In Nigeria, the idea of becoming a female barber is not commonplace but Onyinye Obasi has risen above all odds in her chosen profession.
As a woman in a male-domiated field, Ms Obasi, who took up barbering full time in 2014, says she has no regrets.
In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, she shares the joys and challenges of being a female barber in Nigeria.
PT: Why did you decide to become a barber?
Onyinye: That’s the question I always get. I honestly didn’t have an intention to learn barbing. I wanted to learn a skill because my mum insisted that I learn a skill irrespective of my first degree. So after my National Youth Service, I wanted to learn a skill just to please my mum.
However, I picked a skill that can still spark my interest while learning and boom, the idea of barbing came in.
The fact that I have never heard or seen a female barber then when I learnt in 2009 sparked my interest.
PT: How did the journey officially begin?
Onyinye: After learning in 2010, I didn’t have a job then so I volunteered my services for free In the barbershop where I learnt until I got a job months later.
In 2014, I didn’t have a job, so, during an event where I was volunteering my services, I ran into someone with a bad haircut and I advised him on haircuts that will suit his facial structure.
So, my knowledge of haircuts and facial structure prompted him to tell me he knows someone who owns a salon that is looking for a female barber and gave me the contact. I got there, I was interviewed and I got the job.
I told my then employer that I will be working part time since I had a job (the volunteer job) then. Sometime, in 2015 I fell in love with the barbing career and I decided to chase it fully by launching my brand, LushTrends Barbershop in Oregun, Lagos.
PT: How has the feedback been?
Onyinye: Honestly at first it wasn’t easy, I had a lot of rejections, clients looking down at barbers because they see barbing as menial. In fact, there was a time I almost dusted my CV to go back to the corporate world but I’m glad I didn’t.
I have been a female barber 11 years unprofessionally and six years professionally and I’m still counting.
PT: What do you love about your job?
Onyinye: I cut people’s hair for a living but what I sell is good looks and self-confidence. The fact that I help an individual walk out of their low self-esteem to a full blown confidence gives me joy.
For me, it’s more than just being a barber; I see myself as a therapist. The fact that I inspire people gives me great joy.
Onyinye’s barbing shop
PT: What reaction do you get when people walk into the store and see a female barber?
Onyinye: When I first started the prejudice was so high. I get a blank ‘No, I’m so sorry you can’t cut my hair’ and they request a male barber.
It’s so painful then because they could trust a male barber for the first time and in my case, it was concluded that I don’t know how to barb just because I’m a woman. In some cases I get excuses like I’m a title chief and women don’t touch my head.
Now it’s so fascinating seeing me cut their hair for the first time and when I’m done they get stuck with the value I offer.
PT: We realise you have also groomed a crop of female barbers.
Onyinye: Indirectly, I have a lot of barbers who are learning from me. Presently, I’m mentoring one and she is working with me. You can’t work with me or be around me and not do the job. I’m a motivational force.
My tactic is by me doing the work. Whatever I want them to do, I do it, so I’m leading by example.
PT: Have you cut the hair of famous people?
Onyinye: Yes, I have cut the hair of a lot of famous people. From Fin Osibanjo, the (Vice President of Nigeria’s son), Joro Olumofin, Deyemi, Harrysong, some international artists, in fact, I have lost count.
PT: You once said women harass you for cutting their husbands’ hair. Why does this happen?
Onyinye: One thing I noticed is that generally, men are very loyal to their barbers, especially when they find a good one. So, some women can’t seem to believe that their man’s barber is a woman. They show their insecurities and sometimes display it in the salon.
PT: Is your partner supportive of your profession?
Onyinye: I’m married and my biggest supporter is my husband, and I bless the day our paths crossed.
Source: PREMIUM TIMES
Yoruba Land only breeding area boys, fake prophets —Billionaire developer, Okeowo
Nigerian billionaire and property investor, Olu Okeowo, believes the only thing the South-West region of the country has been able to produce are area boys and fake prophets.
Okeowo, the owner of Gibraltar Property, who spoke on the current security situation in the country during a church service to mark his birthday on Sunday, said if the Country is to disintegrate today going by the clamour for self-determination, the South-West will be the biggest losers as there has not been any positive development in the region apart from miscreants and men of God who go about deceiving the people.
”I have noticed, electricity is no longer in abundant supply because Shiroro has been surrounded.
“Electricity is being generated in the North. Those who are saying divide don’t know what they are saying.
“Even if we divide today, the gas that they would use to run any turbine comes from another area.
“Unfortunately, my people here from the South-West will be the ones to lose out most because what we have produced mostly are area boys and fake pastors. We need to pray for the unity of Nigeria,” the property merchant said.
Okeowo’s alarm also came on the heels of the demolition of an illegal structure put of up by his company last week by the Lagos State government on the basis that they were distressed and had to go down.
The multi-storey blocks of buildings were to have multiple numbers of flats and was being put up in the prestigious Parkview Estate in Ikoyi area of the state.
The government had also said that a further 7,800 buildings had failed compliance tests in accordance with the physical planning laws of the state which resulted in their closure.
This, the billionaire believes does not augur well for the South-West region as according to him, the means of livelihood of many had been taken away from them.
My Grandmother Behind My Ordeal And Why I Said My Father Was Dead — Amputee Hawker Clarifies, Begs For Forgiveness
Mary Daniel, the twenty-seven-year-old Lagos amputee hawker, has pleaded with Nigerians to forgive her for lying that her father was dead.
Daniel, who spoke with SaharaReporters on Thursday, said she made a mistake by saying her father was dead because the man abandoned her.
Reacting to allegations that her story was staged, Daniel refuted such allegations stating that she had been hawking sachet water despite being an amputee because she does not know how to beg for alms but rather work to survive.
She said she had been hawking in Onitsha in Anambra state, from where she moved to Asaba in Delta state and now to Lagos where she was hawking before fortune smiled on her.
Also, a report has said Daniel had been receiving strange calls from a team who were instrumental to her fortune in Lagos.
However, the young lady told SaharaReporters that it was no other person but her maternal grandmother, who was sad that she only got N200, 000 from Daniel’s fortune so far.
She claimed there was nothing to lie about as it’s obvious she is an amputee who lost a leg to an accident.
“My father abandoned me since I was involved in this accident, there was no one to take care of me, nothing! That was why I said he’s dead. But my mother is truly dead. I had an accident truly; I was not amputated from birth.
“It was my grandmother that called me that she does not have anything, that if I have, I should send it. I said let me give her small money so she can use it to manage herself for now. I wanted to send N100, 000, I sent N200, 000 instead. She called me and asked why I sent her such a meagre amount, that, do I think she doesn’t know what’s going on, that how will people be contributing money for me and all I do is to send N200, 000.
“She said I’d rather send more money or she will expose me and I will go back to selling ‘pure’ (satchet) water. I was shocked and asked what sort of thing is this. She’s my maternal grandmother, she is really old.
“My aunties and uncles from my mother’s side are the ones pushing my grandmother into this and if she continues like this, later she will regret it. I have told her to calm down that I will take care of her but she refused. She is busy following her children around, making videos, that’s their business.
“Nigerians should forgive me. People that stay on the streets and in noisy places, they hardly have a settled mind and I said my father is late so Nigerians can help me. I made a big mistake; Nigerians should please forgive me.
“I want to open a supermarket in Lagos. I have always been a pure water hawker. Lagos is not the first place, I started from Onitsha, from there, I sold pure water in Asaba from there I came to Lagos. I don’t beg, even in my condition, I hawk that water so I can survive. That’s the business I have always been doing.
“I really appreciate the Lagos state government, Mr Idris, the hotel man that gaveme accommodation, that celebrated my birthday. I also appreciate Princess Aderemi, for all the support and everyone that helped. I promise not to fail Nigerians.”
So much cry as hunger, high cost of foodstuffs hit Nigerians
In Kogi State, it is not palatable as hunger is visible seen in the street and homes,Kogite cries out
Nigerian merchant Feyintola Bolaji, struggling with stagnant earnings and dwindling sales, is now being squeezed by the ever increasing prices demanded by her food suppliers, leading her to cut down on the amount she can put on her own family’s table.
Bolaji’s belt tightening is being shared by millions across Africa’s most populous nation. Not long after Nigeria’s statistics agency revealed that one in three people in the continent’s largest economy were unemployed, on Thursday it announced that food inflation has accelerated at the highest pace in 15 years, compounding the misery of many households.
“It is really bad, I can’t simply afford to give my children what they really need in terms of food,” said Bolaji, a mother of three in her 50s based in the southwestern city of Ibadan.
Insurgency, unrest, and the stand of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government on food imports in a nation where more than half the population lives on less than $2 a day are worsening food insecurity in the African country. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has robbed 70% of Nigerians of some form of income, according to a Covid-19 impact survey published by the statistics agency last month.
In Kogi State, it is not palatable as hunger is visible seen in the street and homes.
Sunday Elejo, Musa Nasidi and Bright Kolawole say there feeding habits have changed drastically as they can no longer afford the basics.
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