Makarapa: South African Hard Hat for World Cup Fans
The Makarapa: Quieter Symbol of World Cup 2010
For soccer fans who don't want to add to the vuvuzela-induced cacophony, consider the makarapa.
Makarapas are hard hats, as worn by miners and construction workers, which have been painted and modified to represent one's favorite team. Aside from their striking appearance, makarapas protect their wearers from objects hurled in the stands during the match. Indeed, that's how the makarapa began as a stadium must-have: the man credited with inventing it, Alfred Baloyi, wore his hard hat to the stadium as a protective device.
There is an "official" makarapa site, but fans in South Africa for the World Cup can find them everywhere, or, if feeling industrious, can make their own.
“A true fan will always have a makarapa,” Devine said. “It’s a very local thing.”
The makarapa for local South African teams is what the scarf is to soccer fanatics in England or Italy.
Its origin is attributed to Alfred Baloyi, who first donned the hard hat at a local soccer match to protect his head from flying objects like bottles or rockets. He turned the practical into the artistic and pretty soon it started to define the local fan base.