Claremont barber, Warren Theunis, 42, did his part to inspire young boys at a centre in Crawford during Youth month.
Mr Theunis provided free barber skills to four boys living at the boys’ home and he also undertook a project to build a barber shop on the premises of the Realistic Child and Youth Care Centre, which provides skills development to at-risk boys between the ages of 3 and 18.
Mr Theunis has been inspired to do community work after assisting a radio station with their 16 days for youth initiative in previous years. Through that initiative, he would travel with the radio station and visit different communities where he would give free haircuts.This time, when they asked him to support their initiative which started from Thursday June 1 until Friday June 16, Mr Theunis wanted to do something different.
“Instead of visiting different communities and cutting 500 boys’ hair, I thought I would teach the boys barber skills,” he says.
Mr Theunis says he got donations from a hair clippers and products companies, which he left at the centre so that the boys could have their own equipment.
“I wanted to go to these organisations and see which of these boys would be interested and I would take them under my wing,” he says.
He added, “Once they learn these skills, they will have it for life.”
Mr Theunis thought that it was not enough just to teach them the skills, he also wanted the boys to have their own barber shop. He approached the youth care’s management to ask for a space and a potion of a garage that was for storage and laundry was turned into a barber shop
“I wanted the boys to participate in the barber, I told them we are going to build the shop and immediately they were assisting with sandpapering the wall and I saw they were committed,” he says.
Mr Theunis bought sandpaper and paint at his own expense and the boys built a bench and coat hanger from wood and materials on the property.
He also got donations of a brand new barber chair to the value of R10 000, a mirror and a frame to support its suspended lights.
The barber shop had its grand opening on Youth Day on Friday June 16.
“The boys have worked on a schedule to cut the other boys’ hair and once I am satisfied with their training, then they will be able to open this barber to the public,” he said.
Mr Theunis said he will visit the youth care centre twice a month to continue the training.
On the same day, the youth care centre was also the recipient of a new gym, a five-a-side football field, a new library and improvements to their swimming pool and braai area, courtesy of the radio station.
Executive Director of the centre, Ncamile Madikane says it was great work done by Mr Theunis.
“He made lots of sacrifices to work with the boys, even when it was storming,” he said.
He added, “Mr Theunis has transferred his skills to our boys and he says he will continue to be involved with our centre for the next 12 months.”
Mr Madikane says he is also grateful for the work done by the radio station to upgrade the facilities.
This is not the first time that Mr Theunis has done community service. Last year he was actively running his Groom for Change campaign where he would travel with his mobile barber to give free haircuts to seniors. (“Mobile barber helps seniors cut a dash,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, July 14, 2022)
Mr Theunis says he would like to continue to build more community barber shops for youth development centres in Parkwood, Strandfontein and an orphanage in Athlone.
Mr Theunis currently still has his own barber shop in the City Bowl and you follow his work on social media @mrbarbersa, on Instagram and Facebook.