Whilst every citizen is busy trying to contribute their quota to mitigate the spread of the pandemic and spread basic awareness on the virus, a hairstylist from South Africa is using his hair to educate children.
The stylist named Onele Cembi from KwaNobhuhle, Uitenhage, says he wants to educate children about the virus and teach them how to spell by writing the words ‘COVID-19’ in his dreadlocks.
“it seems children are ignorant about Covid-19. They often play in the streets and most of them who don’t even wear masks usually chase me, stop and stare to read … and that’s when I explain to them to stay at home and use soap to wash their hands regularly.”
“That is my contribution to the South African government, which is free,” says Cembi, who has been wearing his dreadlocks for ten years.
Cembi said making the hair took about an hour to “write” the words “Covid-19”, “quarantine” or “lockdown” with his dreadlocks, using supplementary dreadlocks where necessary.
“Foremost, I use the dreadlocks on my head to make a stand, to allow the words ‘Covid-19’ sit on it. I then write the words ‘Covid-19’, using bits of other natural locks that are intertwined with certain resources to make the word strong. Then I lift the word ‘Covid-19’, put it onto the stand… and that’s how it’s done. The dreadlocks in my head are like a house and the locks with words are like furniture.”
Speaking further, he said revealing how exactly it’s done is a secret he prefers not to disclose since he is in the business competitively.
When its time to retire to bed, he takes the words off his head in order to sleep.
Cembi, who also makes a living from poetry, says his family approves of his new hairstyle. “Sometimes my girlfriend would say to me before I leave the house: ‘Honey wait: one letter of the word on your head is skew.’ Then I would tie the word tightly”.
Ncumisa Bob, one of Onele salon customers, says she likes his hairstyles. “When I drove by him the first time I saw his art, I stopped to take some pictures.”
“The industry is crowded but his work is unique.”