Activist Zulaikha Patel proudly wearing her signature afro

Activist and author Zulaikha Patel launched her first book, My Coily Crowny Hair, which aims to empower young girls to embrace their natural hair.

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Zulaikha Patel Celebrates Black Hair With New Book 'My Coily Crowny Hair'

News of South African activist Zulaikha Patel releasing a new children's book titled 'My Coily Crowny Hair' had us leaping for joy.

Zulaikha Patelisreleasing her debut book, a children's title aptly named My Coily Crowny Hair, which aims to encourage young Black girls to embrace their natural hair. The book's foreword is written by fellow South African and Coming 2 America actress Nomzamo Mbatha. The young South African activist was thrust into the media spotlight at age 13 for calling out outdated racist hair policies at Pretoria Girls High in 2016.

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My Coily Crowny Hair exploresthe diverse presentations of Black hair. Through this book, Patel wants little Black girls to remember and know that their hair matters — no matter what shape or form it comes in. The book, she says, was inspired by her own experience of having to fight for her identity and expression at her alma mater, Pretoria Girls High. Patel also reflected on how fighting for her right to wear her afro instantly thrust her into the activism space. "I wanted to ensure that no other Black child that comes after me should ever experience this severe form of intimidation," Patel explained during her Kaya FM on April 14, 2021.

The famous photograph of Patel defiantly standing up to her white headmaster immediately went viral on social media and landed her a mural in Johannesburg. Her bold stance became the image of #StopRacismAtPretoriaGirlsHigh which caught the world's attention, including civil rights activist Angela Davis.

Efforts to suspend discriminatory hair policies in schools that insist on maintaining Western ideals are still ongoing. The policies admittedly rob Black girls of their confidence, self-esteem and overall identity. My Coily Crowny Hair launches on May 8, 2021.

Preorders are available at CNA.