Could he be Bulawayo’s best barber? Abel Nqobani Nyathi after giving DJ Melzi a haircut

Brandon Moyo, Chronicle Reporter

Barber Ramesh Babu is the richest barber in the world and is considered the best. Abel Nqobani Nyathi from Bulawayo’s Mpopoma suburb is not even among the top 10 barbers in the world but in the city of kings he is ranked among the best for a reason.

Even DJ Melzi, South Africa’s multi-talented disk jockey and producer agrees.
Inspired by a Pelandaba suburb-based barber who goes by the name Mandla, Nyathi started his journey with a friend who had clippers and could cut his own hair.

“Back in 2012, a friend of mine called Stephen had a machine and started cutting his hair and we had the same attributes, we were both into art. After seeing that he could cut his hair, I started borrowing my neighbour’s machine to try and clip myself on the sides, which is now known as taper fade.

“From there I grew in confidence and started giving Stephen and this other friend of ours proper haircuts but back in the day we were a bit shady and shaky but it was a start. I was inspired by this other guy from Pelandaba called Mandla, he is very good,

I liked the way he used to cut hair, it was a cut above what we used to get from the western suburbs,” said Nyathi.
A journey to the top is never easy for anyone. Nyathi started his professional trade using borrowed clippers from his neighbour.

The machine was however not recommended for commercial use but he had no option but to use it.
After dropping out of college due to financial constraints, Nyathi decided to become a fulltime barber.

“I had to concentrate more on my craft because my aim was to be among the best in the city.
I told myself I would improve and strive to be one of the best if not the best in the city,” he said.

When he became a household name in his neighborhood, Nyathi moved to the city centre in 2020 despite being warned that the competition could destroy him. The move was a step in the right direction for him even though he faced difficult working conditions at the first barber shop he joined.

Nyathi said when he moved to his new and present home at Cynthiana Hair Salon, he discovered that he was becoming better with each passing day.

“I am doing a lot of things with the machine and I sometimes even ask myself where I learnt some of the skills. Yes, I have gone to YouTube and watched a few videos but most of the skills are just coming naturally,” he said.

Nyathi said the highlight of his career came in April when South African artiste, DJ Melzi was in town for a show and needed a haircut.

“One of my clients was part of the organisers of the DJ Melzi and Busta 929 show and he recommended that I cut him. It was not only for the money but I saw it as an opportunity to establish myself in the city,” he said.

Nyathi posted Melzi’s pictures on his social media platforms and the results were overwhelming. — @brandon_malvin

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