the naturalista: chocolaty naturals

Happy Friday guys! I’m excited about this week’s Naturalista feature #chocolatynaturals 🙂 Meet the gorgeous Joan Semanda who blogs at Imigani  with her sister  Angela. We met and had a lengthy chat about her natural hair journey, then snapped some beautiful shots of her hair under a beautiful Ugandan sunset magnificently captured by Zahara


Dream Job: Something that will have me working for and making decisions for myself

Fave spots In Kampala: The Woods, Pardis Kololo, Endiro Coffee because they all have an outdoorsy feel about them.

Passionate about: Art, Life, Natural Hair and Family.

Currently listening to: Frank Oceans Thinkin Bout You’s cover by Yuna


Where It All Begun…

For a while I was frustrated. Watching YouTube videos and seeing how well bloggers like Naptural85’s hair turned out had me trying to replicate the same exact look. I’d try and use the products accessible to me in Uganda and my hair always turned out different. I would say about a year in, it finally dawned on me that I needed to accept what my hair looks like and get on with it. It won’t do what I see the next natural’s hair doing. It won’t ever have the sleeked back look of relaxed hair – and if it does then I’m seriously risking heat damage, and a list of many other things.


Her natural journey so far…

In October 2015, I’ll be natural for four years. I had natural hair until I stepped out of high school and run to the next salon to have it relaxed. A few years down the line and I was regretting it. I have a sensitive scalp and after almost 5 minutes of sitting with a relaxer I would need to wash it out, or risk getting burnt. On top of that, because my hair is closer to the finer side, relaxing my hair would have it looking thin and just plain unhappy. I started by cutting about half of it in December 2010, I BC’d in June 2011, and then gave in to texturising my hair and colouring it. By October I had had it; I walked out of my office to the salon next doors and asked the barber there to cut it as short as he possibly could. And here we are today.



 Her regimen and how she keeps her hair healthy…

Before I do any washing, I load my hair with conditioner and coconut oil and do as much finger detangling as I can before I go ahead and use a wide tooth comb minimally before I shampoo my hair. After shampooing, I use some conditioner and do one last comb through before I’m done. I add some coconut oil and stretch my hair in two large twists for the day/night. When I take those down my hair is about 80% dry, which is the best time I can manipulate it. I wear about 10 – 16 large twists in my head and I keep those for a week styling them differently as the day’s go by. Depending on if I workout or sweat, I do a co-wash in my twists after a week. After my hair’s dried I take it down and wear a twist out for about a week before I go through this process over again. I keep heat on my hair minimal. Once in a while when I straighten it, I use a serum heat protectant and make sure that I stick to medium/low heat on my drier. I straightened it recently and suffered heat damage which I’m still working repair. This brings me to protein treatments. Every two weeks (because you don’t want a situation where your hair is brittle and hard from too much protein), I use a strengthening treatment, and with every wash I rinse my hair with Apple Cider Vinegar.



 5 fave things about natural hair…

In no particular order; versatility, affordability (depending on whether you’re a product/salon junkie or not), ease (I find my life much easier with natural hair), growth (I’ve seen so much more growth in my hair now) and most importantly acceptance of who I am as a person and being able to confidently walk with the crown God gave me and make an example of it.


 On the perception of natural hair in Uganda

People in Uganda are slowly accepting natural hair. I remember way back when I wore a twist out on my natural hair and I run into someone I knew and they asked me if I was on my way to the salon. Now I see many girls and women wearing their hair proudly and making it work for them. We still have some way to go, but we’re getting there. IMG_1206


On whether there’re any moments of doubt about her natural beauty…

 A few years back, yes. Not anymore. No one could say anything about my hair that would make me flinch or second guess myself.


On whether she has considered treating it or adding chemicals

Like I mentioned a few years back I decided to texturise my hair thinking that I could take some short cuts. A few months down the line and my hair literally looked like feathers. Since I cut and re-grew my hair, there are still days when I wish I could run a comb from my scalp to the tip of my head, or get ready and wear my hair in a simple straight bun and just go. In a nutshell sometimes I think about how easy life would be if my hair was straight. Every time this happens I remind myself why I decided to go back to being natural and how far I’ve come. So, yes, a few times my frustrations make me wish I could have simple straight hair.

Lessons from her natural hair journey…

 I would say patience. My hair literally teaches me on a daily basis me that things don’t happen overnight.

Hope you’re inspired to grow those long locks!

Stay beautiful,




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