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‘Coronavirus Hairstyle’ Gains Popularity in Kenya

2020-5-12

A hairstyle that looks similar to models of the new coronavirus has been gaining popularity in Kenya.

The hairstyle creates long spikes that move out across the head.

Pictures representing the structure of the new coronavirus have shown spikes coming out of a round, outer surface.

One reason the hairstyle is growing in popularity is because it is less costly. This is more important now because many families are facing economic difficulties as a result of restrictions meant to limit the spread of the virus. The restrictions have stopped daily work activities for millions of people with little or no savings.

The coronavirus-influenced look is also being used by some Kenyans to raise public awareness about COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

In this Sunday, May 3, 2020 file photo, Gettrueth Ambio, 12, center, Jane Mbone, 7, right, and Hamida Bashir, 3, left, have their hair styled in the shape of the new coronavirus, at the Mama Brayo Beauty Salon in Kibera.
In this Sunday, May 3, 2020 file photo, Gettrueth Ambio, 12, center, Jane Mbone, 7, right, and Hamida Bashir, 3, left, have their hair styled in the shape of the new coronavirus, at the Mama Brayo Beauty Salon in Kibera.

The method used to make the coronavirus hairstyle uses a common material for threading instead of manufactured hair products. The coronavirus hairstyle costs just 50 cents, compared to $3 to $5 for an average braided hairstyle.

Sharon Refa is a hairdresser. She works in a busy area of Kibera, a poor neighborhood in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. She told The Associated Press that a lot of young girls are coming to her to get the spikey “coronavirus hairstyle.”

Refa said some adults still do not believe the coronavirus is real. But, most young children have been following guidelines to wear face masks and wash their hands often.

She said she thinks the hairstyle can be one way to get parents to take coronavirus guidelines more seriously. “So many adults do not do this, and that is why we came up with the corona hairstyle,” Refa added.

Early this week, the number of confirmed virus cases was nearing 700. Health officials have expressed worries that the virus could be spreading in Nairobi’s crowded poor areas.

Mothers like Margaret Andeya said the hairstyle makes their daughters happy and saves them money. The look costs much less than others, “and yet we want our kids to look stylish,” Andeya told the AP.

Another mother, Mariam Rashid, said COVID-19 had destroyed the economy and taken jobs from the people.

“I therefore decided to have my child’s hair done up like this at an affordable 50 shillings, and she looks good,” Rashid said. “The hairstyle also helps in communicating with the public about the virus,” she added.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

The Associated Press reported on this story. Bryan Lynn adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter, Jr. was the editor.

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Words in This Story

spike n. long, thin pieces of metal, wood or other material with a sharp point at one end

threadn. a long, think piece of cotton, wool or other material that is usually used for sewing

braid v. to twist pieces of hair over and under each other

stylish adj. fashionable and attractive

affordable adj. reasonable priced