View Mobile Site

COOL HUNTING

show nav
View Desktop Site

COOL HUNTING

South African Township Barbershops & Salons

South African hair culture and communities in a vivid book of photos

by Karen Day in Culture on 03 May 2011

SA-barbers1.jpg SA-barbers2.jpg

Like so many underdeveloped places, South Africa's townships (often written off by tourists as undesirable and dangerous) have long been rich sources of legendary music and culture. As explored in British photographer Simon Weller's beautiful new book "South African Township Barbershops & Salons," proprietors take great pride in designing their businesses, which function as much more than a place to get a haircut—in spite of their humble surroundings.

SA-barbers3.jpg

Signage alone speaks to a tradition of sign painting. Weller—with help from revered South African designer and book contributor Garth Walker—shows the effort put into personalizing salons, from the homemade graphics to a signature style of cut.

SA-barber4.jpg

From "Judgment Day" to "Boys II Men" salons and those tucked behind the doors of shipping containers, Weller's bright portraits sheds light on a rarely-seen side of the country, a testament to the hopeful spirit that remains in these communities even as they continue to suffer the effects of apartheid.

SA-barber5.jpg SA-barber6.jpg

Interviews with store owners, sign makers and customers help flesh out the story, positioning the spaces as not just salons and barber shops, but as community centers for socializing, gossip, networking and other connection-making.

SA-barber7.jpg

"South African Township Barbershops & Salons" sells from Amazon.

advertisement

Get Cool Hunting delivered to your inbox every weekday morning