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‘Izikhothane’: South Africa’s bizarre money-burning trend

They burn money, destroy expensive clothes and pour bottles of alcohol on the ground. The ‘Izikhothane’ live well beyond their means, spending more money than they and their parents can afford in order to be cool. This South African craze is as intriguing as it is shocking. 

Several townships in Johannesburg, mainly Soweto in the south and Diepsloot in the north, claim to be the birthplace of ‘Izikhothane’ youth culture, also called ‘Skhotane’ and ‘Ukukhothana’ in other neighbourhoods. The term – Zulu for “to lick” – apparently has several origins.

Some say it refers to the action of licking the fingers to peel through bundles of money to spend on clothes, shoes and alcoholic spirits. Others say it refers to being drenched in ‘Ultramel’, a local custard considered a luxurious desert in black townships, and of licking hands and clothing. France24