The History of the Bleached Horse-tail Peruke
King Edward III's reign in Britain is the source of this unfashionable mess. The judiciary established "court dressing" in the United Kingdom and this was further endorsed by the Judges Rules of 1635. The wigs, which are called perukes, were a 17th century accessory under King Charles II. They were British bourgeoise fashion and ironically, the legal profession resisted them while they were an "in thing" only to accept and obstinately wear them even after they were no longer in vogue. Due to colonialism, these ridiculous wigs found their way to Africa and while British courts are slowly letting them go, some African jurisdictions jealously guard them. According to Mental Floss, "In more recent times, the requirements have been substantially relaxed, and the use of robes and wigs is mostly seen during criminal cases and at formal events. It's possible that they'll be discarded entirely within our lifetimes." Meanwhile, in some countries, no one seems interested in having conversations about these colonial relics.
The simple answer is power. Colonialism had optics and these came to be associated with power and authority. It is these optics that blacks in power feel are central to the offices they now hold. Robert Mugabe, for example, enjoyed the unnecessary and excessively British opening of parliament pomp and fanfare despite going around the world preaching pan-Africanism. It is a flaw in African leaders, they lust for imperial glory and how it looks. Isaac Okero, a Kenyan lawyer told The Washington Post, "I don't feel at all that it has any negative connotation of colonialism. It has risen beyond that. It is a tradition of the Kenyan bar."
Okero forgot to acknowledge that it is a borrowed tradition and those who lent it to Africa are starting to realize the silliness of it all. It is a King Charles tradition!
African dress code for Africans
Africa should have been first to drop the obviously uncomfortable wig considering the heat African judiciaries have to endure in their pursuit of justice. After all, there is no utility to the wig. It does not help the administration of justice and is of no apparent use. In fact, while people have discussions about the wig, there is a need to talk about the neck-tie and how inappropriate it is for African weather. Why should Africans follow the dress code of Europeans whose summers are not as warm as African winters?
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