The first time we met Sibo and Pamela, they explained us how their long nails were pleasuring men, and therefore totally worth investing in. In hip-hop slang Pamela and Sibo are “Gold Diggers”. Geared up in mini skirt and high heels they hit the dance floor, looking around for a man, a rich man of course.

With the end of apartheid, everyone has access to wealth just walking across the street. If you are not rich you can still pretend you belong there, even for one night, even for one man. The generational gap is massive: for Sibo’s mother to own a house is already a luxury, but for Sibo it remains a house in the ghetto. The real social promotion is to actually leave the township and move into the old white-only neighborhood, just like Motsilisi, former Miss Soweto. She is just waiting for her boyfriend to give her permission to move her dresses into the cupboard.

Soweto, the largest township in South Africa is emblematic of the aspirations of this new generation. The historical township is still very poor and yet became a hype place, where youth dream of wealth, success and beautiful cars. If you made it, it needs to show: hummers, champagne and expensive clothes.

This is bling culture, a way to catch up with the oppression of the past.

© Text by Sophie Bouillon and Benedicte Kurzen.


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