fashion

How a single hat worn by Melania Trump managed to offend an entire continent.

Sometimes a hat is just a hat. But other times a hat can be a symbol of colonial rule and the systematic murder, exploitation and oppression of millions of people.

This is one of those times.

First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump, clearly didn’t clock that when she popped a pith helmet on her noggin for a safari in Nairobi National Park, Kenya, on Friday.

A staple part of the uniform of British explorers and imperial administrators in Africa in the 19th century, the cloth-covered helmet is rarely seen these days unless behind glass in museum exhibits or part of a culturally insensitive Halloween costume.

But alas, there was Mrs Trump on her African tour, proudly sporting a crisp, white pith. And she even rounded out the outfit with knee-high colonial-style riding boots.

Melania. No. Image: AP.

Why, remains unclear.

But it's certainly been a bonus for Twitter users who are currently engaged in a game of #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo.

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The hashtag, created by University of California political-science professor, Kim Yi Dionne, has tracked the Slovenian-born woman patting elephants, posing with orphans, dancing with school children, wearing khaki. Lots of khaki.

“When people think of Africa, they have these standard narratives,” Dionne told The New York Times. “Her attire is a signal of her understanding of what Africa is in 2018. It’s tired and it’s old and it’s inaccurate.”

Melania Trump has a bit of history with questionable fashion choices.

In August 2017, she wore a pair of very high heels to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey.

But perhaps most notable was the Zara jacket she wore to visit children in immigration detention at the US-Mexico border in June, which was emblazoned with the words: "I don't really care. Do you?"

The answer was yes. But it seems FLOTUS and her people weren't prepared to listen.

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