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Natural hair extensions make waves in Kampala

Reporter: Hillary Ayesiga 丨 CCTV.com

06-20-2016 12:04 BJT

Uganda's hair trade is steadily growing as more hair enthusiasts are buying natural plaited dreadlocks. The much-coveted hairstyle is attracting both men and women who want a convenient and natural look for their hair.

A well-knitted dreadlock. A style admired by many African women. Rasta Abija Tamale has been braiding this hair for close to seven years. He says nowadays he gets customers who want to buy natural dreadlocks.

"Some of them have got short hair, so when they see a lady with long dread-locked hair and she looks good they come to me asking for dreadlocks. I have for $60 and $50 US dollars; it depends on the customer's affordability," Rasta Abija Tamale said.

Many customers here find it difficult to maintain a natural hair look while others say dreadlocks take so long to grow. A quicker and to some as well a cheaper option is to part with a few cents to buy the hair from willing sellers.

Madina Nansubuga's hair is naturally short. She always admired her peers who had long hair. And the alternative was to buy this hair extension.

"I used to admire women with long hair and yet my hair is short. So I came to this saloon for advise and they sold to me this hair," she said.

Most hair extensions in Uganda are imported from Asia and Latin America. Women who wear them say they are convenient and flexible for changing looks. But for others like Sarah Matovu, dreadlocks saves time spent in saloons and also avoid having to apply dangerous substances.

"The chemical burns the hair; you can't be putting only chemicals from January up to December. The reason why we go to plait our hair is to allow the hair rest for some time so that we get a natural hair," Sarah Matovu said.

But health experts warn poor handling of natural hair extentions may result in the spread of unwanted diseases. They are now urging everyone engaged in this business to maintain high standards in order to avoid such problems. For Rasta Abija Tamale and other hairstylists, the urge for people to beautify their looks provides an opportunity to cash in.

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