Tags: safrica | culture | fans | blend

SAfrica Football Fans Are Cultural Blend

Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010 07:59 AM

CAPE TOWN — Replica football shirts, face paint, woolly scarves -- that's just so last season. When it comes to World Cup fashion, the 2010 tournament in South Africa has taken the game to another level.

The country which gave the world the buzzing vuvuzela -- easily 2010's biggest and noisiest newsmaker -- has seen its standard colourful match gear of oversized glasses, revamped helmets and afro wigs sweep across stadiums.

But some fans have also turned to extra touches to back the national Bafana Bafana team despite its battle to stay in the tournament.

Tammy Lefebure ran up a pair of skin hugging green and yellow cotton lyra leggings with "South Africa" emblazoned in gold across the rear and a flag on the thigh in less than 20 minutes.

"I think my butt is all over the internet already because so many people have taken pictures," the 24-year-old Cape Town local said while dancing at the city's fan park.

The inspiration? "I wanted something different that would stand out."

Mexican fans with wrestlers' togs, Japanese dressed as samurais and Englishmen dressed as knights of the crusade have all won plaudits for their sense of fun and imagination.

But the hosts are determined not to be outdone on home soil.

"Anything that has the South African colours is on," said Siv Ngesi whose head-to-toe outfit had car mirror socks around his ankles, fingerless gloves and four small instruments around his neck.

"I don't even like soccer, I just love South Africa," said the 24-year-old.

The football fever has been picked up elsewhere. Ahead of kick-off, South African designers interpreted fan gear with items like cheeky cheerleader outfits and flag t-shirts.

And a furniture chain also brought out a limited edition sofa in the bright colours of the South African flag.

In the stands at local matches, supporter kit can range from church-like robes to home-made coffins for rival teams.

"In South Africa football fans are very unique. I mean, there is a different culture. I haven't seen it anywhere else in the world," Craig Fraser recently told South Africa's M-net television about his photo book "Soccer Chic".

"I think the rest of the world are literally going to be blown away. They cannot experience this anywhere else in the world."

Apart from the ubiquitous vuvuzela, South Africa's "makarapas" -- revamped mining helmets with unique protruding decorations -- have also been taken up.

The hats grew out of a shack workshop in the east of Johannesburg after Alfred Baloyi transformed a hard hat to protect himself from hurling missiles at a local football match in 1979.

His northern Johannesburg studio now hires 54 people and his website reported 70,000 hits in the first two and a half weeks of June.

Hosting Africa's first World Cup has inspired much pride 16 years after the end of apartheid and after years of doubts about South Africa's ability to host the event.

For white South Africans, it has also been a cross-cultural journey to support a sport that has long been classified as a black game.

"You have to have one of these hats," said Frans Hiemstra, 22, whose full supporter gear included a makarapa.

"It's just the culture and the thing is we've embraced the culture. Actually it's a bit new for me. I wasn't a massive soccer fan before the World Cup but I'm one of the biggest soccer fans now. And I love it."

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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CAPE TOWN — Replica football shirts, face paint, woolly scarves -- that's just so last season. When it comes to World Cup fashion, the 2010 tournament in South Africa has taken the game to another level.
safrica,culture,fans,blend
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2010-59-22
Tuesday, 22 Jun 2010 07:59 AM
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