Meet The Woman With The World’s Longest Locs

by Yesha Callahan



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.”



  • MimiLuvs

    I appreciate her dedication to maintaining her locs.
    But, if it was me… nah. First off, I hate having hair-length that is past my shoulders. The moment that I have to keep my hair in a baby sling, in order to travel properly, I have to cut some of it off.

  • MommieDearest


    The first thing I thought about was the dude who OG’d in I’m Gonna Get You Sucka, “How does she go to the bathroom?”

  • Deb

    Choosing her hair (length) over her health. What is new?

  • lya


  • JN

    I’m sorry but there is no reason why anyone needs hair that long, whether natural or straight. Especially if it hampers mobility.

  • geenababe

    It amazing how hair becomes very important in some women lives. Like yesterday with the story in Venezuela where the lady said not being able to have long hair is tragic.

  • -A.

    she trippin.
    honey your locs are NOT making you stronger if your spine is deteriorating.

  • ruggie

    The Black Rapunzel!

  • L

    Hair is dead cells, it’s not that serious to me. I think people just choose to find thier identity in anything they can. Her hair gives her strength? forreal? when she is actually loosing strength (health) from having that hair.

  • Sula

    It might not be my cup of tea, but can we all agree that the Sister’s hair is beautiful, and then move on? I don’t think she needs a sounding board of “commentators” telling her that she should cut it. Clearly, she’s grown and can and WILL do as she pleases. It’s HER hair.

    #whogaveyoupermissiontorearrangeme?…certainly, not me.

  • binks

    her hair is beautiful but being healthy and taking care of yourself is the most beautiful thing you can do for yourself. I know we do things for the sake of aesthetics/appearances but when those things start to hinder you and your lifestyle then you need reality check and need to get your proprieties in order. Her hair shouldn’t BE her life.

  • leila

    Ain’t nothing beautiful about a collapsed neck.

  • Starla

    Deep down everybody wants to be known for something in this world, and this his her claim to fame. However, to place your health and longevity in jeopardy to maintain your hair length is a gross act of vanity.

  • No Comment

    She could make some serious bank if she cut and sold her hair for loc extensions.

  • Marq Diggs

    I bet whenever India Arie’s “I’m Not My Hair” comes on Pandora she pushes the next song button…

  • Pepper

    This looks so ridiculous! Reminds me of the people you see with 8, or 12 inch fingernails that are curling around, and look gross

  • SuggBoxxBabe


  • Mona

    I think the Lord would bless her just the same if she cut it , let’s say to her back side. I’m sure he didn’t want her hair to be burden to her. And possibly a health hazard to her carrying it in a bag.. It wouldn’t be like Samson whose hair was cut extremely short.
    Sometimes you just have to ask God for wisdom. All the best, and thanks for sharing.

  • justanotheropinion

    “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.”

    Therapy is in order here. Nothing about this story is healthy – physically or mentally.

  • SJ

    please cut your hair. it is interfering with a normal life.

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