Main content

Barber Shop - Ep 6: Pretoria West / South Africa

If you are not affiliated with a college or university, and are interested in watching this film, please register as an individual and login to rent this film. Already registered? Login to rent this film.

We meet 6 populations in transition via the microcosm of the local barber shop.

In Rio de Janeiro, barber Pedro picks teenagers from the street to teach them a profession. The inhabitants of Clacton-on-Sea reflect on post-Brexit society. In South Africa, post Mandela era, the white middle class is degrading to poverty. Detroit’s young and old inhabitants, each in their own way, have learned to overcome the city’s bankruptcy. The Sahrawi refugees question the fight for their land. In India, hairdresser Soniya helps her clients to fight for women’s rights.


South Africa has known a turbulent history of occupation, discrimination and violence against the black population. With the ANC in power and today in the post-Mandela era, the roles are reversed. We see a true ‘Black Economic Empowerment’, in which the black people are favoured in terms of housing and employment. The white middle class is slowly slipping away into poverty, resulting in violence, excessive drugs and alcohol abuse.

Barber Shop South Africa brings the story of this impoverished white middle class who decides to insulate itself from the outside world and settles in strict religious communities on the countryside.

Adri (36) is the white female hairdresser of Filadelfia Ark, a community West of Pretoria. She cuts hair on a chair outside her bungalow. Her customers appreciate her gentle approach and visit her for an enjoyable talk. Filadelfia Ark has almost paradise like surroundings, with lakes, animals and an outdoor dining-place, but the community radiates a story of fear, exclusion, poverty and religion.