Barbers living it up

HARARE - When he was a young boy, Jimmy Kangwara dreamt of having a white collar job but as life would have it he turned out to be a barber.

Kangwara is just one of the many barbers who are living decent lives through cutting people’s hair.

Samson Makaripe, Kingston Kwinjo, Cosmas Washayanyika and Moses Madziro are also making a decent living out of the job.

Now 37, Kangwara is spending his life cutting people’s hair and he loves the job he has been doing for 20 years.

On a good week the soft spoken barber says he makes as much as $1000.

He is so good that the country’s celebrities flock to his barbershop.

“My father was my inspiration as he bought me tools of the trade including clippers, a power generator and other things,” he said.

The country’s first president Canaan Banana was once his client, so was former deputy prime minister Thokozani Khupe, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Tourism minister Walter Mzembi also rank among his top clients.

Although he never planned to be a barber his grades at school were bad that his lofty dreams of a white collar job came to nought.

“We would go to emerging residential areas where there were no shopping areas and electricity and we got clients. That pushed me to do more and I found out that I enjoyed it.

“I started off in Epworth, and then moved to Hatfield before getting into the central business district (CBD) where I have been since 2002.

“At some point I was operating from a local hotel, that was when the good fortunes started,” said Kangwara.

His best memory in the business was a match between Zimbabwe and Mali.

For 38-year-old Makaripe, leaving his sales representative job in 2006 was a good decision.

“I used to do haircuts even when I was a sales representative. I then decided to get into the hair business full time. I do not regret my decision as I handle some of the top guns in the country.

“At times I am even offered holidays and given Christmas presents by these high profile clients. Something that I never experienced when I was a sales rep,” he said.

Like Kangwara, another barber Kwinjo’s, 40, trade started off using a power generator.

“I started 15 years ago with my brother in Kuwadzana. That was the time we started having electricity shortages so we became handy.

“I then moved from Kuwadzana into the CBD and have not looked back since then. I don’t really calculate how much I get but it’s enough to sustain my family and me.”

Another barber Madziro, 41, is a proud holder of a class 1 hair dressing certificate.

“I wanted to work in the hospitality or agriculture industry but I failed to do so.

“I did not pass mathematics. I then proceeded to do an apprenticeship in hairdressing, so it was not by chance. I trained for what I do.”

While some of these mentioned barbers came into the field by chance, 38-year-old Washayanyika had always wanted to be one.

“I used to cut people’s hair with a scissors back in my rural home. It is something that I have always been passionate about. I then moved to Harare after my employer died in Chegutu and I have not looked back ever since.

“I work with the who is who of the country and I have no regrets.

“I am also a marriage counsellor, a preacher, and a childline counsellor.

“I did not train for all these but it’s something that I am passionate about. I believe that in order to maintain and keep clients you have to understand what they want.

“You have to know what to talk about in a certain client’s presence, some prefer not to talk and some love talking. It’s all about studying the person you have at a given moment,” he said.

All these men have many things in common.

They are married, have managed to build houses for their children sorely on hairdressing money.

For a job that seems mundane, they are living comfortable lives.

Comments (3)

Once went to this barber who had a reputation of talking the ears off his clients.On being asked how I liked my hair cut?I replied....Quietly please except for the snips of the scissors.

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