19 Ways to Tell You’re a Cape Town Hipster

Grab your oversized non-prescription glasses and find out whether you’re a Mother City trendster 

The true mark of a hipster is not in fact the tell-tale waist-length, professionally groomed but ‘scruffy’ beard, nor is it the signature red-and-black flannel shirt buttoned all the way to the top (for him) or the dress that’s so vintage it only looks good if you’re wearing a corset (for her). And it’s also certainly not the Wikipedic knowledge of the entire discography of [INSERT NAME OF OBSCURE BAND HERE].

No, the real, true mark of a hipster is in fact the denial of the fact that one is a hipster. Sometimes, this denial is so strong that the hipster doesn’t actually know themselves whether they are a hipster or just someone who’s so cool, green-conscious and ahead of their time that they might as well be Marty McFly.

Naturally, no two hipsters are alike, and the Cape Town brand, who are more likely to do #ThrowbackThursday-post shout outs to Kideo and Pumpkin Patch than to Mister Rogers, are distinguishable by their own unique traits. If you’re not sure whether you are in fact a member of the Mother City’s hippest stereotype (since your denial has reached optimum hipster level), read on for a handy dandy checklist of signs that you are indeed a Cape Town Hipster.


  1. You’ve taken a ‘pelfie’. That’s a selfie at the Cheers of hipster bars, The Power & the Glory. Chances are, your photo is on the infamous (but still cool enough to be on) ‘Wall o’ Trendsters’.

  2. You’ve had a stick-and-poke at Sins of Style and your partner doesn’t consider it cheating.

  3. You’ve re-watched Titanic ironically at the Galileo Open Air Cinema at Kirstenbosch. It’s cool because it’s a freakin’ outdoor theatre at freakin’ Kirstenbosch Garden, man, but it’s hipster because you were being ironic about watching the greatest love-story-based-on-actual-events of our time - and you can picture yourself rocking the outfits worn by the third-class passengers. You also go on party busses ironically and dance at Assembly ironically.

  4. You’ve done budget shopping at the Shoprite in Sea Point so you have more money to spend at the Apple iStore. In fact, the only non-Apple piece of tech that you own is the Polaroid camera you bought while browsing around at Milnerton Market. Now you have to go back to Milnerton every other Saturday because it’s the only place you can get film.

  5. Everything is rad. Well, only rad things that are actually rad are rad. Rad is the only rad way of saying ‘cool’.  

  6. You know that Gazelle is not part of game viewing and that Short & Sweet is not a newswriting principle. After all, this kind of knowledge just comes with the territory when you DJ (often at EVOL on Fridays) and direct (film noir) in your spare time.

  7. Smiling while wearing your wayfarers/John Lennon specs is too mainstream.

  8. Speaking of mainstream, Facebook is mainstream. You mostly tweet now, but Twitter’s also skating on has-been  ice. Tumblr and Instagram are still cool – er, rad – for now. Reddit is the new Facebook, though you’ve definitely been a Redditor longer than anyone else you know.

  9. You have a Tumblr dedicated to your Level 5 Veganism. It mainly consists of photos of the organic vegetables you buy at the City Bowl Market and food porn of eats like the Blackened Tofu Tacos at Plant.

  10. You think Rocking the Daisies is too commercial now. Any festival where people actually know the name of the headline act is too commercial for you. Even Afrikaburn is not as non-commercial as it was when you went as one of the original ‘Burners’. Now you only go to events on random farms in the Klein Karoo where Lark is the headliner.

  11. You know what Christian Tiger School is. At least, you know that it’s not a religious learning institution for God-fearing wild cats.

  12. You rate albums on a scale of one to Arcade Fire.  Bonus points if you’ve got all the band’s albums on vinyl. Bonus bonus points if you were collecting vinyl records way before it became cool again. (Triple bonus if you’re reading this while listening to music on a cassette tape).

  13. You know what OZCF, CBC and iOS stand for. That’s Oranjezicht City Farm, Cape Brewing Company and the iPhone operating system to you non-hipsters.

  14. You know who Lefty and Clarke are. And you swear your skin looks so good because you actually live on the Clarke’s veggie sloppy joe and the chicken and waffles at Lefty’s.

  15. You pass the ‘rocket vs The Rockets’ test. If you know that the first one is a plant, you’re a hipster. If you know that the second one is a band, you’re a Cape coloured. (Unless you’re a Cape coloured hipster, then you obviously know both.)

  16. You can tell if something’s gluten-free just by looking at it. Then again, your thick black-framed glasses also help.

  17. You’re connected. That means you’ve got the Wi-fi passwords pre-saved for any place that serves single origin espressos and triple-distilled tequila.  

  18. You get to these places by whipping about on your trusty fixie. And you only know the yearly lunar cycle because you and your bike are regulars at Moonlight Mass.

  19. You’ve been called a hipster. You deny it because you’re not. It’s a lifestyle. Rad.

By Tshego Letsoalo

*Photo compliments of James


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