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Wigs, Weaves And Woes: Beauty Not Priority In Crisis

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Thembeka Nkosi

A salon owner in the township of Soweto in South Africa laments how she has no option but to dip into her savings and await the relief fund promised by the government after the lockdown.

At a time when self-preservation has become far more important than keeping up with the Joneses, retail establishments offering grooming and hair treatment services have taken the cut, not listed as ‘essential services’ in the 35-day lockdown period in South Africa.

Le Salon is one such, founded by Thembeka Nkosi in South Africa’s sprawling township of Soweto in 2014 after she won a national hair competition, and received R10,000 ($536) in cash and a year’s supply of hair products and equipment, and she started working with major hair brands.

Nkosi was able to grow her business, but the coronavirus pandemic has now derailed all the progress she made.

“The business has been operating for six years and I employ three people paid weekly based on commissions. Now it is very difficult for the employees and myself because if there is no work, there is no income,” laments Nkosi, who is now dipping into her savings to sustain herself.

She urges people to abide by the rules of the lockdown to help flatten the curve, so life can return to normal and people like her can go back to business.

“I had applied for the relief fund promised by the government for small businesses, but the problem is that the money is needed now. We are not open now and not having an income now, but we’ll wait for that money which will help when we reopen, however, the problem is now!”

Before the lockdown, Nkosi had a couple of orders for wigs and is currently working on them.

“Luckily, I had enough stock [hair to make wigs], but even though I can’t deliver them, hopefully, after the lockdown, people will be able to get their hair. I will also lower prices when we reopen and work long hours to generate the money lost.”

Hopefully, she will be able to make up for lost time.

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