Culture Club | Izikhothane

Izikhothane is a type of dance battle in South African townships whereby participants compete against each other to determine who is, perceivably, wealthier. Izikhotane groups compete in inter- and intra- township battles by flaunting material items such as money, mobile phones, expensive clothes, and/or alcohol. The word Izikhothane is a combination of two Zulu words: Izikhotha (to lick) and Ukukhothana (to mock). This term is township slang for “the one with the most expensive clothes”.
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In izikhothane, young Soweto men flaunt their designer duds and then publicly destroy them in a gesture of bravado | via CN Traveler

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In izikhothane, young Soweto men flaunt their designer duds and then publicly destroy them in a gesture of bravado | via CN Traveler

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | The izikhothanes are from the generation known as “born frees” – those black youths who came into the world after the end of apartheid. Others who cannot afford to imitate them invite them to their parties because of the kudos they bring.

Flash mob: South Africa's township youth strut their stuff – in pictures

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | The izikhothanes are from the generation known as “born frees” – those black youths who came into the world after the end of apartheid. Others who cannot afford to imitate them invite them to their parties because of the kudos they bring.

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | One spring evening in Soweto, Phumi Ntshangase, 20, was in full swagger mode. Sporting an embroidered patterned shirt, designer sunglasses, diamond earring, shiny pink shoes and a gold tooth, he was enjoying a “roll” with other members of his group, known as the FBI or Full Blooded Italians because of their penchant for Italian designer labels.

Flash mob: South Africa's township youth strut their stuff – in pictures

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | One spring evening in Soweto, Phumi Ntshangase, 20, was in full swagger mode. Sporting an embroidered patterned shirt, designer sunglasses, diamond earring, shiny pink shoes and a gold tooth, he was enjoying a “roll” with other members of his group, known as the FBI or Full Blooded Italians because of their penchant for Italian designer labels.

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | It is often parents who finance the izikhothane lifestyle. As Ntshangase swigged beer with some of his friends, his mother passed by. She came over and pressed a new smartphone into his hand. Showing off her own gold tooth, she said proudly, “He loves this lifestyle. He feels he is someone, and that pleases me. We – our generation – never had that feeling. It is good to see him happy.”

Flash mob: South Africa's township youth strut their stuff – in pictures

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | It is often parents who finance the izikhothane lifestyle. As Ntshangase swigged beer with some of his friends, his mother passed by. She came over and pressed a new smartphone into his hand. Showing off her own gold tooth, she said proudly, “He loves this lifestyle. He feels he is someone, and that pleases me. We – our generation – never had that feeling. It is good to see him happy.”

Izikhothane. King Mosha. The return of Sekumoshakele. One of the Mosha Dance Kings of this world. Unleashed from the deep Soweto to the top of the planet.

Izikhothane. King Mosha. The return of Sekumoshakele. One of the Mosha Dance Kings of this world. Unleashed from the deep Soweto to the top of the planet.

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | “They like to show that money is no object,” says Tshepo Mokone, a 25-year-old Sowetan who has observed various groups at close hand. “Destroying symbols of value gives them recognition and status, and that is what they crave – much more than money. The bigger the display of abundance and your ability to destroy it, the bigger your ‘swag’, and that’s what matters to them most.”

Flash mob: South Africa's township youth strut their stuff – in pictures

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | “They like to show that money is no object,” says Tshepo Mokone, a 25-year-old Sowetan who has observed various groups at close hand. “Destroying symbols of value gives them recognition and status, and that is what they crave – much more than money. The bigger the display of abundance and your ability to destroy it, the bigger your ‘swag’, and that’s what matters to them most.”

World Unknown: South African Izikhothane via Vice.com | http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/read/youneedtohearthis-world-unknown-south-africa-izikhothane/17345

World Unknown: South African Izikhothane via Vice.com | http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/read/youneedtohearthis-world-unknown-south-africa-izikhothane/17345

World Unknown: South African Izikhothane via Vice.com | http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/read/youneedtohearthis-world-unknown-south-africa-izikhothane/17345

World Unknown: South African Izikhothane via Vice.com | http://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/read/youneedtohearthis-world-unknown-south-africa-izikhothane/17345

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | When life does improve, the journey to excess is not far. Addressing a similar obsession with bling in American hip-hop, rapper Kanye West said, “We are quick to show that we have something because we always had nothing… We’ve always had chains around our necks. Now they just have diamonds in them.”<br/><br/>For more information about Per-Anders Pettersson's photographic project on Soweto, please click <a ...

Flash mob: South Africa's township youth strut their stuff – in pictures

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | When life does improve, the journey to excess is not far. Addressing a similar obsession with bling in American hip-hop, rapper Kanye West said, “We are quick to show that we have something because we always had nothing… We’ve always had chains around our necks. Now they just have diamonds in them.”<br/><br/>For more information about Per-Anders Pettersson's photographic project on Soweto, please click <a ...

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | Jakes Mjeke, an izikhothane with bleached hair, agrees. “We stay away from crime, we avoid fights, we don’t do drugs, we spend most of our time in the salon, upgrading ourselves,” he says. “It is all about status.”

Flash mob: South Africa's township youth strut their stuff – in pictures

Credit: Per-Anders Pettersson | Jakes Mjeke, an izikhothane with bleached hair, agrees. “We stay away from crime, we avoid fights, we don’t do drugs, we spend most of our time in the salon, upgrading ourselves,” he says. “It is all about status.”

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