Thursday, July 2, 2009


Botswana is known for basket weaving. And really, the baskets are gorgeous. Who doesn't love a nice basket? Not you, who are getting one for your birthday...and most likely Christmas.

I opted not to get one for myself. In fact, I decided before arriving here that I wouldn't get anything for myself. (If you've been to my apartment, you'll agree this is a wise decision. And a pathologically difficult one for me to make.)

But then I passed the haircut dudes.

On the main road of Molepolole, there is shack-after-shack of entrepeneurs offering their haircut services. Who knew one small town could need so much grooming? And every establishment is advertised with a sign that's usually painted by the proprietor, whose training has been focused on hair, not art. I love art that's made by non-artists. (The collectors call it Outsider Art, I just call it awesome.)

I fell in love with this man's sign on our drive into town, and have eyeballed it every day on our way to and from the work sight. I asked our host, Phatsimo (pat-SEE-mo), if she thought the barber would sell it to me. She looked at me like I was insane. And yes, it's a look I've grown accustomed to.

Our van driver, Tebi, was up for the challenge - that's him in his best negotiating white sweater vest. Tebi brokered a killer deal that was still deemed fair by the shop owner. (Or so says the owner's brother, who...erm....may have sold it without asking.) The other barbers on the strip began offering me their signs, but none came close to the coveted Potato Cut in design and execution, so I politely declined.

It's no basket, but I think it's the best work of art Botswana had to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my god, I am so jealous. I have always wanted an African barber sign.

    No, really. I am NOT making this up!