Bantu Knots– An African Hairstory by Ore Oroge

Bantu Knots Rihanna

You have probably heard of the term “Bantu Knots”. You have probably heard of this simple, yet glamorous element that elevates the African culture in a subtle kinda way. At least one time, you must have heard of its wondrous works. But well, if you haven’t, here’s a plus for you. Sit tight for this little chit-chat that we are about to have.

Bantu Knots is a traditional African hairstyle that is worn as a protective style or as a no-heat, stretch-out style (stretches out kinky hair without heat). It’s a hairstyle that has been around for over 100 years now and interestingly, the word “Bantu” is quite relevant to the history of Black and African culture.


In case you didn’t know, “Bantu” is a term that is used to describe 300 to 600 Southern African ethnic groups that actually speak the Bantu language. It was originally called “Abantu” until the colonialists came along and couldn’t twist their tongues well enough to pronounce it properly. They ended up just calling it “Bantu”.

It is still unclear how these languages came into being, but we know that these Bantu speakers were successful in achieving incredible traditional work, like the Zimbabwe Ruins – a beautiful fortress in the heart of the country. Unfortunately, colonialists later ransacked the countries for natural resources, and a lot of what the Bantu built were destroyed or abandoned.

The term “native” was replaced by “Bantu” in the official government usage in South Africa. The name held several emotive meanings because it was used heavily during the Apartheid, and so many Africans began to hate the word. Eventually, Bantu was replaced by “Black”, and later returned to its original meaning, in reference to Bantu languages.

Bantu women, back then, commonly wore this hairstyle for themselves and their little girls, as it was easy to make. Today, the hairstyle has been reinvented in several different ways, and is a thing for Black women all over the world. Many African-Americans don’t know their African roots, but It’s really amazing that we’ve been able to keep this tradition and style alive in our culture today.


The simple and fierce look is one of many Black women’s protective non-installation hairstyles. Although, a lot of people with short hair use installation method to make it. That is, using hair extensions to make it as full as they would like. “They are made by twisting your hair around itself until it forms a knot that resembles a stack of tires.” It is used as a protective style for both virgin and relaxed hair.

Many African celebrities have proudly worn this hairstyle in public. For example, the popular singer, Rihanna, wore her hair in Bantu knots which inspired many of her fans to copy the style – including those who didn’t previously fancy it.


  • Wash your hair with sulfate-free shampoo. Since the hairdo will be exposing your scalp, it needs to be clean.
  • Use conditioner, especially if your hair is prone to frizziness/ fly-away strands.
  • Untangle your hair with untangler combs.
  • Dry the hair partially, leaving it a little bit moist.
  • Use a cutting comb to divide the hair into multiple sections, depending on how large you want the knots to be.
  • Applying a curl cream, twist each section of hair in between your fingers, starting from the roots and working up.
  • Twist small coils at the base of your scalp.
  • Gradually wind the remaining hair in the section around the base coil, bringing the hair closer to your head with each wrapped layer.
  • Using hair pins or small elastic ponytail holders, set and hold the knots in place. Make sure the knots are tight enough.
  • Repeat the knottings on the remaining sections.
  • Rock your Bantu Knots proudly.
  • Check WikiHow for a more detailed procedure.

“Mouth-watering” Imageeees.

Now, dear beautiful African woman, I hope this inspires you to make Bantu Knots your next hairstyle or your go-to hairstyle for a protective wrap.

Chairs! 😉🥂

Written By Ore Oroge

Ore Oroge- Bantu Knots

Ore Oroge is a poet, writer, avid reader, freelance editor and proofreader. She’s the author of the poetry book, To Be Human. As a budding psychologist, she’s passionate about the human nature and works towards helping people find their true selves. She enjoys talking on psychological issues and aspires to be a public speaker in the field.

When she’s not writing, she’s vibing to indie folk or any other good music, learning languages, reading, drawing abstract images, socializing with like minds, or eating chocolate.

Images sourced from Pinterest.


2 thoughts on “Bantu Knots– An African Hairstory by Ore Oroge

%d bloggers like this: