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The curious Coronavirus-Inspired Hairstyle that became popular in Kenya’s biggest slum

2 min read

Asking to get the coronavirus might sound absurd anywhere, of course. However in Kibera, Kenya’s biggest slum, a new hairstyle inspired by the spiky look of the COVID-19 has become a big trend.
And that’s not a joke: the coronavirus has infected 582 and killed 26 in Kenya and wreaked havoc on the economy, especially for informal and low-wage workers. With client numbers dwindling and their income collapsing, hairstylists in Kibera had to come up with valid alternatives to avoid bankruptcy, including finding solutions relating to the problem.
So, in the middle of the pandemic, some stylists found inspiration for new hairstyles in the shape of the virus itself seen under a microscope. But it’s not just about the design, because the new hairstyle is also cheaper than other popular styles: it costs less than $1, making it an attractive option for an already cash-strapped clientele.

This hairstyle is much more affordable for people like me who cannot afford to pay for the more expensive hairstyles out there and yet we want our kids to look stylish,” one Kibera mother said.


To create the spiky look, hairdressers first part their clients’ hair into about a dozen sections, then twist and wrap each one with thick black yarn instead of synthetic hair braids, which make is cheaper. The gravity-defying tresses end up looking like the protein spikes that the coronavirus uses to unlock our cells and start replicating!
If other hairstyles popular in the Kibera slum cost 300 to 500 shillings ($3 to $5), the coronavirus shape is just 50 shillings ($0.5) and comes with the added bonus of spreading awareness about the actual virus.


According to hairdresser Sharon Refa: “Some grown-ups don’t believe that the coronavirus is real, but then most young children appear keen to sanitize their hands and wear masks. So many adults do not do this, and that is why we came up with the corona hairstyle.

Actually, spiky hairstyles have been around for years, but with imports from Brazil and China in recent years, it had gone put of style.
And now, the pandemic has brought it back!


Images from Web- Google Research

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