Earlier in life, for most people, if you ask them what they want to be in future, will tell you the ‘best’ careers such as doctors, engineers, surgeons, journalists or pilots.
Ever heard of a student telling you that they want to be locticians in future? At that age, you might find that not even a single of your students (as a teacher) know what a loctician does.
Well, this was the same case with Hadad Tondo, a Ugandan loctician living and working in Nairobi, solely depending on making dreadlocks for a living.
As a young boy in Uganda, Hadad never thought of making dreadlocks for a living, but expected to join the fashion or music industry.
“Actually, I wanted to get into fashion, music and everything showbiz, but God had a plan for me and the plan has worked out great so far,” he says.
After completing his high school studies in Uganda (form six), he could not proceed to college due to lack of fees. He got his first job in a restaurant, and started saving the few coins he earned towards training as a loctician, which was the easiest path for him.
“My journey started in 2006 when I completed Form Six. Coming from a humble background, I could not proceed to college due to financial constraints. I started tarmacking looking for work and the first job I got was at a restaurant. I started saving some money. From the savings, I paid a guy who was into locks business to teach me the craft,” he says.
He says he worked in Kampala for seven years before moving to Nairobi, where he got a job but did not stay for long.
“After settling, I got another job at a salon at Capital Centre along Mombasa Road, where I was paid on commission basis for one year. From there, I got an offer at another salon in South B where I could set up my workstation and pay rent at the end of the month. From my savings, I opened up my place (Locked By Hadad) and here we are,” he narrates.
Hadad specialises in temporary locks that last for a year and only need a retouch after a month.
“We have also witnessed a change of trends with more women, and even some men, appreciating their natural hair,” he adds.
He however notes that it has been challenging especially with increasing competition and cheap and fake products being introduced in the market.
As a way of giving back to the society, Hadad is training new entrants into the industry. He says that he is working with over 20 young men and women, who apart from receiving mentorship, they earn.
“Being a boss is a good thing as it’s a motivation to others, but also it is hard having 20 people under your supervision and you need to make sure that they all earn,” he says.
He hopes to develop more natural products in the next one year, that will be available in the supermarkets.