Just when people couldn’t surprise me any more with their uh…uniqueness, I discover this gem of a story. Let’s backtrack. I had been hearing some cool things about South Africa and browsing travel sites for more information about the region but none of them mentioned dreadlock thieves. Enter good ol’ BBC…
BBC News reports that there are dreadlock thieves running around various parts of the country getting people for their locs. You can’t make this stuff up!
Jack Maseko was recently mugged by three men in South Africa – they wanted nothing but his mobile phone and the dreadlocks he had spent three years patiently cultivating.
“They had a knife and cut off my hair with scissors. I still feel pain when I think about that night,” the 28-year-old Zimbabwean tells the BBC.
“I used to see people selling dreadlocks on the streets and didn’t know where it came from,” he adds, still battling to believe what happened to him as he was walking home late at night in Johannesburg.
So…you mean to tell me you don’t want my iPad, my iPhone or my DSLR…but you want my locs? Wooooow. I’d rather have my hair stolen than pricey electronics, or even my life, but losing my locs that way would be traumatic too. The article says there’s a dreadlock boom in parts of the country but people aren’t feeling the fact that they take several years to grow.
Salons are accommodating the demand for instant results by sewing in the stolen locs but the problem is that they don’t have enough hair to match its popularity, and that’s where these thieves come in. They’re swift and are said to use anything from a knife to broken glass to steal the coveted hair. This technique is known in the streets as a cut and run.
The gangs operate in Johannesburg but the practice has also spread to the coastal town of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Shoulder-length dreadlocks are sold for between 200 rand ($23; £15) and 700 rand, while longer ones cost as much as 2,000 rand.
The victims haven’t been reporting the crimes because they didn’t think the police could do anything about it, but the police are calling for people to open up assault cases.
I don’t really see policeman actually taking that seriously, especially if the person has no visual signs of battery, but this is good to know as someone who wants to visit South Africa one day.
I guess it would be best for me to rock Bantu knots if I do make it there.
Be careful, ladies and gentlemen.