Styling for success

By Yang Guang(China Daily) Updated: 2012-06-12

Makuena went back to Kinshasa to recruit local hairdressers, and the salon opened its doors at the end of April last year.

Briton Nicola Thompson has been a loyal customer since she first knew Makuena from a friend four years ago. The 29-year-old teacher with an international school in Beijing says she trusts Makuena so much that she will not have her hair cut by anyone else.

"I kept asking when her salon would open, and finally it is here," Thompson says.

Prices for different services range from 40 yuan ($6.43) to 1,000 yuan. One of the most expensive services is for micro braids, which take at least eight hours to finish. For this, customers must go to the salon before 10:30 am.

Makuena's salon also attracts some Chinese customers.

Liu Rui, a Chinese sophomore at the Central Academy of Drama, had Makuena do his hair the African way because he says that suits his image as a part-time hip-hop singer.

Makuena now stays in Beijing to take care of her business while her husband and three children live in Suzhou. But she may get nearer to them soon, with her plans to start branches in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Having worked in the DRC, France and Canada, Luyeye says he feels there is no other country in the world that offers more opportunities than China. He adjusted easily to life here, following a piece of advice from his late father.

"Before my father died, he told me: 'My son, if you arrive at a place where you see everyone dancing with their left leg, you do the same thing. Don't think because you are special, you want to dance with the right leg.' I have always kept that in mind," he says.

That is probably why Luyeye makes it a house rule that the family must speak Chinese at home.

Makuena's Chinese language skills have now improved tremendously, along with her appetite for Chinese food.

The last time she went home to the DRC, she was excited to see a table of African dishes. But after a few bites, she did not want to eat anymore.

"It wasn't until I feasted at a Chinese restaurant that I realized I had finally found the food that belongs to me," she says.

"My family members joke that I had changed colors in my heart."

For China Daily


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