'Roots' is Mukundwa Katuliiba’s final year dissertation film about the effects of apartheid on black women's relationship with their hair. It was filmed in South Africa and features several mother-daughter pairs who discuss their own and others’ perceptions of their hair.
In the description of the video Katuliiba states, “In any racist regime, 'signs and symbols' of blackness are always attacked and framed as inferior.” During the apartheid in South Africa between 1948 and 1994, the standards of how Black people in the country should present themselves changed. “Thus, black hair and skin are very [politicized] parts of the black body and experience: most especially when black bodies are in largely white environments.”
Katuliiba adds that she recognizes apartheid, white supremacy, black self-love and women's issues cannot be tackled within 10 minutes. “Many of the nuances in these issues are utterly beyond the scope of this short, academic film.” Her film is a place to continue the conversation.
“Being a black woman who loves her hair and her skin, I'm acutely aware of how important it is to centre black woman in (my) art,” Katuliiba says.
Watch her short documentary below and connect with her on Twitter @Mukundwa_K to keep the conversation going.
Deonna Anderson is Junior Editor at For Harriet. You can follow her on Twitter @iamDEONNA.