Rebecca Kabaya Lifestyle writer
Piercings are body decorations that are far from new as they date back from ancient times. Body piercings involve making a hole on the skin to insert jewelry.
Body piercing is done worldwide by both women and men.
Earlobe and lower lip piercing is regarded as ancient piercing that has lived for many centuries, and many tribes did this for body modification.
In primitive societies piercing arose in different tribes to save particular purposes such as prevention from bad spirits, magic, improvement of eyesight and identity. In countries like Egypt and Nigeria piercing of certain body parts would represent royalty.
In many societies, ear piercing is done as a ritual indicating puberty. Some tribes prescribed that each of the parents would pierce an ear, symbolising the child’s dependence upon them.
In Zimbabwe we have the Tonga tribe which is popularly known for their vibrant culture of body piercing. Men are pierced on their nose and it is called bridge nasal piecing as a sign of virility.
However, nowadays, people across culture divides are having their bodies pierced mainly for fashion. It is one of the trending fashions.
Piercing has grown in popularity for the past few years especially among teenagers, who pierce just about anything that can be pierced on their bodies from ears, noses, tongues, navels to mention a few.
Most piercing is done in pharmacies, but there are also backyard facilities for this practice.
In an interview, Linett Mkutirwa who works in Harare, said usually they pierce children and teenagers and a few adults.
“People who come to get pierced don’t do it for cultural reasons, but for fashion because it is something that is trendy these days. Most of our customers are babies from three months, teenagers and adults. Boys usually come to get pierced one ear and girls have it on both ears.
“Although we have clients who come and ask to be pierced on other places other than their ears, we turn them away because we do not offer such services.
“The major reason why we pierce ears only is because we do not have facilities, technique and lastly we are not interested in piercing other body parts,” she said.
Most people who want to be pierced in other places like lip and oral, navel or belly piercing visit other shops like the saloons where these services are offered.
Navel piercing and belly buttons have always been popular body piercing especially among the Asians, particularly in Indian culture.
Larmeck Zvaireva who is a professional piercer, owns a shop in the CBD said he does all kinds of piercing though he considers age for some body piercings whilst prices vary from $8 depending on the type of piercing one wants.
“Usually my customers are those people ranging from 10 to 40 years. I have been in this business for a long time and one thing I have noticed is that teenagers are the ones who come to get nose rings, belly buttons, tongue bars and lip piercings.
“I usually prefer clients who are over 18 years for piercings of other parts besides ears because they are painful and need to be taken care of for them to heal properly without complications.
“Most of my clients are from rich families who do not really mind about certain ‘awkward’ piercing. To them its fashion and classy to be pierced on any body part. They actually get pierced as a way to wear their gold and diamond studs and earrings,” he said.
Piercing should be done in a way that does not ruin or interrupt one’s social and daily life. For example, some schools and jobs that don not allow students or employees to have facial piercings.
If one would want to donate blood in future, it is important to keep in mind that there are some organisations who don’t accept blood from people who have been pierced within the last year. Therefore, there is need to make sure the piercing is appropriate for your daily life.
For some people like Blessmore Nyakasikana, piercing is regarded as a Western culture that was adopted from the jail in the United States, and it is satanic.
“Modern piercing has nothing to do with portraying culture because our culture never encouraged males to pierce one ear.
“Some are going to extremes of piercing the whole face which is no longer attractive. To me, this kind of piecing is evil and satanic,” he said.
It is a good idea to make sure people are vaccinated for diseases such as hepatitis B and tetanus before they get a piercing.
When done in a clean and professional environment, piercing is usually safe. But if piercing equipment is unclean, there is a risk of getting blood-transmitted diseases.
These include, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus and HIV. Some common risks of piercing are, chronic infection, skin allergies, abscesses (pus-filled, painful areas of skin), inflammation or nerve damage and prolonged bleeding.
A sterile environment is the most important thing to consider when deciding where to go to get pierced. For extra safe piercing people should never pierce themselves or have friends to do so. People get pierced for different reasons and local celebrities Roki, Bev and Stunner spoke about why they got holes for jewellery on their bodies.
Roki said he got pierced when he was a teenager without his parents’ consent after getting inspiration from the late American hip hop star, Tupac.
“I got pierced at the age of 15 and I still remember very well that my mother wasn’t happy. There is no parent that would want their child to be do such dangerous things at that age. I was pierced on two places that’s my ears and just above my eye.
“Besides hip hop artists like Tupac, Lil Wayne and Kendric Lamar I was also inspired to get pierced by the need to be creative, look better and express myself. Being pierced is just like going to the gym trying to better yourself,” he said.
Beverly Sibanda, popularly known as Bev, has got more than three body piercings. She said she got pierced because it is a distinctive style.
“I am pierced on my lower lip, tongue, nose and ears. Being pierced is now a trending fashion and I feel like it goes hand in hand with my profession as a dancer it helps me express the exclusive me,” she said.
Hip hop artist Stunner said he got pierced on his ears for the same reason all the ladies that are pierced.
“I got pierced so as to decorate myself and make my own brand. Piercing can be viewed as the arts industry culture because most people involved in it are pierced including myself,” he said.