Tatta Madiba. (Reuters, Mike Hutchings)
Tatta Madiba. (Reuters, Mike Hutchings)
Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his wife Winnie, walks out of the Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, after spending 27 years in jail, on February 11, 1990.
Nelson Mandela, accompanied by his wife Winnie, walks out of the Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, after spending 27 years in jail, on February 11, 1990.
Judging Mandela’s legacy by the negotiated settlement is too limiting as talks that delivered democracy were a multiparty exercise, says the writer. Picture: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters
Judging Mandela’s legacy by the negotiated settlement is too limiting as talks that delivered democracy were a multiparty exercise, says the writer. Picture: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters

With a great sense of style and always immaculately groomed, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela wasn’t just known for his famous Madiba shirts but his hairstyles as well.

“Even though a young Madiba wore his hair with a deep side part, he stood for togetherness and equality,” says barber Calvin Smith. He continues to describe the young Nelson’s hairstyle, which he wore during his student years, as “iconic”. The deep side part hairstyle still remains a requested style. 

Nelson Mandela's iconic deep side part hairstyle. (Picture: Instagram/youngnelsonmandela)

“By the time Madiba was released from prison his hair was salt and pepper, which to me was a reflection of the state of the country” Calvin comments. His widow’s peak was no longer as prominent and his famous side part had disappeared - wearing his hair in a short afro.

Newly released Nelson Mandela. (Picture: Juda Ngwenya/Reuters)

As the new president of South Africa, the first leader of a free nation, he moved away from his afro and combed his hair back instead - rarely cutting his hair very short.

President Nelson Mandela. (Picture: Thys Dullaart/ANA Archives/ANA)

By the time he retired and become frail with age his hairstyle might have remained the same but his hair had become snow white. 

Tatta Madiba. (Reuters, Mike Hutchings)

“Having a full head of grey hair, wise as can be, he had done his job of bringing a nation together like no one else could” Calvin concludes.