After her granddaughter, Niesha Ncube, lost a battle with cancer, Kingston’s Sipho Ibeakanma has launched a project this Christmas, providing women and girls facing hair loss with handmade African Roots-inspired hair-scarves.
Ibeakanma hopes to donate a custom handmade Niesh Hair-Scarf Wig (The Niesh) to every local woman or girl who has struggled with hair loss due to cancer treatment and would like a comfortable hairpiece to wear.
Ncube was 16 years old when she lost her battle against a rare form of cancer, Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors. Ibeakanma started the hair-scarves project in memory of her beloved granddaughter; her husband, Charles Ibeakanma, covered the initial startup cost of the project. Now, the purchase of one Niesh Hair-Scarf Wig creates income to make a second one, which will be donated. People who cannot use The Niesh themselves but wish to support the initiative can do so by buying and sponsoring a Niesh Hair-Scarf Wig to be donated to a cancer patient who needs it.
“The beauty of this project is that it is designed to be self-sustainable,” said Ibeakanma.
She also explained that the Niesh Hair-Scarf Wig is not for balding women only; it is a beautiful, comfortable, and fashionable accessory that women of all races and ages will love and enjoy, even those with a full head of hair.
In addition, the project sells one-dollar “I Love You The Way You Are” Niesha silicon bracelets.
“We also include these in every Niesh Hair-Scarf package. People can buy as many of these as they want and hand them out randomly, to spread the cheer,” said Ibeakanma.
“These came about because Niesha used to always say to me, ‘Gogo (grandma), I love you the way you are.’ I later found out from her mother that Niesh used to say that to everybody she met, not just me. So, it was just fitting to create these bracelets and hand them out to people,” she added.
Ibeakanma explained how their family helplessly watched Ncube go through unimaginable pain and suffering. She tried hard to brave every treatment and endured all the other painful side effects of the cancer treatment, including losing her hair.
“Oh, how she cried for her hair, reminding us of the statement we heard before: ‘Hair is a woman’s pride.’ Finding a comfortable hairpiece should never be another daunting task anyone fighting cancer has to face,” said Ibeakanma.