Dreads are one option I've been considering for my natural hair, so this news gave me the shivers. In economics, it is said demand must match supply, otherwise a black market flourishes. When it comes to using natural African hair as extensions, this is coming true in a very nasty way. In south Africa, men who seem to have longer dreadlocks are being attacked on the streets, and their hair cut with a knife, a broken bottle, or whatever.
Jack Maseko was a victim recently, three men attacked him and took his mobile phone and the dreadlocks he had been growing for three years. Mutsa Madonko had been growing his for 10 years before his hair was shaved off outside a Johannesburg night club also. According to the BBC;
Shoulder-length dreadlocks are sold for between 200 rand ($23; £15) and 700 rand, while longer ones cost as much as 2,000 rand.
So what happens to the stolen hair?
Stylists use a new method known here as crocheting - using a thin needle, they are able to convert relaxed and European hair into dreads by weaving additional human hair pieces into the straight hair - giving a client long-locked hair instantly. Because this is a fairly new technique, stylists have not built up stockpiles of natural locks, competition is intense and whoever has the locks has the market.
A more real reason to be leery of extensions, especially if they're African hair and touted as natural.