The Lounge met up with Samuel Shimhanda, nail magic man, this week at his shop.
It is said that one of the best indicators that you’ll get a good manicure, is when a nail technician is experienced and is confident in what they are doing.
And ‘Fantastic Sam’ oozes with confidence.
If there is one certain way to feel pampered, it is forking out a bit of money and going to get your nails done by a professional.
Going to ‘get your nails did’ is one of those female rituals that can be luxuriously comforting when you’re stressed, upset, or just need some cheering up.
When manis and pedis go right, they go so right and they leave your nails looking healthier, shinier, and totally polished.
Sam let us sit in while he was performing a pedicure on a client who had had a manicure the day before.
Without skipping a single beat, he preps his work station, offers me water, puts his client at ease and professionally and efficiently carries on with the pedicure.
“People think it is a women’s thing, but that perception coming from culture. Maybe that’s because it is women who started this, but I don’t look at it that way. It is talent that is burning inside me, so now I let it out instead of being ashamed.”
Sam has been in the ‘women’ business for many years, starting out as an assistant in a cosmetic shop that sold synthetic and human hair among other things, there gaining more interest in what the beauty industry in Namibia holds. Interestingly, it was another male nail technician, Manu, who empowered Sam, mentoring him and giving him the platform to be able to do the stunning work he does today. “When I finished my nail training, I went to work with Manu who was also big by then. He taught me all that I know and I got to learn more about women and their cosmetic needs.”
A nail technician focuses on fingernails and toenails, giving clients manicures and pedicures. All beauty workers, including nail technicians, also perform business record-keeping and are responsible for cleaning and sanitizing their tools and work area.
While some technicians identify as exclusively manicurists or pedicurists, nail techs feel comfortable working with both hands and feet.
“People come here because they are curious to see if what they see on social media platforms. They want to confirm for themselves that my work is as good as it looks in the pictures. Having people walk with around with nails and toes that I have done is better marketing though, because people will ask and be recommended to come to see me.”
Perhaps inevitably, the conversation turns to the current situation in our country. Fantastic Sam is of the opinion that violence is entrenched in the very upbringing of men, that men are raised in violent homes and as a result simply repeat the behaviour that they have been taught.
“You see the thing is that we are just trying to fix the problem on the surface, without getting to the root of it,” he says.
“Men are raised in houses where the only love they know is violence, so that is the love they know how to give to their wives and even their children, so it can be a never-ending cycle. We need to change that cycle so that violence is not a normal response when we are faced with problems. We were created to overcome problems”
For a young man born in the Ohangwena region, Oshangdi village near Okanghudi ka Pohamba Sam has some very specific and practical ideas when it comes to empowering men and people in general and giving them the skills that he has learned and the opportunity to be self-sufficient.
“I want to empower men. As I am teaching them in nail skills, I want to also teach them in life skills. The problem is that many men are not taught how to express themselves, so they resort to using their fists.
They do not know that they can go to a social worker, because they don’t know how to, because we are not raised knowing how to talk.”
Sam says that “people who were raised in that manner should let that lifestyle go from their minds, and some of them, all they need to do is forgive.
Because for you to have enough anger to kill somebody, it is because you are struggling with unforgiveness that is inside you, according to how you were raised. So if we lead, let’s lead a path and find a way of how to live a better life and also not to allow our new generation to go through the trauma of how we were raised.”
Not only is Fantastic Sam an entrepreneur and exceptional technician, he is also a man with the future of his country at heart and we have no choice but to stan.