55 Feet long.
That’s the length of the longest strand of Asha Mandela’s dreadlocks. The Atlanta, Georgia resident started growing her hair over 25 years ago. In an interview with The Daily Mail, Mandela says it’s her hair that has given her strength and “cutting it would be equivalent to suicide. It would be like being a zombie.”
Having such long hair does come with a price.
Mandela’s hair weighs 39 pounds and she has to carry them around in a baby sling. Her routine of washing her hair is done once a week, but it can take up to two days for them to fully dry. Amazingly her hair managed to survive chemotherapy in the late 1990s, and didn’t fall out.
According to Yahoo, in 2008, Mandela was the first person to receive the Guinness World Record for longest dreadlocks, but she went on to break her own record a year later with 19 feet, 6 inches. Because people can lengthen their locs by braiding in extensions, Guinness decided to retire the category, making Mandela the first and only record holder.
But is Mandala risking her health for her hair? According to doctors, the hair is the cause of some of her recent health problems.
“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 long hair, don’t care. Mandela isn’t planning on cutting it: “My hair has become part of me. It is my life. I will never cut it.”