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There’s a new crime epidemic sweeping the country of South Africa— dreadlock theft. A Zimbabwe man traveled to Johannesburg only to have the hair he’d grown for a decade shaved completely off while he was passed out at a party.

Jasper Munsinawa was partying in a nightclub when he realized his friend was missing, he found him minutes later with his hair gone. “When we found him, he still had his cellphone and wallet with all his money inside,” Munsinawa said.

Dreadlock thieves are striking the area to make hair extensions, which are popular in the country. The hair can sell for up to $275 based on length.

From The Times Live:

Dreadlock stylists outside the Central Methodist Church in central Johannesburg said such is the demand for dreadlocks that few ask questions when the matted locks are offered for sale.

Said John Wushe: “They are becoming very popular. On a busy day we get about 10 people [wanting] to extend their hair.”

But not everyone is keen on using a stranger’s hair.

Willy Selahla of Soweto said: “I’m using my brother’s hair because I know where it comes from and that he wasn’t hurt.”

For clients wanting the extensions, the dreadlocks are either woven in individually using a thin crocheting hook or sewn together using a needle and thread .


Despite the rise in the crime, police in Johanesburg say that they’ve only had one report of dreadlock theft last year. Thieves tend to target woman because they are easier to attack.


Photo: Lauren Mulligan