The Black Rapunzel: Asha Mandela Has World’s Longest Dredlocks

August 21, 2013  |  

Source: YouTube

What does your hair mean to you? For some of us it’s important enough; but for Asha Mandela the woman with the world’s longest dredlocks, her hair is life itself.

Mandela, 50, began growing her locks out 25 years ago in spiritual quest to change her life. Initially, her family didn’t support her decision but in 2009 when she earned the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest dredlocks and started gaining notoriety, they warmed up to the idea. (Ain’t that the way it goes.)

Since 2009, her hair has gotten even more impressive. Today it’s 55 feet long and weighs 42 pounds. When she goes out in the street Asha has to wear a baby sling on her back just to carry it all.

Being the black Rapunzel might sound like a cool title, but having this much hair comes with its drawbacks. Health side effects actually. Doctors have advised Mandela to cut her hair because it has already lead to a curvature in her spine and could lead to neck spasms in the future.

But cutting it is not an option. Mandela says she and her hair are connected now– not just by the root, but spiritually. She credits the growth of her locks for helping her to overcome cancer, two strokes and two heart attacks. In fact she says, “If I ever gut my hair, I’d really be taking away my life.” So instead, of taking a pair of scissors to her hair, Mandela is going to keep living the life she’s adapted and grown accustomed to, which includes washes once a week, (which can take up to two days to dry), and that baby sling.

Check out Asha and her hair in the video below. 


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  • monitorette


  • dailylifeandlivingblogspotcom

    She needs to really consider her health…she has such lovely hair and I can tell it played an important part of her journey but I fear for her health.

  • MilaJ

    If you are the point that you have to carry your hair around like a 15lb infant, it is too long and obvious a problem. I admire of hair and it is beautiful but too much

  • Harris Caroline

    Every article i read here has at least one typo. “Gut my hair”? WTF? Have someone read over your article before making it public PLEASE!

  • bitchsbrew

    Wow. I don’t know whether to admire that hair or to be horrified.
    Anyway, she can use it as: 1. A blanket. It will keep her nice and warm.
    2. Weapon of mass destruction. Use your imagination. 3. A coat 4. A
    clothes line.

  • ChiTown Princess

    I want my locs to be long as hers (jk), I’ve been growing out mine for 10 years and they’re down to my back.

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  • Faith

    Wow! I know it is lot of work for her to wash it once a week.

  • Lry

    I imagine it gets kind of gross after awhile, after all, how easy is it to keep that much hair clean?

  • She’s more like Samson than Rapunzel.

  • FromUR2UB

    I don’t understand the point of growing hair or nails to the point they become physically burdensome. When it actually begins to affect the posture, that’s just entirely too much hair. I’m glad to know she washes it weekly, because that was the first thing I wondered about, though I still wonder how healthy can it be to walk around with wet hair for a couple of days.

    • Live_in_LDN

      Ummm hair doesn’t take a couple of days to dry. Try a couple of hours – tops. Especially African hair which is really porous.

      • Shampj

        That’s she said it takes 2 days

      • AnonyChick

        Everybody’s hair is not the same. I am African. So, I guess I have “African hair”? My hair, if left to air dry, takes up to a day to dry sometimes. As a matter of fact, I’ve taken down twists up to 3 days after a wash, and felt some damp areas.

        And, yeah, she did mention that it takes up to 24 hours to dry her hair.

  • enlightenment

    that is just nuts!

  • Soffy

    Impressive!!! Love it.

  • Trisha_B

    So that’s what 25 yrs of growth looks like! Wow lol

  • expanded1

    I wonder how long she’s been growing it and what she does to keep it constantly growing

    • Harris Caroline

      PSA: Learn to read. That is all.

  • NSimonefan

    Her hair looks beautiful but it’s just that length! It would be better if she kept it at the length it was in that picture.