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In South Africa, Swenkas are working-class Zulu men who participate in amateur competitions that are part fashion show and part choreography, the purpose of which is to display one's style and sense of attitude.[1] The practice, called "swenking", ultimately derives from the English word "swank".[2]

These well-dressed men are proud and considered to serve as an inspiration to others. Frequently, on Saturday nights they meet up to compete in a fashion show of sorts. The Swenkas are judged both on what they are wearing (typically, expensive designer suits with well-known European names on their labels) and their choreographed movements (their 'swank').[3] There is an entrance fee to compete in these swank-offs and the winner of the night goes home with a portion of the money collected from the competitors. The men follow certain set values of swanking, such as physical cleanliness, sobriety and above all self-respect. In 2004, Danish filmmaker Jeppe Rønde created The Swenkas, a documentary about the group.[1]


  1. ^ a b Catsoulis, Jeanette (November 9, 2005), "Saturday Night Peacocks in Squalid South Africa", The New York Times 
  2. ^ Felperin, Leslie (Jan 17, 2005), "The Swenkas", Variety 
  3. ^ Fleminger, David, "Swanky Swenkas: dressing sharp regardless of cost", Vice 

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