A Heady Galaxy of Styles: South Africa's Hair Style Industry

| November 27, 2000

A Heady Galaxy of Styles: South Africa's Hair Style Industry, Valentine Cascarino, The Daily Mail and Guardian
Valentine Cascarino of South Africa's Daily Mail and Guardian gives us the lowdown on modern African 'dos. Culling from tribal traditions and Hollywood glam, the multimillion-rand African hair industry is thriving on urban street corners. 'From Egypt where the wig was first made as early as 3000 BC,' Cascarino explains, 'to Southern Africa where the Zulus began tall ochered coiffures; from West Africa where the first braids were made and spiced with coins and brass ornaments to East Africa where the Masai spent leisure hours on grooming and self-adornment - the hair industry seems determined to grow and grow.' Braiding is by far the most popular style today, with seemingly endless variations such as a 'bampa curl,' 'condross' and 'crown star.' And while the 'pavement hairstylist' business is booming, competition can be cutthroat. 'To keep customers coming,' divulges one Maputo stylist, 'you don't only have to be an expert hairstylist but you also have to provide what your competitors can't provide, like engaging with your customers in relationship conversation and offering advice on how best to treat a man.'
--Amanda Luker
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