Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Makarapas - gaudy, fun and poised to become the fashion statement of South African football

SHOOT: I want one.
clipped from

Of all the paraphernalia surrounding football in South Africa, the pimped-up construction hats, or makarapas, worn by devotees of the game, are the weirdest and most wonderful.

Cut, twisted and painted into fabulous headdresses they give the wearer a look that is part sorcerer and part court jester.

At South Africa’s games in the ongoing Confederations Cup, rows of makarapa-wearing supporters, blowing noisily on vuvuzelas, provide as much entertainment as the players.

Alfred Baloyi, 53, a die-hard Kaizer Chiefs supporter, had the idea while sitting in a stadium.

“Someone threw a bottle and hit someone on the head,” says Baloyi, sitting in a dark corner of his shack in a squatter camp outside Johannesburg, where he still makes the colourful crowns.

At his next game Baloyi, who worked as a cleaner in Limpopo at the time, wore his work’s safety helmet decorated with football imagery.

As the helmets gained currency among club football fans, he began cutting them and bending them
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