Izikhothane (or Skothane or Ukukhothana) refers to South African showmanship or dance battles in which individuals or groups of individuals compete against each other in front of large crowds to determine which party is wealthier. These ‘battles’ are performed using material items such as money, mobile phones, clothes, and/or alcohol. In most instances a battle is won by the intentional destruction or wastage of one’s own expensive items in order to demonstrate the lack of concern for such material possessions due to the ability to afford more of the same. A competitor’s chances of victory are improved by having items that are more expensive than those of their opponent.
The word Izikhothane is a slang word that originates Zulu word “Osikhotheni”. Osikhotheni mean people who live the bushes/bundus, and that is derived from the Zulu word “Isikhotha” that mean “bush”. The singular form of this Zulu word is called “usikhotheni”. This term is township slang for the hustlers who live a lavish life styles (nice expensive clothes, nice cars, etc) without a job or owning business. You can called them modernized beggars who live by doing illegal ways to satisfy hunger for lavish life styles.
Izikhothane originated in the early 2000s in the South African townships of Soweto and Diepsloot. The act remained largely unnoticed until it gained popularity in 2011 and 2012. A similar trend called uSwenka existed in South Africa in the 1950s where migrant workers and laborers dressed themselves in their finest suits and shoes to compete in contests. The winner of these contests would win money, household necessities or livestock, which they would send back home to their families.
Music & Dance
The aim of the dance battle is to show more abundance than your opponents as this determines the winner of the battle. There is no tangible reward for winning an Iziknothane battle, just the recognition and affection from the audience that witnesses the battle.