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.


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