3rd degree makes waves over weaves


Cape Town - Investigative television programme 3rd Degree has people questioning the motive behind its investigation into ethnic hair.

People on Twitter and women in salons on the station deck have been discussing the programme, which was aired on Tuesday evening.

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Cape Town - 120628 - Theo Lethobane gets her hair braided at a stall at the Cape Town City taxi rank. Deborah Patta made a comment on her show The 3rd Degree that black women wearing weaves were attempting to look white. At the Cape Town City taxi rank, a well know place for hair salons, people had very straight answers that they wanted to look beautiful, not white, despite some of the 100% human hair samples having pictures of white women and reading "Gorgeous". They also mentioned that their husbands and boyfriends wanted them to be beautiful, but also failed to clarify whether or not 'beautiful' was having white or black hair. REPORTER: ESTHER LEWIS. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER055
Debora Patta during a tour of the new e-tv studios in Hyde Park.
150508. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

In it, 3rd Degree’s Debora Patta looked into the world of weave versus natural hair.

Introducing the topic, Patta the described the issue as contentious and said it was “about race, Western versus African ideals”.

Patta featured TV presenter and poet Lebo Mashile and self-proclaimed weave queen Bonang Matheba on opposite ends of the debate.

Even before the show aired, people took issue with the content.

Many questioned why, in the midst of other serious issues, Patta would “investigate” this particular topic.

Mabine Seabe tweeted: “Debora Patta, eTV, and 3rd Degree MUST issue an apology for subjecting South Africa to nonsense masquerading as investigative journalism.”

But Patta said topics they chose for the show were always varied and that the show was about black women, identity and the understanding of beauty.

Theo Lethobane, getting her hair done at a Cape Town station salon, said she was not trying to be white by wearing a weave. “I’m just trying to look beautiful,” she said.

Lethobane said that she often wore her hair naturally, and put in extensions once a month.

Salon owner Ethel Shelove said more people preferred to keep their hair natural.

Many who wore weaves said they did so because they wanted variety and to keep their men happy.

Shelove said her customer base was not only black women and that many white and coloured women also had their hair done.

Some tweeters felt that white people shouldn’t deal with the topic.

@Thandoza tweeted: “Not sure if white ppl shd touch that subject.”

However, Patta said she was “infinitely acquainted with black hair”.

Patta said her daughter had black hair, and topics like afro combs to relaxers had come up.

“The fact that so many people are talking about it, shows that it struck a cord,” said Patta.

She felt that the response was not unusual. There was discussion around the show each week.

Some managed to see the light side.

Comedian and afro sporting Marc Lottering tweeted: “3rd Degree! Who knew hair would cause such a thing in SA?! Up until today I thought a blow was a good career move. I’m learning I’m learning!” - Cape Argus

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