Interview With Asha Mandela: Guinness World Record Holder for the Longest Dreadlocks!
Can you say 19 feet 6 inches? For those of you who don’t know, Asha Zulu Mandela holds the Guinness World Record for the longest dreadlocks. When I first stumbled upon her website, I couldn’t resist sending her a quick email asking her to share some of her dread knowledge with us. Sure, it was a long shot, but no risk, no reward, right? So imagine my surprise when she actually replied back! Knowing she’s a busy woman and wanting to keep the email short, I kept my interview to two questions. They are below. Enjoy, and soak up the knowledge!
1. What is the most common mistake you see people make who have started and maintained their own dreadlocks?
The most common mistake I have seen a lot of people make, either when starting or maintaining their own dreadlocks (including myself) and within the first 6 months, is believing there is no other way for their dreadlocks to really hold together and lock in except if they use bees wax…lots of bees wax.
There is this misconception that if one don’t use bees wax or some sort of locking gel, their locs will either not lock in or they will take much longer to lock in.This is not true. I have learned through the years that not all kinky hair is the same texture, so some of us do need some additional help with locking. When this is the case, then I suggest consulting with a hair care professional/loctician for advice on the best method of helping new dreadlocks to lock in.
2. What single product would you say is the most important to your own particular dreadlock journey?
I started my journey 24 years ago, and during this time to the present I have chosen a “combined potion” of all natural oils/essential oils/botanicals, either for everyday use to massage my scalp or for monthly hot oil treatments, and also to soak my ends every 3 months to protect them from breakage. My own personal opinion from my personal use in learning what has worked for me through the years: I have found that no one particular oil worked for me, since different oils serve different purposes. I felt my “baby” needed all they had to offer for complete therapy. However, if I had just one choice of oil to use, then it would be “virgin olive oil.” Any brand will do.
Many thanks to Asha! We appreciate her taking time to help us out with our dreadlock journey. She also has a line of dreadlock products called Zulu Earth Solutions, which was specially formulated by her. They are based on her 24 years of dreadlock experience and is great for all hair types. You can find more information about her, as well as the other products she sells, at her website www.ashamandela.weebly.com.