My racist haircut

Going into town today, I thought I’d try get a haircut in preparation for the Lake of Stars Music Festival. I walked through the non-food part of the market, and snapped some photos first.

P1030032Colourful chitenjes, for wrapping wherever you want to – around head, bosom, waist, baby, etc… Or to use as curtains in our house!
P1030035Enamel plates make a nice display
P1030034Inside the covered part of the market – a less busy area, and not representative of the bustle at all.
P1030036I liked this sign in the street for the full range of signage services they offer, and the motto at the bottom.

I bought some (overpriced but unavoidable) phone credit from one of the usual ladies seated at their red plastic tables, and asked her if she knew where I could get a reasonable haircut. P1030561 Of course, I’d seen signs advertising barbers before, (like the one on the right) but I wanted a personal recommendation. The lady didn’t know, and yelled across the street to her large-bosomed friend, who came cheerfully bouncing across to help me. She told me where at the bottom of the market they did the haircuts. And lo, she was quite right. There as described, were about ten concrete cubicles in a row, with men standing about chatting boredly outside. I walked up and there was immediate professional interest, with no pressure to go to any particular stall. I chose a guy who looked careful and fastidious. He showed my into the concrete cubicle with a polite flourish of his hand, and I sat on the rickety wooden chair while he draped me in a sheet. The cubicle was grimy and largely bare. On the floor were a selection of hair clipper attachments and a toilet roll. The plaster on the walls was chipped or missing in places, and directly in front of me were a few strips of broken mirror, roughly stuck together to give an image of half my head at a time. So not much of a view, but that didn’t matter. P1030040I asked the barber how much it would be, and he told me K350, pointing at a sign in the corner. And, yes, there it was. “Mitengo (Prices)”, K100 for an adult, K70 for a child, K120 for “style”, and a whopping K350 for “OTHER RACES”. (I don’t know what the other words mean.) That’s three times the price of a Malawian! I was flabbergasted, momentarily. I briefly considered arguing with him, feeling that I’d been overcharged enough already due to my white skin. But I quickly decided against it. After all, it was written on the wall!

In the end it was an excellent haircut with good clippers, and at less than £2, it’s still the cheapest haircut I’ve ever paid for.

P1030039

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1 Comment »

  1. Verena said

    brilliant! first promising “true love”, but apparently not for everyone. I want to see a pic of your racist hair cut!

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