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14 February 2017

Traditional barbers in Kumasi cash in on ‘dansinkran’ royal hair cut

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Pairs of scissors trim the patron’s hair round the base of the skull. It leaves a shape of a round cylindrical crown or bowl on the head.

A black powdered charcoal-like substance is smeared on the hair to hold it firm. A little oil is applied to keep it soft before perfume spray gives it nice and pleasant fragrance.

This is called ‘dansikran’. It goes with carefully shaped eye-brow to match it.

At funerals and other cultural gatherings, queen-mothers, especially, spot this traditional hairdo to give them a unique look.

The recent burial of the late Asantehemaa, Nana Afia  Kobi Serwaa Ampem the second saw a display of rich Asante and Ghanaian Culture.

‘Dansinkran’ was very prominent during the late Asantehemaa’s one week and burial rites.

The story was no different during the 80th day rites at which a successor was named.

‘Dansikran’ was originally dancing crown which history explains was given by the Europeans coined from English words, ‘dancing crown’.

The haircut was the preserve of Queens and queen mothers in the Asante Kingdom.

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But gradually, it has become the toast of many women who uphold culture and tradition in the Asante kingdom.

“It makes us unique from ordinary people,” says Ama Gyamfua, Asumenyahemaa who spots the hairdo.

This is the fourth time she’s had ‘dansinkran’ done for her since the beginning of the year.

In the heart of Asafo suburb of Kumasi, is a house- the hub of ‘dansikran’.

Hundreds of people line up here during funerals and other traditional occasions to have what they believe is the best of ‘dansikran’ treat.

The traditional barber, 45 year old Agartha Mensah took over this business from her auntie twenty years ago.

She charges 20 Ghana Cedis per person as basic cost, but it varies as people, sometimes, pay between 100 and 500 Ghana cedis.

One of her regular customers is Nana Pomaa Ampomah who is the Sankore Manhemaa from the Brong Ahafo region.  She pays 20 Ghana Cedis when she go to her shop but pays more when Agartha comes instead.

At least, she pays Agartha almost Gh¢800 during big funerals or durbars.

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It is now a family business as her daughter, Akyaa, also makes a career out of it whiles his son joins during vacation.

As part of the core procedure, she also works on women who have little or no hair but are keen on having ‘dansikran’ cut.

This is done through artificial weave-on and cut it to shape and later  fix it for it to look like the individual’s natural hair. This comes with additional Gh¢ 40 cost  to the patron.

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Atonsuhemaaa, Nana Agyemang is one such people who are giving ‘dansikran’ a modern touch with the weave-on.

According to her, she lost her hair after fallen ill. But she’s happy she can still wear ‘dansikran’ for gatherings.”

Agatha and her daughter worked on nearly 500 patrons a day. She explains she makes enough money to cater for her home.

The craze has created a huge business opportunity for existing traditional barbers as well as new entrants who are learning the art so they can cash in on funerals and durbars.

 

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