Fashion for wigs fuels hair black market

2013-11-14 00:00

DEMAND for human hair for weaves and wigs has seemingly opened a whole new black market for “stolen” hair in which salons often get approached by street suppliers offering hair for sale.

While hairdressers in Durban, mostly upmarket ones, have adapted to the growing demand for 100% human hair, they maintain they only buy from reputable suppliers.

Thandaza Mthethwa, a hairdresser who works in Salisbury Centre on Anton Lembede (Smith) Street in Durban, recently bought human hair imported from Brazil for R4 500 from a friend who originally bought it in Mozambique.

“But obviously she got it at a lower price. Because of the demand, people tend to inflate their prices.”

Mthethwa warned that it was important to buy from reputable suppliers to avoid fake hair.

Nombuso Majikija from the ethnic hair product shop Jabu Stone said they only bought hair or dreadlocks from the owners themselves.

“If we know those people, then we buy their dreadlocks only to supply our clients’ demands. Some people are so desperate for hair out there.”

She said first-time suppliers had to produce a picture of themselves when they still had their dreadlocks, because it has also become quite common for dreadlocks to be stolen.

She added clients’ desperation had opened a whole new business opportunity for people to sell hair.

“So now what happens is that they go around stealing or cutting hair off other people.”

Majikija maintained at Jabu Stone they had terms and conditions and did not just accept anything from anyone.

The Witness yesterday reported that women in KwaDukuza, especially Indian women with long, straight hair, are afraid to walk through the CBD amid reports of thieves hacking off the hair of unsuspecting victims.

The CBD has recently also seen several incidents of chain and jewellery snatching.

KwaDukuza District Mayor Ricardo Mthembu said he had “declared war” on these criminals, and will be asking police to investigate the incidents.

Mthembu said: “What kind of way is that to treat young women?”

Dubbed the “piranha gangs” by locals, it is believed that the thieves, much like their chain-snatching counterparts, roam the streets with scissors, looking for hair to cut off and sell on the black market.

Locals said the hair, known as virgin hair, is regarded as the best quality hair for extensions and wigs.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.