Hairstylist Onele Cembi, has twisted his dreadlocks into the word “COVID-19”, with an aim to educate children about the disease.
The hairstylist from kwaNobuhle, Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape, seems to believe that children find interest in things that are seemingly unusual, so he twisted his dreadlocks into the word COVID-19 to grab their attention and get them to listen to him. He said that once he gets their attention, he stops to explain to them more about the disease.
“Children seem to be ignorant about Covid-19. They often play in the streets and most of them who don’t even wear masks often chase me, stop and stare to read… and that is when I explain to them to stay at home and use soap to wash their hands regularly,” he told the GroundUp.
Cembi, who is also a poet who used to earn money from performances, says that even though his business, ‘Odds and Odz Dreads Salon’, is currently closed due to the nationwide lockdown, he still continues to style his own dreads.
He says he can style his dreadlocks into any word he desires to, but sometimes it requires him to add dreadlock extensions. Words such as “Covid-19”, “quarantine” or “lockdown”, only takes him about an hour to style.
Even though he did share the basics of achieving that adorable hairstyle, he says he prefers not to share the steps in detail as he is in the business competitively.
“First I use my dreadlocks on my head to make a stand, so the word ‘COVID-19’ sits on it. I then write the word ‘Covid-19’ using bits of other natural locks that are intertwined with certain equipment 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 hairdresser says he removes the word every night before going to bed and sometimes fails to tighten them all correctly until his supportive girlfriend tells him before leaving the house that some of the letters are “skew”.
Ncumisa Bob who is one of his customers really gives credit to his work. “There are competitors, but his work is unique,” she said.