Lavender Hill was abuzz on Monday as 100 boys received a free haircut ahead of school opening on Wednesday.
The initiative is thanks to community worker Ralph Bouwers and his organisation, Guardians of the National Treasure, and local barbers Lloyd Miles, Neville Gie in association with organisations Learning in Reach, the Steenberg Community Policing Forum, Handball and Sanitec.
Professional barbers Lloyd and Neville operated out of a garage, and from early on Monday they snipped and trimmed the hair of the excited youngsters.
THANKFUL: The Lavender Hill schoolboys
Lloyd, who has his own barbershop in Military Road known as “God’s gift”, and Neville, who does house calls, offered their services for free.
Organiser Ralph says the idea is to send the nervous young boys to school looking and feeling confident.
Schoolboys 16 and younger were invited to get a haircut free of charge.
ORGANISER: Ralph Bouwers with Shaggen, 11
“Last year we had 53 children who had their hair cut and now we have set our target for 100,” Bouwers said.
“This is not only a haircut, this is giving a little boy confidence when he starts school.
“There are many households where there is no money for electricity, let alone a haircut.”
Lloyd says it is fantastic to be part of an initiative to uplift his community.
“I am a father of four children, two of whom are boys,” he says.
“I am feeling good because this same community has supported me and is there for me. I started cutting hair since I was 16 years old and now I am 32 years old, and it was a skill that I taught myself.”
FRESH CUT: Anthea Bailey with her little boy
Children were given the standard schoolboy fader, and all dyed hare and other hairstyles were removed as per school regulations.
“The children’s hairstyles were part of the festive season, so today we are cutting away any lines or dyes because schools have rules,” adds Lloyd.
Grandmother Gawa Arendse, 51, says not only did her grandson Yurhg Arendse, six, get a free haircut, he was also blessed with stationary.
On Saturday, Ralph and his team gave 100 school children stationery, which included calculators and schoolbags for some.
“I must thank Ralph and everyone because my grandson will be starting Grade 1 at Steenberg Primary School and now he has his haircut and he has his stationery,” the grateful ouma says.