Melania Trump wore a hat associated with colonialism when on safari in Kenya

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

First lady Melania Trump is currently on a trip of Africa and on Friday she took in a safari in Nairobi, Kenya.

In what should have been an otherwise routine press call for Melania, she managed to stir controversy by simply wearing a hat.

The 48-year-old opted to wear a white pith helmet at the David Sheldrick Wildlife, Trust which invoked unfortunate memories of Africa's colonial past.

That particular hat was widely used by European militaries and visitors to the continent and India in the early 20 century.

According to The Guardian, the hats were first worn by explorers and administrators in Africa, the Middle East and Asia in the 19 century, before being adopted by the military and thus becoming a sign of status but also of oppression.

The hat has since been retired in Africa, but still appears in a small number of countries and is occasionally worn by tourists, possibly unaware of the connotations.

The controversy that Melania provoked was highlighted by several people on Twitter:

CNNreports that the helmet is now more commonly used as a sun hat, but - as they point out - there was no real need for her to wear it as she was sitting in the back seat of a Toyota Land Cruiser.

The secret service agents who accompanied her did not wear hats or helmets either and, although there are no rules or regulations about what to wear on safari, it is advised not to wear bright whites, reds or neon shades.

Melania's trip of Africa concluded on Saturday in Egypt. Her outfit this time didn't cause any controversy but it did inspire a few jokes.


Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)