ACCRA — Silky, white, and made from horse hair, old-style European wigs—periwigs—are uncomfortable (ill-fitting and itchy) and downright ludicrous.
They also carry a hefty price tag. Manufactured by two large British oligopolies, these wigs cost anywhere between 1,000 and 6,500 USD per wig!
So exactly how much money do our governments have in their coffers, to be spending that much on unnecessary trinkets? (And how much of a kickback per wig do our politicians receive for continuing this useless habit?)
Would the International Monetary Fund, which drastically slashes budgets of borrowing countries, also cut these frivolous wigs for austerity measures? Certainly not, since British companies obtain easy profits from the wasteful spending of those who obviously refuse to think for themselves.
Besides money, the aesthetics (really, lack thereof) provoke further concern. A white wig on a white European looks nonsensical enough, but a white wig on a Black African just looks like the worst kind of caricature of a “cultured slave” that ever existed!
Perhaps we should each contact a lawyer or judge friend we know to inform them of their missteps in African culture, fashion, and identity.
While I am by no means any genius, I do possess what little mental facility one needs to question inane acts such as wearing white horse hair as a prerequisite to conducting judicial procedures.
Why do African governments continue to engage in foolish behaviors that drain their economies? How, on the one hand, can we proudly trumpet our independence and ability to think ourselves, and meanwhile on the other hand retain the very symbols of past subjugation?
Why on earth do judges and lawyers retain these gowns and wigs when they clearly have no link to traditional African culture? Why do African professionals continue to devalue themselves? Is this too difficult to comprehend? Are our brains that obtuse?
If wigs are important to deciding legal cases (which I am certain they are not), why not have African nations provide them, thereby supporting African economies, and why not craft them in the likeness of African hair textures and colors–not in light yellow, grey, blonde, and white? Why do we not have our judges and lawyers make these changes right now so we do not have to discuss this preposterousness hereafter?
At least Kenyan judges have discarded their wigs and no longer refer to judges as “my lady” or “my lord.”
But why can’t all our judges and attorneys bring their dress code into the 21st century, one where they do not follow silly colonial mores? Are we so missing colonialism that we want to remember this memorabilia brought to use by former colonial masters?
It may well be psychological: the history, slavery, the colonization of the mind from which the Black African, sadly, still has not released himself.
Maybe we could all use some words of wisdom from the prolific Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song:”
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.