informative (but why such an expensive lunch??). If you’re in NYC, please make a stop 😉

About my outfit, all old items: dress (I added some wax material for length 🙂 ) /scarf/coat/bag

Updated Jan 22nd 2015: I’d like to share a very good feedback I received from an anonymous reader.

Dear Ebelandi,
The Earth is 4.5 billion years old. The oldest life forms that we know of (algae) are 3.5 billion years old. The oldest humans that we know of are 200,000 years old, approximately. Thus, the Met’s statuette is (relatively) not that old! There are much older examples of art, like 40,000 year old paintings in caves.
I love your sense of color!

And my response to the comment:

Hi anonymous, thank you for your feedback, and thanks for the compliment! Yes I agree that the earth is billions of years old but archaeology and anthropology have not been able to prove without a doubt that humans are indeed 200,000 years old. In fact, I seem to recall recently (2002 or so) that some scientists were arguing that the apes fossils may be just that, fossils of apes, not humans looking like apes. Nobody has been able to find when the apes transformed into humans. In fact, Dr. Robin Derricourt from a university in Australia admitted not long ago (2007 or so) that there is no consensus when it comes to fossils and their classifications. Bottom line, until science can prove with no doubt that the apes evolved to become humans, I choose to rely on what the bible story has described with details and dates when it comes to when and how humans appeared on earth.

If the bible story is indeed correct, then humans were created about 6,000 years ago (or about 4,000 years BC) and the statue would consequently be a proof that upon being created, humans did not need to evolve into various phases to master artifacts…Science has come to validate the bible story on many other occasions (spherical shape of earth, the exodus and separation of the red sea, succession of kings, etc.) and the more I read about fossils and evolution, the less I believe any of us descended from monkeys.

Culture: The head scarf

Most people believe all African women wear headscarves. In fact, I remember a girl looking down on me because I said I did not wear it. It was a funny moment and I tried hard not to laugh but there I was being taught how to dress African by a girl who had only heard of Africa from books and the few friends she knew. However, the fact is she did not know so how could I get upset? Maybe she genuinely felt compelled to help me appreciate what she believed to be a quintessential part of grooming in my culture.

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And in some African countries, the headscarf is indeed a staple in women’s clothing. However, Africa is a very diverse continent, not all of its inhabitants share the same traditions or preferences. In fact, even the city in which I was born has very distinct grooming rules based on the tribe one is from, and the personal choices one makes.

Will I ever wear a headscarf? Absolutely, in fact I have in the past because it looked amazing on some models from Nigeria. Is it mandatory in the culture I was raised in to wear one? No. As a matter of fact, in the Kinshasa I grew up in, young and single women usually did not wear headscarves. They could but usually did not. Typically, only married women choose to wear them.

Updated. Now, I assigned myself a small project to understand the origins of the headscarf and the different styling options. Here are my findings:

  • The headscarf originated as a protection against natural elements (read wind, sun and dust) for women’s hair
  • It then migrated as a protection against evil spirits as a woman’s head was believed to be the superior part of her body and the entrance to her soul ( 😦 there had to be some spiritism somewhere)
  • The style evolved once again into a means of seduction that married women used to accentuate their face and, per Beaute-Ebene, ‘arouse their husbands’ pride’. I would agree with this explanation as it is in harmony to what I was told as a young child in Kinshasa.
  • In Kinshasa, young and unwed women only wear headscarf to cover unruly hair or to make a fashion statement; no as a cultural fashion staple
  • It seems that the first painting of Black slave women wearing headscarves was made in 1707 by Dirk Valkenburg (the painting is called “Slave Play” and you can see a picture below

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source: smk.dk

  • The headscarf may be traced even further in the past with Ancient Egypt where kings, queens (famous Nefertiti headscarf) and false gods used it depending on their function and gender
  • In Islam, the headscarf is used for religious purposes
  • There are a variety of styles, GirlMeetsWorld proposes 36 ways to tie an African scarf, image below:

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  • One quintessential headscarf that must be paired with the Nigerian Buba (traditional Yoruba outfit) is the Gele (or Aso-Oke), the only scarf I have tried to tie and would like to get right! There is a detailed post on the style at Savoir Et Partage.  Basically, the Gele is worn in Nigeria, Togo, Benin and Ghana (Yoruba people of Western Africa).  What I love about this scarf is that it indicates the status of the woman wearing it.  Indeed, when the end of the scarf is pointing right, the woman is married and should be left alone. When it is pointing left, she is free and available.  How ingenious is that! 🙂

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Picture courtesy of Obonheur

If you are interested in some tutorials for African headscarf styling, some options below! Please share your pictures when you try them on your own!

  1. MoAm tutorial
  2. Side tie
  3. Nigerian Gele (Nma, please chime in if this is accurate!)