Hair Inspiration: Blakofe and her Unique KofeLocs


*Introduce yourself

My name is Akua Manfo, although I am known as Blakofe (Black Coffee).  I’m Ghanaian by birth, British by education and socialization!   But proudly African.  I am a TV, radio and Events Presenter.  I also write - from copy for advertising to social political issues for New African Magazine. And I like to think of myself as a comedienne!

*How long have you had dreadlocks and what inspired this decision?

Firstly, I no longer call it ‘dreadlocks’ as there is nothing dreadful about it.  I call it wonderloc or just locs!  I was inspired because my hair was always in braids with extensions.  I got fed up with the constant braiding.  I always do my hair myself and I just got tired of spending hours braiding.  So I thought to myself, surely having locs will be just like wearing braids?  After I graduated from University in the early 90s, I locked up.  I wore that for about 2 years and when I got pregnant with my first child, cut it off because I was itchy all over.  You know pregnancy does that to some women.  I then rocked short hair for years.  I grew it abit and went through the phase of threading it, and doing all sorts of funky styles with my short hair.  Finally, I tried to grow an afro but my hair is tough so for me, going back to locs was the natural thing. That was about 8 years ago.    

*Did you get support from friends and family when you took this decision. If no, how did you deal with the negativity?
Haahahaaha.  Family was a big no no.  But from the day I was born, I have always done what I wanted.  Lol.  There was no way my family was going to stop me from being natural.  I moved back to Ghana in 1995 where natural hair especially locs are seen in a bad light.  It means I am a fetish priestess or a weed smoker.  With my father being a Chief as well, my family were really ashamed.  But now, they have had to accept it.  My friends on the other hand I’m proud to say are natural. ALL my closest friends, Pam, Fola, Joyce, Gamu, Vee, Makeba, Naa, Shelina, Adade, Lanre all have natural hair.  I love it when we go out in a group.  Each with her own style yet all natural.

*How do you take care of locs?

You know, I don’t fuss with my hair and looks!  I loc my hair myself and retwist whenever I feel the roots are growing.  Normally I do this whilst watching Eastenders and Coronation Street.  Kill two birds with one stone!  When I’m in Ghana I swim in the sea at least once a week as I believe it’s good for my hair.  I wash my hair at least once a week, normally with pure black soap and use regular hair cream.  Having said that, I have tried some natural hair products recently and like them.

*Do you have a loctisian and is it possible for one to lock her hair without the help of a loctician?

I don’t have a loctisian.  And yes definitely anybody can loc their own hair.  I used to relax my own hair aswell as braiding.  I actually don’t like people touching my hair. There have been one or two occasions where I have treated myself by having someone else touch my hair.  But I prefer doing it myself.  I once let a woman do my locs and seven locs fell out after. Since then, I am very cautious who comes anywhere near my hair!

*A lot of ladies and gents would like to have 'wonderlocs' but have little or no idea on how to begin. Can you share some tips with us?

Wow.  Well I simply twisted my hair and never took it out.  I left the twists to loc.  So I call mine KoFelocs because it looks different to other locs.  People think it’s sister locs but it’s Kofelocs! There are different ways of starting locs just as there are different types of locs. I know some people use foam to rub their hair whilst others use their palms.  Some people like to add eggs I hear. 

*Since you do your hair yourself, please share how we can lock our new growth.

 Personally I use  loc gel. I used to use organic root stimulator but now trying Jane Carter Solutions. I either just twist it or interlock it.  That is, I take each loc and put it into the root.  Lol can I best explain this.  Okay, imagine the root of your hair as the face of a clock.  So you take each loc and put it at 12 O'clock, then 4 O'clock then 2 O'clock.  I'm sure this makes no sense whatsoever! Imagine it as if the loc is a needle and you are sewing...  you  may need a very wild imagination though....

* I think I understand. You mean passing the locs through the new growth at different directions so it stays put. Am I correct? I hope it isn't painful

You understand. That is it, so simple.  It can be painful depending how tough your hair is.  Mine is TOUGH.  but if you find someone who does it well, it stays for up to 3 months.

*What are your favorite products?

I tried African Pride shampoo and conditioner and love it. I also tried Jane Carter solutions and absolutely love her products.  But the problem I have with natural hair products is that they are too expensive.  Rather than making it an everyday item, it looks like products for the natural hair market are luxury commodities.  This is very off putting.

*You have a full head of hair, can you tell us how you protect your hair line?

I don’t do anything.

*What is your opinion on children with locked hair? We know that some Africans have a problem with this. Some schools will even ask outright that you cut off the child's hair before he or she resumes. Whats your take on this?

Funny my eldest son had locs when he was about 9 years and the school in Ghana would not allow it.  I went and told them it was our religion.  Oh the fuss.  It was his choice to loc up, not my imposition.  You know not everyone looks good with locs.  And I have seen some children with locs that I feel sorry for because they look a mess!  On the other hand, I have seen some little girls who look adorable with locs.  I have no problem with children with locs. It’s certainly better than plaiting with extensions.

*Any last words for our Natural/lokced readers?

God created each race with their own type of hair.  Today the world says natural hair is ugly, not fit for the corporate world, not fit for music videos and magazine covers etc.  They say those of us who choose to be as God created us are ‘Afrocentric’, ‘Controversial’, ‘Radical’ and the likes.  I say we rather are the beautiful ones who refuse to buy into the beauty myth.  Being natural is not easy. You will lose out on so many jobs, but it is common sense.  And for as long as we remain natural, the world will come round to seeing things our way.  When I first started TV presenting, my head was always in wraps because natural hair was not accepted.  This in Ghana, West Africa in 1995!  Can you imagine that?  These days I don’t have to cover my hair anymore.  Yet it is still not as acceptable as fake hair.  There are only a handful of us in Ghana in entertainment with natural hair.  The vast majority are so fake it’s incredible.  Be we shall overcome.

*Where can we find Blakofe online?

Thanks for the time and information MsBlakofe. Like me, she has a very simple regimen. I LOVE simple regimens So who wants KofeLocs?!

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