Free State hair stylists snip their way to the top

Lydia Makhajane and Treavor Mokoaleli are ready to take on the Sofn'free Hairxperts Masters Challenge finals, which will be held in Johannesburg next year.

Bloem Plaza was buzzing with energy when ten hair stylists, hailing from all over the Free State province, rolled up their sleeves, sharpened their scissors and styled hair in the hope of becoming the Sofn’free Hairxperts Masters Challenge winner. The event was hosted by Muvhango actress, Buhle Samuels, who was shown a lot of love by residents of Bloemfontein who attended.
The hair stylists faced each other in the Regional Styling Competition which started in Durban and has been to Mthatha, Nelspruit and Potchefstroom. The contestants entered with photo entries and the judges selected ten to compete in the regionals.
Sofn’free brand manager, Noeleen Burger, said the competition aims to bring back creativity and excitement to the hair dressing industry. “There are the most creative stylists out there, but nobody gets the opportunity to be exposed to cutting edge style and the competition world. That’s what raises the bar,” said Burger.img_8347After two gruelling rounds of hair cutting and styling, two contestants were chosen to represent the Free State in the finals. The winner was Lydia Makhajane from Teesleys Hair Salon in Kroonstad and Treavor Mokoaleli from The Rock Salon in Bethlehem was the runner-up.
Lydia Makgajane couldn’t contain her excitement when her name was called out as the Free State regional winner. When Makgajane started styling hair, she was fairly young, and had very little supplies. “I remember I only had a tong, a primus stove and some castor oil, and they got me here today,” she beamed. She said her love for hair styling began when she realised that there is no reason for anyone to feel ugly and that everyone should take pride in having good looking hair. She said her talent is truly a gift from God and the competition has inspired her to want to learn more skills. She now wants to attend a hair styling academy to improve on her skills.img_8348Runner up, Treavor Mokoaleli, who has only been styling hair since October 2015, said he was inspired by his mentor, Tshediso Tshabalala, a fellow hairstylist from Bethlehem. Tshabalala recently won the coveted Dark and Lovely Golden Scissors Awards 2016 at a spectacular grand finale at Melrose Arch in November. He said that helped him realise that hairstyling can be both enjoyable and profitable. He has learnt a lot through the competition and his customers can expect unique and creative styling from him. He is ready to put in all the work it takes to win the finals.
The finals will be held in Johannesburg during January next year. The winners stand a chance of winning R250 000. – Seithati Semenokane