Youth of the Month: Ekie Walters Ngalle
Ekie Walters, also known as Walzcutz the barber, is a young Cameroonian who is changing the narrative for the barbering industry in Cameroon. He believes that barbering is a very lucrative business and has inspired many young Cameroonian boys and girls to take on barbering, professionally.
How will you describe yourself in one word?
Ekie Walters Ngalle is a "Proud Barber"
Could you share your educational background with us?
I went to G.S Down Beach Group 2. Throughout my primary level, I attended GBHS Limbe from form 1-4. I had my ordinary levels at St.Therese Secondary School Molyko Buea and my A Levels at Starlight College. After my A level, I went to OIC where I got my Diploma in Computer maintenance.
What inspired you to become a barber?
The joy and confidence I see on people's faces whenever they step out of a barbershop were my primary inspiration. I also had a friend called Mario Ebuka who is a barber, he was and is still my mentor. He made me fall so much in love with the job.
Can you describe briefly, your experience as a barber so far?
My barbering career has been so interesting. When I started (4 to 5 years ago) it was very difficult for me because most of my friends were still going to school and I felt a little bit disappointed with myself. Most of my siblings didn't support the idea of me becoming a barber. So I had to depend on mentors that I met online. I was motivated by a lot of barbers from the US, UK, Canada, etc. They thought me a lot and supported my dreams and right now I am doing the same to some barbers and youths in our community.
What specific challenges do you face as a young barber in Cameroon?
One of my major challenges is that we don't have quality equipment in our beauty industry for now.
Secondly, the working conditions of barbers in our country are not that good. Some of the shop owners are interested in their own personal gain.
Some of us barbers are not willing to improve our skills and invest in our field. Lastly, there is a lot of enmity amongst us the barbers.
Apart from your passion for barbing, we realized that you are a humanitarian. What inspired you to become one?
Well, I just found out that I must not have much before I reach out to my community. My free haircuts to our kid brothers and sisters is just a way to show them that I feel their pain and difficulty and I will do more if I have the chance. My free training is just my way of inspiring other youths in other fields of life that they can help their fellow friends by empowering them. For me the best form of help is empowerment, in fact, teach your friends how to fish rather than giving them fish because if you give them the fish, they are going to come back for more. I guess that's how we make our community a better place to be by empowering each other.
Are there any projects or achievements you are so proud of? and Why?
Yes Better Breed , one of my projects that gives me so much joy is my free haircuts for orphans and some less privileged kids. The joy and happiness I see on their faces is a great achievement for me. Also, when I train youths for free (especially girls) and I see them working and earning some income that they use to take care of themselves and their families, it makes me feel so so happy.
My biggest achievement is "Battle Of The Barbers Africa''. I want to thank my team (WACODIN) for their efforts, love, and support if not for them this project won't even exist. This is a competition that brings together youths in the beauty industry together they compete, connect, win prizes, and share ideas. We have successfully organized 2 editions in Cameroon and our next edition is in Nigeria in Lagos December 5th-10th and you are invited. Battle Of The Barbers Africa will be visiting different African countries in years to come
What can we expect from WALCUTZ THE BARBER? What are your aspirations?
Simple! I want to change the way our community sees barbers and also to change the face of barbering in our motherland Africa.
What is your advice for young Cameroonians who are aspiring to get into barbing?
The barbering business is lucrative but it requires a lot of time and dedication. Also, you can't do barbering as your side hustle because barbering is a full-time job.
What do you think our Cameroonian youths need to know/do to be the Better Breed?
They should learn to look around their community look for things that need to change and make the change.