Izikhothane is simply about your looks

They might have made news headlines for burning money and spilling Ultramel custard, but Tshepo “Don Dada” Pitso (24) from Soweto says that izikhothane (showmanship) is only about the fashion.

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‘We are the last izikhothanes (high-flyers) standing. There are no others,” Cybert Makola, fondly known as “Chiz Kalakala”, proudly announces as he introduces me to his crew. He is part of the renowned Soweto group famously known for their taste for designer clothes – they call themselves The Material Boys.

They are on their way to celebrate the birthday of one of their members – Zixinga “Don Moola” Zwide – at the J&B Lounge in Turffontein, south of Johannesburg.

The izikhothane culture is one of the most sensational in South Africa; izikhothanes are known for showing off their designer clothes and have been seen in the media burning money. A typical Italian shirt costing about R8 000 is small change for them. Their shoes will set you back a cool R5 000. They take pride in importing their trendsetting “swag” that gets delivered right to their doorstep.

Tshepo “Don Dada” Pitso, the co-founder of the group, says he has been in love with fashion since his high school days. He dismisses criticism about burning money and being wasteful, blaming the media for portraying them in a bad light.

“We are just in love with designer wear and have expensive tastes,” says Pitso.

“Asisakhothi manje siyalicker [indicating how they have graduated into a high level of sophistication],” says Zwide.

He brags as Makola pours a bottle of cognac to wash his hands – and dries them with a R100 note, as a celebratory gesture. He is, after all, celebrating his 26th birthday.

The crew is highly in demand at designer parties.