Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Converse Compulsory

Pantsula & Society Women. Thembisa, 2010. Image: Alexia Webster. Notice the Loud Colors/Patterns+Converse.
So, fine I'll confess it. I'm a closet nerd. Always been.  I consider reading poetry by Keorapetsi Kgositsile or Walt Whitman fit entertainment any Saturday night, conversation weighing the merits of Lanvin shoes mash up right along a dissection of dialectic materialism.  And what's more fun (and nerdy) than coming up with exciting dissertation themes? Oh! I dunno, say...Creating Sense in Censorship: The Origins, Creed & Influence of Pantsula Culture in Southern Africa.  Our ethnographic research would concern itself with how Converse All Stars became the signature shoe of young urban black classic, when a hard edged rawness and sexual explosiveness began expressing itself in pantsula dance and why a sub-culture built by Sophiatown/Kofifi gangs and marauders clung so tightly to at least the suggestion of gentlemen decorum?

Image: Alexia Webster, 2010.
I'd love to wonder what we'd find, so I'll begin by telling what I know. Pantsula is a way of life: Fast+Fierce+Furious. A code of conduct: Live Outloud+Attitude. And an unmistakable dress code: Converse Compulsory+Sporty (hat) optional.  It's like an inside-out tattoo that's also a dance form that's also a manner of speaking, a way of thinking and also a stamp that says, Ja, i was there and i'm blak and i'm proud and so what? LoL. Seriously, hope you enjoy the pics+video. Def check out Alexia Webster's sick pics of mapantsula doing their thing--midair--in Thembisa township, Johannesburg.

Video: Mozambican Tofo-Tofo Splitting a Spleen at Uffeman77's Wedding, 2009.

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