Billionaire businessman Chris Kirubi (CK) found himself the subject of razor-sharp criticism this week after he confessed his displeasure over “Kenyan women wearing dead people’s hair.”
Mr Kirubi made the remarks during his appearance as guest on KTN’s Jeff Koinange Live which was aired sometime in September, 2015.
“What I hate in this country for our ladies, is wearing dead people’s hair; I hate that!” he told.
The recording, which was reposted on the television station’s social media pages recently, attracted viewership and responses from different quotas. The most notable response came from 2013 presidential aspirant Martha “Iron Lady” Karua who did not take Mr Kirubi’s statement lightly.
When the tweet was posted on the media outlet’s pages, social media was sent into frenzy with Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) promptly taking screen shots, and sparking debates on Mr Kirubi’s remarks.
Moses Darksome Owino: How many dead people do you know, whose hair can be used to dress over 1billion people on a monthly basis?
Maria Nadra: Wacha what do you want us to wear? Na vile tuna nywele ngumu nahaikuwi na vile tuko wasupu unasema nini wee (What do you want us to wear? We have nappy hair which grows very gradually. Furthermore, we look beautiful (in that Human Hair).
Kevoh Mugeni: Unaongea juu uko na pesa. Hujui stress tunapitia kuwanunulia (You [Kirubi] are speaking in that manner because you are wealthy. You are not familiar with the stress we [men] go through to buy them [women] Human Hair).
CK was expressing his ‘patriotism’ for Kenya where he said in his vast beauty and cosmetics business empire, he makes hair products which are predominantly sold to the Kenyan market.
“When I make my own products, I sell them to Kenyans; I don’t sell them to a few people…”
Mr Kirubi further advised Kenyans to take care of their hair to avoid breakage or loss.
“You have to start looking after your hair when you are very young. If you don’t, it becomes a challenge in the future; you pay a price,” stated CK.
But how does ‘dead people’s hair’ end up on Kenyan women’s heads according to Kirubi?
“You know they (businessmen) take it from the burial sites in India. They cut the hair of the woman when she dies and bring it to Kenya for sale because Kenya buys everything.”
According to an Indian Human Hair export company (name withheld), it is true much of human hair sold in Kenyan beauty stalls is imported into the country from India, and that the product’s demand in the country is very high.
According to the company’s shipment records of an export made in November, 11 2015, 4kgs of Human Hair which was imported into the country cost a whooping Ksh219, 770.
Besides Indian hair, Kenya also imports human hair from Brazil and other Middle East countries.
According to Wigs.com, “Human Hair offers the most natural look and feel. It is remarkably soft with a shine and movement that is not easily duplicated in synthetic hair. It is also extremely versatile. Human Hair can be cut and styled to suit your personal tastes. And while it can be a more expensive pick, with the proper care, it is also more durable and can last over a year.”
This could explain why the demand is high in the country.
For a long time the debate whether Kenyan women should don Synthetic or Human Hair has raged on, hogging social discussions with different proponents marshaling defense for either.
The beauty and cosmetics industry is one of the most vibrant businesses in the country, and generates a lot of revenue for the government.