Of ‘Dreadlock Bashers’ and Sheer Ignorance

“Are you a Zim dancehall artist?”
“You should remove your hair and (maybe) we can take you seriously”……….. this is but a taste of what dreadlocked gospel musician Tinashe Nyamukapa and so many others out there have had to come face to face with more frequently than either of them would prefer while going about their business.

One Pastor even went as far as telling him, “I don’t approve of your hairstyle!”
Though the singer has learnt to take it all in his stride and go about his job, that of ministering the Lord’s Word through music, one cannot help but sympathize with his predicament.

For many Christians out there, donning dreadlocks is something that should be shunned and anyone seen wearing them is made to feel like an outsider and ‘impure’ in front of the church’s eyes.
“Christianity is not against dreadlocks but there are Christians who are against dreadlocks who make it feel as if dreadlocks are anti-Christian. I have had my fair share of bad experiences as there are many who think my hairstyle and what I sing do not go hand in hand”, explained  Nyamukapa.

Wikipedia will tell you that dreadlocks are ropelike strands of hair formed by matting or braiding and earliest depictions of the hairstyle go back as far as 2000 years ago.
The ancient Vedic scriptures of India that are thousands of years old have the earliest evidence of ‘jaata’/locks which are almost exclusively worn by holy men and women.
Locks have also been part of a religious practice for Shiva followers (Shiva – principal deity of Hinduism) and over the years the hairstyle has of course become synonymous with the Rastafarian movement – so when and how did they become ‘unholy’?
“I think dreadlocks have always been associated with rebellion and drugs, especially drugs and hence I think this is what led to this negative attitude towards them.
“My own thoughts towards the matter. God says he numbers the very hair on our heads. I think if the number of hairs on my head matters to God, who then can tell me otherwise”, said the musician.

Those who do not approve of the hairstyle go to the extent of even quoting the bible and using it, albeit misguidedly, to justify their ‘anti-dreadlocks stance’.
“There is one scripture which ‘dreadlock bashers’ use. 1 Corinthians 11:14 which says ‘does not nature itself teach you that it is shameful for a man to have long hair’.
“Needless to say that those who use this scripture totally take it out of context. The Bible is full of men who had long hair whom God used. I don’t want to delve into the theological arguments I will just say it’s religion which makes this a contentious issue”, said Nyamukapa.

Nyamukapa’s predicament is not unique to him alone though, a few years ago eyebrows were raised when gospel singer Fungisai started spotting dreadlocks as well. It is however a stance that many have labelled as being ‘backward’ and the singer concurs. 
“Is this stance towards dreadlocks backwards? I would think so. But on top of that I would say it’s just personal preference. One cannot impose their personal preferences on another and claim it to be God’s law
“I just think people in the Christian circles should move from religiosity and focus on love for fellow men. Love conquers all”, he said.

Perhaps it is time for the church and our fellow Christians to move with the times, we simply cannot discriminate anyone from God’s house of worship or work based on their hairstyle, a little bit of tolerance would surely go a long way.