What helped 50-year-old Asha Mandela pull through two heart attacks, cancer, and two strokes? Her hair, she believes. “Cutting it would be equivalent to suicide. It would be like being a zombie,” the woman with the world’s longest dreadlocks told the Daily Mail.
Mandela, who lives with her husband and son in Atlanta, stopped cutting her hair in her 20s. “I started growing my hair 25 years ago, when I started having certain dreams and visions,” she said. Growing dreadlocks was part of a spiritual journey to completely remake her life. Now, Mandela says, she has countless fans who call her a“living legend” and the “ninth wonder of the world.” She has to carry her hair, which weighs in at 39 pounds, in a cloth baby sling when she goes out.
While Mandela refers to her hair as “her baby,” there are physicians who call it a health hazard. “The doctors seem to think I have a curvature of my spine and that it’s the length and the weight of my hair that’s making me curve,” she said. “Some have said my neck has collapsed at the back and that I need to be careful because I could start having spasms in my spine and probably be paralyzed.” But it doesn’t sound as if she is too alarmed by their advice, adding: “My hair has become part of me. It is my life. I will never cut it.”