The Thousand-Year-Old Hair Ritual That’s Alive and Well in Chad

“Chébé is a gift left up in the mountain by God so it can bring down our hair to great lengths,” says Néné Izou, a member of the Bassara Arab tribe of Northern Chad. The female members of Izou’s tribe, and other nomadic women of the region, are known for their thick and lustrous hair, which often falls well below the belly button. The key to retaining their lengths? Chébé, an ancient hair-care ritual that’s been practiced by their ancestors for millennia.