Tourists, beware of wig snatchers in Durban

DURBAN – HAIR is apparently the “new gold” for Durban’s criminals, who snatch people’s expensive wigs and cut off their dreadlocks as they make their way around the city centre. So tourists, beware.

Verulam entrepreneur Sthan- diwe Nzuza, 32, had her imported 55cm Peruvian wig worth R7800 snatched while she was doing her last-minute Christmas shopping on Commercial Road last Saturday.

“I’d just left The Workshop when some guy stepped in front of me and, while I was trying to walk around him, two others grabbed my wig and one of them cut off the strap that held it securely on my head,” said Nzuza.

She said it happened so fast that by the time she realised what was happening the trio had disappeared into the crowd.

To her surprise, the thieves did not take her handbag, gold chain or watch, only the wig.

The street vendors who came to help her after the incident apparently told her that there was a “gang” that specialised in snatching hair off women’s heads.

“I’ve heard of people being held up and their dreadlocks cut off, but I’d never heard of people stealing wigs until it happened to me.”

Nzuza has kept her hair short and has dyed it caramel blonde for the past year, and on the days she felt “glamorous” or had important functions, she wore a wig.

She had one Brazillian and two Peruvian, until her longest and most expensive was stolen on Saturday.

“I didn’t report the incident to the police because I don’t think it’s possible for them to find my wig,” she said.

Another victim, Thembi Mlaba, who had her weave snatched at the Durban beachfront last month, said she was not too devastated about the incident as the wig was more than three years old.

“I was more angry than hurt by the incident, but I don’t think the thieves got much for it because it was really old,” she chuckled.

The 29-year-old bank teller paid R4 300 for it from a parlour in the city centre.

“I don’t understand why a person would buy a used weave from whoonga boys when you know very well that they stole it.

“Also, what if the person who was wearing it had lice?”

Mlaba also did not report the incident to the police, saying she did not think it was worth the effort.

“Weaves are more or less the same. Even the fake ones look real for the first couple of months and I had nothing that distinguished mine from others for the police to look for during their investigation.”

The KwaZulu-Natal SAPS were unable to provide statistics on hair theft incidents in Durban.

A street vendor who saw and assisted Nzuza after her wig
was snatched said the problem
was rife.

She said vendors did not intervene as they feared for their safety as the alleged criminals could easily find them.

“It’s not just three people. I think there are about six or eight of them.

“Last week, they held up another young lady and brutally cut off her dreadlocks. It was horrific to watch but there was nothing we could do,” she said.

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