Merton shaves the Master Barber title

Shakir Merton, the Master Barber winner, in action.
Shakir Merton, the Master Barber winner, in action.

The Best Barber In Town

Barbers from around SA battled it out last month to be crowned Master Barber by Bump Patrol Africa.

Brand manager Tumiso Mathebula says the competition, which is in the second year running, aims to help celebrate barber skill.

"We see the hairdressing industry being promoted and improved but there's nothing for the barber," Mathebula says.

"And we saw it as an opportunity to rightfully glamorise the trade as it takes mad skill to succeed in the industry. We have come a long way from having chiskops and schoolboy cuts under a tree somewhere in the neighbourhood."

The 2018 edition saw an all-coastal finale, with all contestants coming from the coast. Calvin Smith, Benito Johannes (both Cape Town), Peter Cupido (Stellenbosch) and Shakir Merton (Port Elizabeth) ultimately received the most votes in terms of YouTube Likes, Facebook Likes and Shares, as well as SMS voting, pitting them against each other at the grand finale.

The steampunk-themed final event was held on October 13 at Katy's Palace in Sandton. Judges barber technician Themba Sangweni, as well as crossfitter Jason Smith, crowned Merton as the winner with Smith coming in second place.

The final challenge included slickest shave, artistic fade and freestyle design.

Master Barber winner 2017, Eric Fick from Bosmont in Joburg, says the competition has motivated him to get clued up on the business side of the barber industry.

"I don't want the fancy spa/salon market. I want an authentic barber shop, where men come to relax, chat and chill. The difference will lie in the look and service," says Fick, noting that trends for the festive season are clean and neat lines, comb-overs, perfect fades, high tops and baby-faded afros.

He fell in love with the craft as a young man and wanted to do nothing else as making people look and feel good became his passion.

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