Pith helmets have become a symbol of oppression
Melania Trump has been facing serious backlash on social media for her decision to wear a pith helmet – a symbol of colonial rule across Africa – as headwear during a safari in Kenya.
While it may not have been the most apparent faux pas the First Lady of the United States has ever made (remember the “I really don’t care. Do U?” jacket she wore on the way to visit detained migrant children?), the fashion choice was still a big error on the global stage according to those who study African history.
Kim Yi Dionne, an assistant professor specialising in African politics at University of California Riverside took to Twitter to express her feelings. “Melania Trump wearing a pith helmet on her trip to “Africa” is more than a silly sartorial choice. It’s a reflection of her out-dated understanding of Africa.” Nairobi native, Pauleen Mwalo also took to Twitter to share her feelings. “That pith helmet you have carried was used by colonialists during the dark days. Doesn’t sit well with us Africans. Who advised you?”
When questioned about the controversy in Egypt as part of her first international solo tour since her husband was sworn into office as president, Ms Trump expressed her wish for people to stop focusing on her clothes.
“You know what? We just completed an amazing trip. We went to Ghana. We went to Malawi. We went to Kenya. Now here we are in Egypt. I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear. That’s very important, what I do, what we’re doing with USAID, my initiatives, and I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear,” she said.
- Word by Gracie Stewart