15 Ways To Be Zef In South African Street Style
Roughly translated as “common” in Afrikaans, zef is a fashion trend in South Africa that was popularized by the rap-rave duo, Die Antwoord. Now the musical due have leading roles in the No. 1 box office hit, “Chappie.”
With the look of ’80s-redneck-meets-Marilyn-Manson-meets-Flavor-Flav, it’s no surprise that singers Yolandi Visser and Ninja get a lot of negative publicity backlash for sporting zef. But that doesn’t stop them and their flourishing fan club from rocking their odd appeal.
Yolandi and Ninja star in “Chappie,” a top-grossing film by critically acclaimed South African director Neill Blomkamp, writer-director of “District 9.” Just released in the U.S., it’s an action-adventure drama about an artificially intelligent robot cop.
Blomkamp was supposedly listening to Die Antwoord’s music when the vision for “Chappie” began to emerge, Wired reports. The critics were not kind to this film. “Die Antwoord better not quit their day jobs” was the headline in the Washington Post.
But you can’t argue with the fans, who helped make it a top grossing film. Zef will get a chance to permeate the farthest reaches of the planet.
The concept of zef originated in the 1960s and 1970s as a derogatory term to refer to working class whites, including residents of trailer parks, according to Dummies Guide to Zef. It’s an abbreviation of the Ford Zephyr car, popular in the 1950s-1970s. In South Africa, Zephyrs were often souped up.
Editor Frikkie Lombard said zef is “something which is usually considered to be common, but nowadays has credibility.”
Here are 15 ways to be zef in South African street style.