Proudly African hair stylist

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

He braves a chilly Saturday morning in a simple T-shirt and shorts. He sports clean and trendy, shoulder-length blonde dreadlocks. The venue is Moyo Restaurant at Jozi's Zoo Lake.

Knox Teintein knows a lot about hair and the hair business. He owns two hair salons in Johannesburg, one in Pretoria and he aims to have a string of others nationally in the next five years.

The next time you admire a celebrity's smart hairdo, chances are he or she had their hair done at one of Knox's hair salons.

Among the people who have been to Knox's salons are Malaika singer Tshidi Moholo, poet and singer Ntsiki Mazwai, a couple of Muvhango personalities and a large number of fashion trendsetters.

Teintein said: "For me it is not just about styling people's hair. It is part of creating an identity, an African identity at a personal level, as well as with my clients. It is a process that started when I was studying politics at Wits and I came across the teachings of Steve Biko.

"That is why I look at what I do as development and creating a new identity for the youth of this country," said Teitein, who added that he was inspired by the lyrics of Bob Marley.

Inspired by the success of this mission, come September 6, Shivava at Gandhi Square in central Johannesburg will be transformed into a venue of celebration through socially-conscious poetry and music at the Knoxconscious Revolution Festival. It will take place throughout the night until the early hours of the morning.

"We expect quite a number of people to grace the occasion. Mainly our clients, most of whom are poets, business people and friends, just to be together and celebrate life. It is an inclusive festival where everyone is a VIP. Black and white will just network and enjoy each other's company," he said.

Teitein said his salons, because of his philosophy of creating a new identity and purpose for the youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, has trained more than 90 stylists. These stylists have moved on to open their own businesses or to work elsewhere.

He explained that he started his hairdressing business from nothing. All he had was a skill, which he pursued, and just look where it has taken him.