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Obama hairdo makes a big return in Kisumu ahead of visit

Women in Kisumu county have been flocking to salons to get the trending ‘Obama hairstyle’ ahead of the US President’s visit.

The hairstyle involves plaiting hair with braids tightly against the scalp to form cornrows that run from the front to the back. An average ‘Obama hairstyle’ can have 20 of such cornrows.

Plaiting the hair requires skill because a hair stylist needs to firmly interlace the braids with hair and keep adding portions tactfully as they progress.

According to Cecilia Awino who runs a salon in Kisumu’s Mega Plaza, many clients started asking for the ‘Obama lines’ two months ago following the announcement that President Barack Obama will be visiting the country for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

“We receive an average of three clients everyday who want to plait Obama lines,” she said.


Ms Awino said the hairdo was named after the US leader when he became President in 2008.

“Generally, the style is liked because it makes one appear younger. It doesn’t require daily styling hence maintenance is easy. One only needs to spray it regularly. They also don’t smell because they have enough aeration,” she said.

According to Clarice Atieno, another salonist at Kisumu’s Lake Market, the hairstyle’s  popularity has lately surged because of President Obama’s visit.

“Most customers had at some point ditched Obama lines which they considered simple and monotonous. But it’s now the trending hairdo,” she said.

“You don’t need to be told Obama lines’ popularity has grown …just look at the women around. Lately, most ladies who make booking  at my salon prefer the hairdo,” she said.