Get Enchanted in a Swahili Beauty Parlour in the Heart of Berlin

Swahili beauty parlour
An image from the set up at the Dahlen Museum in Berlin.

Ever been to a Swahili beauty parlour? Ever taken part in the preparation of brides at the Kenyan/Tanzanian coast? The Dahlem Museums in Berlin are offering you a chance of experiencing a visit to a Swahili parlour, right in the heart of Berlin.

The small space is decorated like a swahili beauty parlour including music and scents from the Kenyan and Tanzanian coasts. The idea is to enchant visitors using sites, sounds and scents. However, there is also the aspect of exposing the Swahili aesthetic which combines “inner” and “outer”, spiritual and physical beauty and appeals to all the senses synaesthetically.

The set up that is sponsored by the Humboldt Forum has been created with the help of Jasmin Anna-Karima Mahazi, doctoral candidate at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, FU Berlin and Maimuna Abdalla Said Difini, a traditional Swahili beautician. Both of whom were raised on the island of Lamu.

Jasmin is writing her dissertation on the oral literature of Bajuni farmers of the northern Swahili Coast and offers Swahili lessons at the FU in Berlin. She studied anthropology, African and Arabic studies, specializing in Swahili literature and culture.

Maimuna was born and raised in Lamu where she completed a modern training as beautician. Since then she has worked as hairdresser and beautician in beach hotel beauty parlors as well as for private Swahili clients, especially in bridal preparations for Swahili weddings. She lives and works in Mombasa.

You can visit the exhibition at:

Humboldt Lab Dahlem
Dahlem Museums, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Lansstraße 8
14195 Berlin

There will be a guided tour by the curators on the 8th of July, 2015 at 3.30 pm

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