One thing I love about living in Tanzania is the fashion and recently I’ve begun noticing some other great things about it, including… SCRUNCHIES!! Most Tanzanian women don’t have enough of their own hair to warrant wearing them but many have hair extensions. In my class at uni, I’d say at least half of the women have some kind of extensions or wig going on. A popular choice at the moment seems to be long braids that are pulled back into a ponytail with said scrunchie. There are also all sorts of ornate and bling-y clips.
Bling is very important in Tanzanian fashion. It is very hard to find a plain blouse without a variety of gaudy buttons, chains, brooches, shiny belts, epaulets or some other little flourish. Most girls at uni wear a fair bit of jewellery as well. If they don’t have pierced ears they wear clip on earrings, often quite large, sometimes dangly. There is some beaded stuff but it’s different from the maasai stuff vendors sell to tourists. More common is gold and silver though, especially for necklaces.
Nail polish is also common, and some girls wear makeup for special occasions, though this seems to be more about eyeliner and lipstick than about foundation.
With just my wedding ring, and occasional studs (because who needs a toddler pulling on earrings) and a brooch for a special occasion, I look quite plain in comparison!
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.