The coronavirus has revived a coiffure in east Africa, one with braided spikes that echo the virus’s distinctive form.

The fashion’s rising reputation is partly resulting from financial hardships linked to virus restrictions – it’s low cost, mother and father say – and to the objective of spreading consciousness in regards to the coronavirus.

The coiffure had gone out of vogue lately as imported actual and artificial hair from India, China and Brazil started to flood the market and demand by native girls elevated. Photos of the flowing or braided imported kinds are tacked up in magnificence salons throughout a lot of Africa.

However now, in a makeshift salon beside a busy highway in Kibera, a slum within the coronary heart of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi,Sharon Refa, a 24-year-old hairdresser, braids younger ladies’ hair into the antennae-like spikes that individuals name the “coronavirus coiffure”. Women shift within the plastic chairs as she tugs at their scalps.

“Some grownups don’t consider that the coronavirus is actual, however most younger kids are eager to sanitize their fingers and put on masks. Many adults don’t do that, and that’s the reason we got here up with the corona coiffure,” Refa says, her face masks tucked underneath her chin.


Kenya’s variety of confirmed virus cases was nearing 700 as of Monday. With the widespread scarcity of testing supplies, nevertheless, the true variety of circumstances may very well be greater. Well being officers are particularly fearful in regards to the doable unfold of the virus in crowded slums.

Margaret Andeya, who’s struggling to make ends meet, mentioned the coronavirus coiffure suited her daughters’ styling wants and her pocket. Virus-related restrictions have stifled every day work for hundreds of thousands of individuals with little or no financial savings.

“This coiffure is rather more inexpensive for individuals like me who can’t afford to pay for the dearer hairstyles on the market but nonetheless need our children to look fashionable,” Andeya says.

It prices 50 shillings, or about 40p, to get the braids, whereas the common hairdo prices 300 to 500 shillings). That’s cash most individuals in Kibera can’t afford in the intervening time.

The method utilized in braiding the coronavirus coiffure is threading, which makes use of yarn as an alternative of artificial hair braids. That is the key to creating it inexpensive, residents say.

“Covid-19 has destroyed the financial system, taken our jobs from us, and now cash is scarce. I due to this fact determined to have my little one’s hair completed up like this at an inexpensive 50 shillings, and she or he appears good,” says 26-year-old Mariam Rashid.

“The coiffure additionally helps in speaking with the general public in regards to the virus.”

This content material was initially revealed here.


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