Cape Town – A Cape Town barber who has made it his mission to restore dignity and spread the cheer through haircuts is that much closer to having his dream come true.
Warren Theunis, 41, originally from Mitchells Plain, has been in the barbering industry for 21 years and his latest project, established in 2018, is nearing fruition.
He is one of the founding members of the Barber Association.
Theunis is the founder of “Groomed for Change”, a project which aims to model new behaviour and show seniors they have not been forgotten.
In May 2018, Theunis started seniors day, at his Strandfontein-based barbershop, with a group of his barbers – where they treated pensioners to free haircuts.
“I realised seniors cannot afford haircuts and one of the seniors expressed this to me. That was where the realisation dawned – some seniors could not afford something as basic as a haircut. This service we provide is mundane and basic, but it is also one of the small pleasures in life. One senior even said that he cannot afford a R40 haircut, as that was the price of four loaves of bread,” Theunis previously said.
In 2019, Theunis expanded not only to seniors, although they remained the primary focus, but also to other projects – which aligned with his moral compass of assisting others.
Theunis joined a “16 Days for Youth” project and offered free haircuts in various towns across the Western Cape.
“It was during this time that I got the idea to take the project Groomed for Change and go mobile,” he said.
In March 2020, just before lockdown regulations were implemented, Theunis availed himself to volunteer alongside a salon owner from Paarl, who was doing outreach projects across the Karoo.
He said this project showed him that his project could not just be run from one place.
“I really feel I need to make time available to do this and serve the seniors. It is the dream. This is the goal. This is the purpose now.
“And that is why I want to get a bus, to convert it not just into a mobile barbershop, but into a complete mobile salon,” Theunis said.
He said he needs to buy a bus to re-purpose it.
In total, it will cost him R350 000. It would cost R200 000 for the bus and a further R150 000 for the re-purposing, which would include solar panels and all necessities.
Theunis has pushed his determination for this mobile project so badly, that he has placed his beloved Suzuki GSX R 1000 K7 as a prize – to motivate the public to donate.
In order to contend for the give-away prize, an individual has to donate at least R200.
However, things may not have gone as he planned but Theunis is well on the way to seeing his mobile barber come to life.
“I have no words for how God is showing off.
“We needed over R300 000 and made R18 000 through fund-raising. The plan was to give away my motorbike but it didn’t play out that way. I sold the bike to put money together. I contacted the donors for the bike giveaway and 99% of them said they were not in it for the bike. I had to give one person’s money back.
“I then saw a Mercedes Benz bus but it was out of the price range that I could afford. “However, a few conversations later the owner sold it to me for what I could afford,” Theunis said excitedly.
The bus has to be renovated and Theunis has five weeks left before he embarks on a road tour for 16 Days for Youth with Heart FM.
Theunis’s luck continued to be in his favour.
“I put up a post (on social media) about needing help to renovate the bus.
“A guy commented on my post (Moinuddin), he does repurposing and told me to call him. I was nervous. According to my research it will cost R150 000.
“We met and he said he will partner with me to do the renovations,” Theunis told IOL.
His new partner, who owns a vehicle customs shop will not be billing for labour.
Theunis said he is still in awe as how things have been happening but his faith is at an all time high as he said he is at God’s mercy.
“Tears of joy flowed when I collected the bus.
“I prepared for the bus. I got my Code 14 licence during the summer holidays.
“Being behind the wheel of the bus was truly overwhelming. Steering the dream.
“I don’t think I could sleep that night,” Theunis said jokingly.
He believes and is happy that things didn’t work out the way he planned, but the way God did.
He added: “The heart of this project is to serve the communities.”
Theunis cannot wait to hit the road and spread the cheer across the Western Cape in his mobile barber.