You walk past a shack like shelter in the neighborhood and a young man approaches, “Nyaa wena nka go cut ka P10.00 hela brazen,” he insinuates. You stop and start to wonder whether to take the young man’s offer as an alternative to pricier and longer trips to the salon.
After thoughtful and economic thinking, you decide it’s best you get this done and over with.
“Bloma ha brazen,” says the young man as he offers a chair inside the shelter where there is a battery, power inverter and clippers hanging on the wall. “O di shapa jang brazen?” he asks as he throws that black cloak on you and puts protectors over the collar so it doesn’t get hair on it.
After telling him your preferred haircut he takes out a hair clipper and sprays it with a methylated spirit disinfectant. After changing a number of adjustable guide combs during the cutting process, he comes out with a fantastic fresh and clean haircut.
As he gives you part of a broken wall mirror to gaze at, he asks, “Ao shapo ka mandevu?” After thorough satisfaction, he dusts off hair from your clothes, skin and finally uses that methylated spirit on your head.
The feeling is as awkward as ever but for a moment there you think of all the fancy haircuts you have done at the salon where ladies massage your head, wash your hair and the add conditioners.
After a few seconds the feeling goes away, you look at the mirror and feel o ka tsena mo bathong’ like the rest. Besides some uncomfortable conversations you took during the hair cutting process, you acknowledge that indeed the man knows your head more than yourself. Even though you walk out of a place often associated with drug dealing, you realise it was more than a cut, but you were rather in for a truly magnificent experience.
Recently at the President’s Day Competitions Fashion Show where the hairdressing category was making its way for the second year after being added last year, I realised that they ought to have a category for the barbers as well.
From the beautiful
The competition was a unique platform for the hairdressers, to showcase their outstanding talents that have a massive impact on the local hairdressing community.
The judges were looking at many aspects among others presentations, skills showcase and the ability to work on natural hair. Susan Kwelagobe beat the rest to walk away with the P10 000 cash prize. It was great to see what a person can create using hair but I bet it would have been even better to see the creativity, and uniqueness a barber can bring to the already thriving arts competition. Barbers have kept their traditional and true styles since the beginning and maybe that is why some may think their craft is simple.
Barbers target men’s style cuts, as they expertly blend, fade, and shave. Even as trends change in hair fashion, it is easy to differentiate a good haircut from a bad one.
The dynamics of barbering remain original and authentic but young barbers represents style and what they do with a clipper would amaze.
Compared to hairdressers, a barber’s job maybe quicker and less expensive but with their skills they will give you a great haircut.
They don’t have fancy brushes, styling tools nor any spray but they give you a good, solid technical haircut.
I have been given a haircut by the best barbers in town, I have watched best barber in the world video compilations on Youtube, I have seen people with the most amazing haircuts walk around confidently on the streets so I do not see any reason why President’s Day competitions should not include that category for barbers.