At the age of twelve, young girls in Mbalantu tribes begin preparing their hair for the headdress.
They cover their hair with a thick layer of finely ground tree bark of the omutyuula tree. This mixture is applied to improve hair growth.
Within a few years, the thick fat-mixture will be loosened so that the hair is visible. Fruit pips of the bird plum will be attached to the hair ends with the aid of sinew strings.
When young girls reach the age of sixteen, their Fruit pip headdress is discarded and replaced with one of sinews.
The style is again changed once the girls reach their Ohango Initiation ceremony. The hair is then styled in 4 long thick eembuvi braids.
Once the girls make it through their initiation ceremony, they are considered ovafuko (brides) and then an additional layer of tree bark and fat is applied to their hair.
The hair is later taken up and styled into elaborate headdresses throughout their lives.
All photos credit: pinterest images
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