“To those who criticise us, I say: ‘If you can’t beat us, join us!'"
I don’t have a problem with the way I act; I only buy expensive clothes in order to be as fashionable as possible. During our meetings, we simply party or re-enact dance battles, which are like are drugs to me. Izikhothane is just a way for us to say: ‘We have everything we want and our pockets are never empty.’People don’t like us because they’re jealous of our wealth. I’m tired of hearing the same arguments saying we’re not being responsible by burning money, or that we could have given it to the poor instead. Personally, I don’t spend my parent’s money in order to live and get by. If I want to destroy banknotes, who can stop me? It’s not our job to give money to the poor; that’s the government’s problem. If people’s parents let them do this even though they don’t have the means, it’s because Izikhothane also turns young people away from violence.I don’t intend on doing this for the rest of my life. In two years, I want to start a family and stop blowing money away. In the meantime, to those who criticise us, I say: ‘If you can’t beat us, join us!'Photo posted on Facebook by Muzi Kingpin with the caption: ‘these outfits cost 6,000 euros each!’
“Young people tell me they’re prepared to do anything, including hitting their parents, to get money.”
The Izikhothane movement has been around since the start of the 2000s, but it really started to attract more people between 2011 and 2012 when some people started to behave subversively.I came across a lot of young people at university who were drawn to the non-violent and festive nature of the phenomenon. The majority of Izikhothane are young people of single parent families who grew up being pampered. I met a woman who told me she had to take out a loan to finance her son’s passion and buy the necessary clothes. She preferred to be in-debt rather than see her son follow gangs and become a thug.The problem with this movement is that it’s a mad rush to keep up: it starts with clothes costing 500 rand [around €37], and ends with jackets by Guess or Dior perfumes costing more than 5,000 rand [€370]. A lot of people can’t keep up with this, and some young people as a result live in poor conditions. Just because being part of an Izikhothane group is a source of pride and social recognition.
The movement’s origins don’t seem to have any political basis. But at its core – when you listen to them – they want to act against politicians, whom they say are doing nothing for young people, and against Western products that symbolise White society. Their ‘guru’ is a businessman called Kenny Kunene, an exuberant figure known for his penchant for ‘body sushi’ [eating sushi off women’s bodies], his gigantic free parties, as well as provocatively questioning politicians on his twitter account.The movement started out as something positive: they were young people who had fun, who promoted non-violence, and who just wanted to prove who was cool. But looking at the way it’s being practised today, it needs to be banned. At university, young people I speak to regularly tell me outrageous things, that they’re ready to anything, such as hitting their parents, in order to have money; they would blackmail them by threatening to stop their studies. It’s taken a turn for the worse. Now the movement doesn’t know how to stop.
Some web users post photos mocking the Izikhothane.