My latest craze is a four-man fashion crew called the Smarteez, a group of young Black (proper noun) creatives, who were discovered by Milisuthando Bongela, from Miss Milli B’ Blog. Kepi, Sibu’, Floyd and Thabo are the four Lads (Safashintism for very dapper fellows) who grew up and took up “the new struggle” all the way in Soweto.
This new struggle is not just for “Economic, and Political” freedom, but for Social, and Intellectual as well. They are part of this new generation rising up in the ghettos, having attended multiracial schools, and now having the ability to not just observe, but even satire, and make fun of stereotypes, as opposed to mimicking them. From the bright colours that they are attired in, you wouldn’t say that the Smarteez are making much of a political statement, instead, you’d be tempted to call them; “Ungrateful young people who are spoiled by their misguided parents. The parents who have now created a generation of know-it-alls who refuse to get real jobs.” You wouldn’t be wrong, but then again, if that be your rhetoric, you’d probably find it difficult to live in this modern world with “jobs” that didn’t exist as careers merely 20 years ago.
In the above images, the crew took Chris Saunders, a photographer from Dazed and Confused, who tailed them to some of the fabric shops and clothes stores, in Downtown Johannesburg where they source some of their raw materials.
Here’s what’s so promising about the fancy pants ama kip kip generation™ of SA; This generation is refuting preconceived notions of what it means to be a New Black Overclass. It says that the new struggle is not to fight against social injustice, and morality laws that have no more morality than they do irony. It says, and acknowledges that there is a fight against conforming to societies stereotypes about black people, and young black men in particular. In wearing the colourful garb, they are telling the world that they should look up the definition of a South African black male, and completely disregard it, as it has no grounds, and bears no weight in this modern society.
In true form un-diplomatic honesty, when these lads were asked how they feel , when the older generation says that they take their freedom for granted (freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc etc.) their response is rather purple:
“I was born into the free world. And some people accuse me of taking my freedom for granted. But to that I say fuck you! It’s my freedom to take for granted.”
– Sibu’ (in the red cape)
The interview was conducted by Dazed & Confused, on their website. but the above are my own conclusions, and analyses.