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The Opral Benson Story

Opral Benson
In 1962 the charming young Opral Mason met Chief T.O.S. Benson at the Monrovia Conference hosted by the Liberian President William Tubman, on a platform that would later form the Organisation of African Union (OAU), today called the African Union. Prime Minister Abubakar Tafewa Balewa attended and Chief T.O.S. Benson, Nigeria’s first Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting was a leading personality in the Nigerian delegation. In 1963 they married and Opral became a role model for Nigerian women of the era., and on through the changing times.

In 1973 Oba Adeyinka Oyekan of Lagos bestowed upon Opral the honourary chieftancy title of Iya Oge of Lagos, or Mother of Fashion. An academic administrator with a Masters degree in Administration & Education from Pittsburg University in Pennsylvania in the USA, she served as an Assistant Registrar and later as Principal Registrar at the University of Lagos in charge of housing and Students affairs, for over 10 years.

The Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute (OBBTI) is one of the most established hair and beauty institutions in Nigeria, with the infrastructure   of a vocational school, specializing in theory and practical.  Formally established in 1985, OBBTI is one of the pioneers of hair and beauty culture in Lagos, Nigeria’s leading city and once the federal capitol.   OBBTI currently occupies its own new building on Thorburn Avenue, Yaba, where it trains students on three custom-built floors in techniques of hairdressing and hair care, as well as in beauty and body care and meticulous grooming.

Its proprietress, is Chief (Mrs.) Opral Mason Benson, OFN,  a veteran in both the teaching and the beauty business.  Starting up the Hair and Beauty Training School was a natural effect of Chief Opral Benson’s efforts, because she had already become a fashion and beauty icon in Nigeria.  

OBBTI Staff
Teaching Staff

Chic Afrique Beauty Center

In 1979 the Chic Afrique Beauty Centre came into being, transformed from a hairdressing business which Mrs. Benson bought. She resigned from Unilag and turned full attention to developing the Chic Afrique organization, which already consisted prominently of fashion.  The Beuaty Center specialising in hair and beauty services became Lagos most upmarket salon for predominantly women (patronised also by a few men), at a time when Lagos was the Federal Capitol and many women, local and international, patronised the Chic Afrique Beauty Center.

It brought new and exciting meaning to especially hairdressing, featuring the new techniques found in the salons of America and Britain.  Among these were the hair weave where hair attachments could suddenly give wearers a full head of exotic hair, braiding and plaiting hair and attachments into equally as exotic styles, and hair perms, Chic Afrique Beauty Centre also offered body massages, beauty and facial treatments, manicures, pedicures and aerobics; Suddenly, it was trendy to be unapologetically beautiful and suave.

The Beauty Industry.  

The beauty industry also took on new form with the arrival of many manufacturers and marketers of hair and beauty products for African women, in Lagos. Factories were set up and a network of importation and marketing began.  Chief Opral Benson and the Chic Afrique Beauty Centre were in the forefront of it. She was made Chairman of Ultra Sheen hair products produced by the Johnson company of Chicago, which were manufactured and distributed around Nigeria.

OBBTI

In this very exciting beauty, service and marketing environment, the inspiration for a hair and beauty traiing institute began, to cater to the pressing needs of the many, especially females, who wanted to be part of the sophisticated cosmopolitan standards  prevailing in Lagos. In 1985 the Opral Benson Beauty Training Institute began.

The Beauty Training Institute has gone through many challenges from its formative period through 25 years of growth, to finally have settled comfortably into its new 2-storey building on Thorburn Avenue where \the Chicf Afrique Beauty Centre story began.

 

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OFFICE ADDRESS:

7 Thorborn Avenue, Sabo Yaba

For Enquiries, please call 018963771 or 08035377422

 

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