A flip-flop in style in South Africa

A striking feature of South Africa is the humble plastic flip-flop.

This form of footwear, common to all continents (at least in summer), in South Africa it assumes the position of a form of national dress for men. Combined with designer shorts and trendy Tee, the flip-flop leads the fashion parade.

But why should this be the case?  Is it because flips are cool?  Yes, they do allow the foot to breath, and if purchased as a Brazilian import, they can be construed to be trendy.

But their ubiquity suggests that flip-flops mean more than this. Flip-flops suggest a certain masculinity - I Only Wear Comfortable Clothes, or, I Don't Care About Style, I Make My OWN Choices, or maybe, I Won't Spend A Lot Just to Cover My Feet.  Is it then a show of independence combined with convenience?

Or perhaps could it be more sensual?  It seems to follow that a masculine fashion choice might also serve to show off those perfectly tanned footsies, long slender toes and salon-buffed nails (Bumps, lumps or signs of battering or inattention are to be avoided or treated or both).

Another possibility is that the wearing of flip-flops is a sure sign of one's arrival at the Temple of Summer Splendor or at the Center of Tropical Feasting and Relaxation.  Evidence that the mood has shifted from frantic to lounge.  That the party has begun.

Whether the reason is comfort, style, allure or symbolic, the flip-flop enjoys undeniable popularity and singular devotion.  Put away the the Nikes, the Clarks, the Mephistos.  Embrace the flip-flop and enjoy the country. 


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