The Pantsula culture

The pantsula is ultimately a canvass of the black body politic. It never forsakes the prowess of imagination, in its vibrancy, it is an artistic construct of continuous expression and rebellion. A way in which self respect is pursued and aspirations made comprehensible, the affirmation of a worthy identity.

Pantsula is a dance and a social group which has its own way of dressing and language like any other culture. The archetype of any sub culture is revolt, and every gesture should be perceived as a design orchestrated toward the sustenance of revolution. Every slight movement of the limbs, when amapantsula dance, the intricacy in the language when they speak, the way they walk is all a tapestry of the black body politic. The choice of sneakers to that of hairstyles invites onlookers to the nuances of the township reimagining the self. It should never be simplified to the singularity of trends but should be understood as life stories. The power of the township and its people resides in their ability to transcend space and condition, their capacity to remold identity and create individual narratives. Each of these themes are kept alive in corner containers that are home to an array of black business, everything from the local barber to the residential weed supplier.

typical pantsula lady…a dresing that communicates

Various kwaito musicians continue to keep this ethos alive, foot soldiers depicting in their music faces of the township, the sound of its youth, the foot work and color of the pantsula. Mdu and the now deceased Brown Dash, both reputable veterans of kwaito, articulate the township narrative most poignantly in the stories narrated in between the sounds of isichamto and Imibongo. Kwaito, coming from kwaal, directly translated meaning angry, an enraged outcry protesting negative connotations, of crime and ignorance, usually attached to the participants of the movement.

Beyonce embracing the pantsula style in the video “run the world”

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