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Trading Hair

Why women in India shave their natural hair and why South African women want to buy it.

Thousands of tons of hair are sold in India every year with hundreds of women queuing up at the Hindu temple in Tirumala to have their locks cut off by the temple barbers. Having your hair cut or head shaved is considered auspicious and the clippings then become a major source of income both for the temple and the global hair industry. The global business is lucrative and growing rapidly, with South Africa emerging as a key market.

Justine Lang embarks on a journey of discovery to find out why women in India sacrifice their natural hair and why an increasing number of South African women want to buy it.

Airing as part of the BBC’s Identity season.

(Photo: Gopi from Chennai wants to offer up her hair to the Hindu god Vishnu in the hope he will answer her prayers)

Available now

27 minutes

Last on

Mon 18 Apr 2016 06:32GMT


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  • Sat 16 Apr 2016 13:32GMT
  • Mon 18 Apr 2016 06:32GMT

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