Bantu Knots: The History of Bantu Knots & the Modern times

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Bantu Knots

Being a die-hard natural hair enthusiast, one of my favorite hairstyles is Bantu knots. It’s a cool and simple way of protecting hair and can be styled in so many creative ways.

But how MUCH do we really know about Bantu knots? Where did they originate from, who has worn bantu knots in the celebrity world?

That is what we will discuss in this article, so stay with me.

What are Bantu knots?

Bantu knots are a hairstyle that involve sectioning off your hair, twisting each part and wrapping the twists around the base in such a way that the hair layers itself to form a spiraled knot.

The knots can from twisted hair, braided hair or even hair with extensions like in the picture below.

bantu knots

This hairstyle is referred to as Chiny bumps, Zulu knots or Nubian knots. Bantu knots are the pride of Africa and therefore common among the black community worldwide.

They are mainly installed as a protective hairstyle or to achieve bouncy curls without using any heat.

Bantu knots are also very versatile and can be worn on different hair textures and lengths.

Where did Bantu knots originate from?

Bantu knots originate from Southwestern Africa, specifically from among the Zulu tribes. Bantu knots soon spread to Southern, Central and Eastern Africa.

This hairstyle has have been in existence for more than a 100 years and is still trending today.

It is impossible to define Bantu knots without defining the word Bantu. The word Bantu is a word that is believed to mean people by the Zulu. Therefore, it goes without saying that Bantu knots means People knots.

This simple African hairstyle has found itself on the rise in recent years.

Previously known to be for African women and even being associated with slavery, it’s a style to be worn with pride given its rich history.

The style is getting famous day by day and we see some of our favorite celebrities rocking the hairstyle to the red carpet and others even used it on their models on the runway.

Bantu Knots Worn by Celebrities

Here are some of the celebrities who have worn Bantu Knot representing the tribe and spreading the love and appreciation for this wonderful hairstyle.

Rihanna’s Bantu Knots

Rihanna, notably, one of the world’s greatest fashion icons has had Bantu knots on several occasions. She is a fan of protective hairstyles and Bantu knots have proven to be her favorite.

We see her with them on at events such as: The iHeartRadio Music Awards in 2014 and  The Crop Over Festival in Barbados in 2019.

Recently she also shared a post of her in neatly done Bantu knots on Instagram while she was advertising Butta Drop, her company’s, Fenty Skin, new skin oil.

Logan Browning

The “Dear White People” series star, Logan Browning has also rocked the Bantu knots.

During her talk at the Build Studio in New York City in 2019, she showed up with Bantu knots on her. The star was looking very beautiful in the asymmetrical pattern of the Bantu knots.

Cardi B

Cardi B wore Bantu knots to the red carpet for the Hustler’s movie press event in August 2019.

The star was looking stunning as usual, and we never get bored.

Unlike many who have it on their natural hair, Cardi B had it done on her wig proving again that she is a woman of impossibilities. Her hairdo also gives emphasis on how Bantu knots are versatile, and you are not limited.

Kiki Layne

Kiki Layne showed up with Bantu knots on the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The actress has had Bantu knots on a couple of times but this time she took it a notch higher. She added Marley braids extensions to her knots giving them a fuller look and feel.

Kiki Layne adding Marley braids extensions shows the different variations you can install you Bantu knots.

Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi is known for her natural curly hair. In most events, she likes to lay her hair down and tie it at the back.

In 2018, she surprised everyone. With the help of her hair stylist, Nai’vasha Johnson, Yara Shahidi had Bantu knots on for the Los Angeles premiere of the BlacKkKlansman. And yes, the young star was looking gorgeous in the new hairdo.

She did it again in 2020. I must say, I do love an element of surprise.

Yara Shahidi had Bantu knots on for the Thom Browne Fall 2020 Ready-to-Wear show in Paris. As usual, she slayed the look once more without any apologies and ended up being the talk of the season.

Tia Mowry

Tia Mowry went posted a photo of herself in Instagram wearing Bantu knots in a mohawk formation.

This look was inspired by her new natural hair journey. In 2020, Tia Mowry had her hair cut stating that she has never worn her natural hair ever since she entered the entertainment industry until she became an adult.

Her curly hair was seen as problematic and inconvenient and as a result she became insecure.

Once she became an adult, she decided to appreciate the crown God gave her and ever since she has been serving us natural hairstyle looks making us green with envy.

Bantu knots vs Zulu knots

Bantu knots and Zulu knots are one and the same thing.

As mentioned earlier, Bantu knots are also referred to as Zulu knots. This is because Bantu knots get their origin from the Zulu tribes from southwestern Africa.

Bantu refers to several ethnic groups in Africa that speak a different variation of the Bantu language and it is the Zulu word for people.

The Zulu people had these knots on and therefore it makes sense why they are popularly known as Bantu knots rather than Zulu knots.


Bantu knots can be rocked by anyone and everyone. They are versatile and you can incorporate different variations. Feel free to explore and wear your crown with pride.

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