Barber goes from junkie to king of the clean cut

2014-05-18 15:00

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Michael Morukhuladi spends his days beneath a tree in Soweto, trying to get passers-by to sit in his chair and allow him to give them a R15 haircut.

But on Thursday, Morukhuladi upped his game: he beat nine others in three rounds of competition to be crowned “best barber” by electronics giant Philips.

Armed with clippers and a model who started the night with a full head of hair, Morukhuladi squared off in Joburg’s Maboneng Precinct with other barbers to show judges his creativity, technique, accuracy and overall styling ability.

He was hailed by judges for his “clean cut” – but they didn’t know that Morukhuladi is fighting a battle of his own to stay clean.

He told City Press he stopped using drugs three weeks ago after his mother told him getting clean would set his life on the right track.

“I’ve been a barber for 15 years. I received my training from a local barber while I was in high school,” he said.

The four-man judging panel unanimously decided that Morukhuladi should take home the R5?000 grand prize.

“I feel Michael was the obvious winner because he was creative and was able to produce a clean cut,” said Blayze, a producer and artist who judged the competition.

Blayze – he goes by his stage name – is a Philips ambassador. He said men were becoming more interested in personal grooming.

“When guys go to the barber, they want a signature style – one that is different from the rest of the other haircuts out there,” he said.

Morukhuladi said he planned to invest a large portion of the money but would also share some of it with his friends.

“I’m going to give them R500 each, just to thank them for their support.

“I want to thank my mother. She told me to quit alcohol and drugs. She said I must stop using drugs and things in my life would start going well.”

http://youtu.be/RO2SuHs5FBQ

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