By Lynette Kozosi
Hairstyles and braids used by women and sometimes even men of colour have made a statement in the fashion industry with stars like Alicia Keys having given it a new meaning in the late 90’s.
The phrase “suffer for beauty” comes to use with its full meaning in this instance.
Not only does one sit for two to nine hours to get braided but you also have to pay hard earned cash and endure the pulling of the scalp to have braids beautifully blended with your own hair.
The hair business does not only provide fashionable looks to people but to some it’s their source of income.
Soweto Market in Katutura is one such place that provides a business home for those who render such services to the public. Here small informal businesses braid hair and sell hair products like hair sprays, hair accessories and braids to people from all walks of life. Places like Soweto Market face competition from the upmarket salons that are mostly situated in town.
But despite the competition, people like Emmi Shivute prefer to go to Soweto Market to get their hair done because the prices are cheaper and negotiable and one gets to talk to people openly.
“I’m satisfied with the service I get here, it’s worth my money, besides these are my home people,” she added.
The prices vary from style to style depending on the type of hairstyle. The cheapest hairstyle at the market is N$50 while the most expensive is N$250, depending on whether one wants to braid the style with your own hair or with braids.
The prices at the formal salons are usually higher.
But again, maintenance and rent for salons, especially the ones in town, are high compared to Soweto Market where people pay N$50 for a stall from which they run the business.
One of the stallholders at Soweto Market, Kavetjiua Katjiri, says the prices are reasonably cheap when looking at the size and conditions of the stall.
“Business is good and varies from month to month and depending on what time of the month it is,” she said.
The longest these hairstyles are able to remain in a good condition is about two weeks.
An average person who braids her hair spends a minimum of N$100 a month to a maximum of N$250 in two months depending on what hairstyle she prefers.
People braid for different reasons. Some believe that one’s hair grows faster if it is in braids because it is not exposed to the sun while others do it because braids look stylish or are they are just in need of a makeover.
But whatever the reason for braiding one’s hair, most people agree that it is worth their time and money.