Time to meet Resty Ninsiima! I was supposed to put this interview up ages ago but school, life and laziness got in the way. I did this interview last year just before September. Resty’s hair is longer than most here, eye catching and always very neat so I had to talk to her about it. She is now a few months from completing her studies here and I will certainly miss seeing that stunning fro.
Where are you from?
Aside from English, what languages are mainly spoken in Uganda?
Luganda which is the language of my countries largest tribe, then some also speak Swahili.
Describe your country in a few sentences.
After experiencing the weather in this hemisphere, I would say Uganda has the perfect climate. Never too hot, never too cold, just perfect. When it is a little hotter we still have cool breezes and the shade is helps unlike here in Baoding you just feel like you’re in an oven. Ugandans are very friendly. We’re not a rich country but we’re happy and have peace. When I was back home I always wanted to leave but being here has made me realize that home is best.
How long have you been in China?
Almost 1 year. I came here to study a 2 year English taught Masters.
What’s your impression of China so far?
It’s completely different from the idea that I had of China.My impression was that they are mostly business people, the products they sell are usually low quality etc. But after getting here I realized China is one of the most beautiful and interesting places in the world! And I have really enjoyed my experience here, it has made a huge impact on me in many ways. And Chinese people, especially in the smaller cities are very friendly.
What places have you traveled to during your time here?
Not many, Wuhan, Beijing and Tianjin. China is just too big, I can’t visit every city though I would love to. Wuhan is the best though, the people, the food, it feels like home. There are many foreigners and many black people. Here in Baoding, if you see a black person you have most likely seen them before here in school, however in Wuhan you see a new face everyday! They have African restaurants so the food is obviously different from Chinese food. The clubs also play music from home. I love it there, when I’m bored here I feel like going back to Wuhan.
So let’s talk about hair. When did you go natural?
I’ve always been natural.
You never felt tempted to relax your hair as a child?
No, my mum has always had natural hair and my big sister is natural too, so I never felt the need to relax my hair.
What opinions do Ugandans in general have about natural hair?
Well I can’t speak for everyone but from my experience, most people want to have relaxed hair because they feel it’s a bit easier to deal with. My hair used to be quite long and when I’d go to the salon they would immediately start trying to convince me to relax just because it would be easier for them to braid it that way. Salon visits were always painful for me, a lot of pulling and harsh combing.
How do Ugandan guys react to your hair?
It depends really, some say they love it and wish more girls would go natural and not do weaves or braids so much. Then others will say they don’t like natural hair because it makes you look too young, you should do more “mature” styles like weaves etc.
Were you worried when coming to China about how you’d manage your hair?
Yes I was but coming here has actually been nice hair wise because I had to learn how to do my own hair. I used to go to the salon for everything but now I can blow dry pain free on my own and braid my own hair too. I can get people to braid my hair but sometimes it feels like I’m imposing so I prefer to do it on my own.
Were you worried about finding hair products?
When coming here people were telling me to carry hair extensions and other things but I didn’t take them seriously, I didn’t come with anything for hair-not even hair oil! I’ve had to buy everything for my hair on Taobao.com (China’s equivalent to Ebay) and it can be a little expensive.
Do you have a set hair regimen?
I wash my hair at least once a month, once a week would be too much for me. After washing I do 3 strand plaits while it’s still damp. Then I apply some oil and blow dry to straighten it. I have found this method easier and better for me because I like to comb my hair everyday to style it. Everyday before sleeping, I do 3 strand plaits too to prevent my hair from matting and shrinking.
Do you have any regular products that you stick to?
Not really. I got some Ghanaian hair food from a friend but that’s about it. It’s not easier for me to find products from home online. Whenever a friend goes home I ask them to get me products. I don’t like trying out new products because I fear my hair will react badly, I like sticking to what I know. I have gotten some olive oil shampoo and conditioner from Watson’s pharmacy here though and so far so good.
How often do you braid your hair?
Not often. Sometimes I can go a year without braiding. I don’t like the pain during the process of getting your hair braided and after the process if the person braiding has done it too tightly. I don’t think it’s worth it for me. However, here, because winter is so harsh, I have to braid it during those months. If I leave it out it will break a lot.
Do you do regular trims?
Here I haven’t really done any trimming but back home the hair dressers at the salons would trim it for me.
What are your future hair plans?
If I am to change it I’d like to try locs, but I’m too used to big hair so I think I’ll just keep it natural as it is. If I had the chance I would also love to model for natural hair product companies, I would really love to try that.
Have you ever done anything different with your hair? (dye etc)
No, I’m very conservative. However I’d love to try a tapered fro style but that would mean cutting my hair and I just can’t bring myself to do it. Maybe one day….
What do you like about natural hair?
The versatility of it, the volume and thickness is so much fun. You can do a style that you think is a mess but someone else will see it and think it looks beautiful.
A big thank you to Resty for letting me take up some of her time!