BY Stephen Nartey, 11:40am March 28, 2024,

Meet Safro Fades, the barber who uses hammers, knives and made history winning a ‘Barber Grammy’

Martin ‘Safro Fades’ Safari/Photo credit: TRT Afrika/Facebook

Martin “Safro Fades” Safari is not a barber who follows the conventional rules of the trade. Instead of using clippers or scissors to style his clients’ hair, he chooses to employ knives, shovels, and hammers.

Passersby are captivated by his unique technique, often pausing to watch as Safari skillfully wields his tools. Despite the unconventional approach, Safari’s clients remain composed, displaying unwavering trust as he maneuvers potentially hazardous objects like shovels and hammers around them.

Safari’s unconventional barbering style has earned him both recognition and a means of livelihood. With each shaving session, his clients emerge looking impeccably groomed and smart. He was recently crowned the Best Content Creator at the 2023 Barber Grammy Awards, becoming the first winner from Africa to get the award, The New Times reported.

“I did not attend the (Grammy) awards ceremony because I did not think I would win,” he told TRT Afrika.

“I had been nominated alongside more famous and widely traveled barbers. My win, therefore, came as a surprise,” he added.

The 24-year-old is a Rwandese national, who relocated to Nairobi in late 2023. “My relocation to Nairobi four months ago was strategic. I felt the city would boost my profile as an unorthodox barber,” Safari said, adding that his move “has paid off.”

His most popular video amassed an impressive 95 million views on his Instagram page (@safro_fades), which boasts over 230,000 followers.

Safari made a bold decision to abandon his studies in business administration at a Rwandan university to pursue his true passion for hair grooming. His journey gained momentum in December 2022 when he posted a viral video showcasing his theatrical shaving techniques, which involved using a hammer and chisel on a client.

This video catapulted Safari’s Instagram following from 2,000 to an impressive 100,000 in less than three weeks.

“I wanted to stand out as a barber,” he said, revealing that he charges between $45 and $60 per haircut.

In 2023, he had the honor of serving as a celebrity judge at a barbers’ competition in Cameroon. Reflecting on his unconventional methods, Safari recounted how it is challenging to earn clients’ trust in his craft, particularly due to the unique tools he employs.

To overcome skepticism, he sometimes offers free shaves and treats skeptical clients to lunch as an incentive. Looking ahead, Safari aspires to organize an international barbers’ expo that will showcase his exceptional skills to a global audience.

“I believe expos would offer publicity avenues for talented barbers to expand their markets,” he said.

He also aims to establish training workshops for individuals eager to learn his distinctive haircutting techniques.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 28, 2024


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