As lively conversation and the sound of hairdryers fill the busy salon, Kandeshi shares her latest plan.
“I’m going to give soccer betting a shot and make some serious cash. Nde Oshili, if I winitaa (I swear if I win) I just want a flashy red car,” she says. Kandeshi knows exactly what music she’ll play in her flashy red car too.
“I will make sure my favourite playlist is blasting while I’m cruising around town with Tate Buti’s album ndee noshikombo Exit.” Her friend interrupts her.
“Have you thought about how much you would actually earn from betting? Maybe you should focus on hairdressing and save up for your kids’ school fees.”
Kandeshi sighs in deep frustration. “Oh, kaanaave [Oh, my dear]. That’s the problem, you know.
“What I make from hairdressing is barely enough for the basics, let alone school fees. I also need to pay the rent,” she says.
“But with soccer betting, you only need N$2 to get started, and you never know . . . You could win the whole pool for soccer 13.”
The conversation takes a turn as the two friends share their struggles and dreams.
Amid the laughter and chatter, a man wearing worn-out flip flops carrying a blue plastic bag enters the salon.
He presents screen protectors and cellphone covers: “Screen cover, screen protector, my sister?”
One of the salon workers yells: “Ahawe tate [no, man]! Oh, we don’t have any money. Please leave.” But the man insists: “Just 50 dollars, my sister. This is a long-life protector. Sigo otosi [until you die] your phone is protected.”
The worker looks annoyed. “You are disturbing our customers. Please leave,” she says.
Kandeshi joins in, raising her voice above the salon’s noise. “Hold on! When you’re at Wernhil, calling out, ‘sister, come do your hair and nails’, nobody stops you. Let the guy hustle,” she says.
The others look at each other, acknowledging what Kandeshi says.
The atmosphere changes, becoming one of unity and understanding.
The salon workers often stand around at Post Street Mall, looking for untidy hair to fix. When you walk past them, all you hear is: “My sister, hair done? Amiga nails?”Laughter fills the air as the women cheer Kandeshi on, appreciating her sentiment. “Yes, it’s true, but he must go hustle far,” one of the hairdressers says.
Amid the smell of burnt hair, the two friends continue to discuss the challenges they face.
As the man with the blue plastic bag leaves, Kandeshi shares the day she went to a betting shop, and the conversation grabs the attention of everyone in the salon. Kandeshi recounts her encounter, making everyone laugh. “So, there I was, standing in line at the betting shop, and all these guys were staring at me like I just landed from another planet. “They could not believe a woman was betting,” she says.
“Some of them even had the audacity to nudge and push me, yoooh! The looks I was getting! They really thought I would sweep all the money with my luck.”
The other workers laugh as they imagine the scene.
“But just wait, I will win, even with my zero experience in soccer. Those tates (men) should get used to seeing this face in a betting shop,” she laughs.