A new youth culture craze is also on the rise. The Izikhothane are groups of township youths who delight in conspicuous consumption way beyond their, and their parents, means. The Sowetan reported on an incident where members of one group tore up R100 notes in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. 


Izikhothane is street slang, derived from the Zulu word ukukhothana, which means “to lick like a snake”. The slang term originally referred to playful competition between various “crews” whose members see themselves as icons of street fashion and kings and queens of the latest dance moves’.


With its origins in 2008 as a South African version of the US black youth “dance battles” it has evolved into gatherings of rival crews in parks and open spaces who wear and burn expensive designer clothes and money. Both the possession of expensive designer clothes and contempt for them seem to be linked to a desire to stand out, to be a local and social media celebrity. Membership requires serious gear: Carvela shoes, Sfarzo Couture jeans, Nike, Adidas, Versace etc. ‘In the 90s, Carvela shoes were admired by everyone in the townships; today, but you have to be prepared to destroy them in public to show how rich you are’ (The Hunger TV).


See the Izikhothane Facebook photostream here.

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