The Zimbabwean government have instituted a weave ban, which is basically a ban on all synthetic hair products, which many African women favor, and Zimbabweans have refused to take it silently.
Zimbabweans are not known to be especially expressive online, but this latest move pushed them to social media to voice their displeasure and incredulity. Some of the quips are hilarious, like one Twitter user who asked; “Guys is Nivea banned also?”. Good question, considering body lotions are part of the ban, the answer is probably a sad positive.
Among the things that Zimbabwean retailers will not be allowed to bring freely into the country anymore are; jam, mayonnaise, wardrobes and wheelbarrows. Cereal imports will also now need a permit, as will imported “camphor creams, white petroleum jellies and body creams,” according to a long list of affected products published in a government gazette Friday. The weave ban and that on body lotions however seems to have the emotions of people.
Tongues immediately started to wag on Monday when the announcement was made. The anger raged online for hours over what was then termed a weave ban to the point of some suggesting that the move could bring down the government.
One well-known local journalist Nqaba Matshazi quipped on the issue;
“Quick question, if a Zimbabwean woman is seen with a weave in Zimbabwe, does that count as evidence of smuggling?”
Zimbabwe has at least a local firm producing weaves but preference of the consumers lies with imported products. Brazillian hair as an instance is quite expensive but widely sought after. This clampdown on foreign imports is officially meant to stimulate local production, another reason however is the desperation of authorities’ to conserve scarce foreign currency.
The government has already banned the import of secondhand clothes and shoes, which were and are still very popular with Zimbabweans and in keeping with that, police sometimes seize a consignment of smuggled “bales” (huge sacks) of clothing.