Sunday June 22 2014

Of daring hair brokers


By Stella Riunga

We live in a society run by middlemen, also known as agents, or brokers. Land brokers, school brokers (it is a jungle out there, even securing a place in a nursery school for your child is a nerve-wracking ordeal, unless you have no problem dumping baby at the nearest overcrowded local school where they will get ringworm faster than you can sneeze), meat brokers, car-part brokers, even hair brokers.

Yes, hair brokers. No, these are not women who are involved in the ancient and secret trade of human hair between Asia and Africa; these are women who lure customers into salons.

Go down to Old Park any day of the week, stroll past a certain building and you will find women positioned strategically on various street corners, most of them wearing faded-blue or black Darling aprons.

Before you start thinking that members of the oldest profession in the world have become brazen enough to jostle with tomato-vendors in broad daylight, relax. These are merely hair brokers.

Each is employed by a different salon and in this urban jungle, they will fight tooth and nail for customers. Cries of ‘jangu Aunty’ ‘jangu sister’ ‘jangu Mummy tukukole’ welcome you as soon as you approach. Never mind you are not related to any of them. Whether you are an S4-leaver without a single strand of hair on your head thanks to draconian school rules, or a corporate type looking for a two-hour solution to bad hair days, the hair broker will find just the right hairdresser for you.

“Jangu Mummy!” It can get really physical you know, with some of them literally manhandling you into their salons, your cries for help fading into the boiling-hot afternoon air.

Note that some of these women are seriously hefty. And once a seriously hefty woman clutches the upper part of your weak little hand, there is just no escaping their grip. It’s either you get your hair done or wrestle her down to the ground.
I predict that in future there will be a mini-version of the Hunger Games played out between the brokers and whoever walks away alive, gets the customer.
Tusaba gavumenti etuyambe!