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

A Heady Galaxy of Styles: South Africa’s Hair
Style Industry,
Valentine Cascarino, The Daily Mail and
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.’
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