Some prefer patronizing the traditional barbers because they believe they make their head cleaner: Photo/Reuters

For much of northern Nigeria, traditional barbers - locally known as wanzamai (singular - Wanzami) - still stand out for people looking to shave their head completely bald.

Though electric hair clippers are everywhere now, for some the allure of the blade of wanzami is too good to be left for modern clippers.

The wanzami operates in simple settings with customers perched on chairs outside buildings or seated on mats spread outdoors.

Ibrahim Sani in the north-western state of Zamfara is one of those who cannot let go of patronising the Hausa traditional barbers.

“Patronizing wanzami is good because the head will be completely shaved and I will not get dandruff that normally appear on my head each time I have a haircut,” he told TRT Afrika.

Some people prefer patronizing the traditional barbers because they are used to them:Photos/Reuters

“I get rashes on my head whenever I use clippers to shave. But if that razor used by wanzamai is used in shaving my head, I will have no problem,” he added.

The fear of skin infections on the scalp is a common reason cited by the local clientele of the traditional barbers.

Rabiu Adamu, who is a wanzami himself, is among those driven by health reasons.

“There are times you feel headache. If you get barbed by a wanzami, traditionally that give us the opportunity to use lime mixed with potash to rub our head,” Rabiu, who is based in Katsina state, told TRT Afrika.

He added that he prefers patronizing wanzami because the traditional barbers because they offer him a smoother shave that allows him to apply medicine on the scalp.

“Though it will hurt us, but we will persevere till it stop hurting us. Then we will wash it. Few days later the headache will be gone,” he said.

Fear of disease

Some patrons of traditional barbers say health concern is not an issue as that is taken care of by the sanitization of the razor done by the traditional barbers:Photo/Reuters

A long-running criticism against the traditional barbers has been the usage of a single razor on different customers which could potentially transmit communicable diseases if not sanitized.

“I am not afraid of that (contracting disease through wanzami’s razor) because you know they use a flame from a lighter to burn the edges of the razor before shaving,” Ibrahim pointed out.

On his part, Rabiu said though he was unsure of measures taken by wanzamai to safeguard the razor from communicable diseases, he will continue patronising the Hausa traditional barbers.

TRT Afrika