On Friday I visited a neat little hair salon in Diepkloof, Soweto. Mdu has been doing hair for a living since 1999. There were no jobs when he left school and he could not get into a training institution, so he worked for a salon owner for variable pocket money and the opportunity to learn the trade practically. It showed him that a hobby could become a career.

He is an enterprising person and before long his mentor in the salon grew tired of his ideas for doing things differently and Mdu had to leave. But he had a skill. With no premises and no phone, he had to drum up business door-to-door from his grandparents’ home and grow by word of mouth. He was able to save a little and joined another hairdresser to rent a salon that was closing — each putting in R1,000, half for the first month’s rent and half to buy supplies.

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