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October 13, 2009

Heads up for soccer’s makaraba

We’ve all heard of – and heard – the vuvuzela. Now, South African soccer culture brings you the makaraba – a quieter but no less vibrant artwork made from a builder’s hard hat.

The original makarabas were sculpted from miners’ hard hats in the early 1980s by rival soccer supporters, to display their loyalty to their club.

Michael Souter first encountered these stunning sculptured hats at an Orlando Pirates vs Ajax Cape Town game at Newlands, Cape Town, five years ago. He realised the individually handcrafted
makarabas that the supporters were wearing were an art in themselves, and decided to bring them to the attention of a broader audience.

Inspired by the bold, colourful designs in the stadiums, Souter began creating his own makarabas and a small community was born.

Makoya Makaraba is a project based in Cape Town which has grown over five years from one painter and one cutter to a core group of eight craftsmen.

The project provides work for previously unemployed men. Through Makoya Makaraba they have learnt the art of making makarabas from initial design through to painting. Making each hat is a labour of love taking up to 16 hours.

Although makarabas began with local soccer, they have spread to other sports and to fashion. Models have paraded down the catwalk wearing makarabas during the Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week.

Makarabas can be worn as headgear by men or women; displayed as works of art in homes, offices, boardrooms and pubs; given as trophies or awards; and used for any other innovative purpose you can think of. They are mobile billboards for anyone wishing to promote a brand. With slogans such as “Woza” and “Laduma” they make a great soccer souvenir.

Visit www.makaraba.co.za and you will wish that you had a makaraba!

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