‘Menicure’: Oshakati men taking on beauty industry

DONE AND DUSTED … Panduleni Lukas giving his customer Ester Fillipus an eyelash extension at Oshakati yesterday.

In an unusual trade, several men at the biggest open market at Oshakati have dedicated themselves to the beauty profession – they specialise in grooming women’s nails and eyelashes.

From colourful manicures to pedicures, these men are polished in the art of female grooming.

The men, mostly in their twenties, are sitting on benches reserved for customers waiting for long-distance transport at the bus terminal behind Dr Frans Indongo Open Market at Oshakati.

Among those waiting are women who make use of these men’s convenient services for a quick beauty fix.

When The Namibian arrives at the bus terminal on Wednesday, a woman has her feet propped up as Panduleni carefully does her nails.

Panduleni says he saw a gap in the market after resigning from a shop at Oshakati about four years ago.

“I would earn N$1 000 per month. I resigned because the money was little,” he says as he starts painting Christer Haiduwa’s nails.
Haiduwa is a regular.

The open-air salon charges N$50 for a pedicure, N$70 for a manicure and N$100 for eyelash extensions.

“We do eyelashes, nails and microblading,” Panduleni says, adding that the practice is common in Angola.

He says before he started offering his beautifying services, he observed an Angolan man doing so.

“Then I started as well, but later on, I attended training offered by a woman at Lubango in Angola,” he says.

Panduleni says he regards his job as operating in the feminine domain.

“Our customers are happy with our services, as they also refer their friends to us,” he says.

He says he makes N$400 per day and N$500 to N$600 on Mondays and Fridays.

“We order stock from Lubango and Luanda in Angola. You need about N$4 000 to get a full kit,” says Panduleni, who has one child.

Another beautician, Johannes Sakaria, says he has had about four or five customers on that day.

“My customers paid me well and thanked me for my work. I have been doing this for four years now,” he says.

Sakaria says when he started he would walk around looking for customers and sometimes customers would call him to do their nails and lashes.

“I never surrendered, because I needed money to support my child and family back home in Angola,” he says.

“I was trained by a woman called Maria in 2018 at Ondjiva. I paid N$1 500 for nail training and about N$2 500 for microblading,” he says.

“It was difficult when I started, but some of my customers, especially those who have experience in this, would tell me how to polish nails. Now I can do it perfectly well,” Sakaria says.

He says after he received his training he moved back to Namibia and started his business.

Sakaria says at times some security guards would destroy or confiscate his kit.

He says he used the money he generated from his business to build a room at home and another one at Oshakati.

He and his colleagues are planning to build their own salon where they will be operating from.


Haiduwa says the men are friendly and professional.

“What can be done by a woman can also be done by a man. I am happy with the service they have offered me and I will continue coming here,” she says.

Haiduwa says the first time the beauticians did her nails and eyelash extensions, her female colleagues admired them and thought she had been to a traditional salon.

She says her colleagues could not believe a man applied the lashes.

“The first time I doubted they could do it, but when they started, I was convinced,” she says.

Another customer, Ester Fillipus, says she is happy with the service she gets from the men.

“This is my third time here,” she says while getting her eyelash extensions done.

David Tangeni, one of the beauticians, says he was trained by another man at the open market in 2020.

Armed with his toolkit and keen eye for detail, Tangeni says he used to sell lamps.

Tangeni says they have trained many people at Oshakati, who have paid them between N$800 and N$1 000 for this.

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