2017 Dec. 10: Sisonke Collective performs @Zeitz MoCCA

Text by Christie van Zyl
Photos by Lerato Dumse

 
This was our buzz on Sunday 10th December 2017. We took over social media and the newly launched Zeitz MoCAA Museum in the Scheryn Collection Arena. The Sisonke Collective founded by visual activist/photographer Professor Sir Muholi, wrapped up 16 Days of Activism with a bang. The Sisonke Collective is a radical crew of young black gender non-conforming and queer creatives who bring together music, dance, storytelling, poetry, performance arts and visual arts.

The show was simple, streamlined and intentional. The context was moulded by ‘Difficult Love’; a documentary which set the tone of the plight of life long mission that Muholi took on when realizing that there is no media that represents them. From there on Professor Sir Muholi equipped themselves with skills and resources to be able to tell their own stories. After which came the understanding that other young black queers need resource, skill and platforms for the very same reasons.
The ever stunning Odidiva, our resident drag queen, gracefully swept into the room with a very direct agenda to school the audience on a very set fabulosity which indeed followed to fill the room.

 
2017 Dec. 10 Odidiva _ Zeitz _2571 copy

 

Beginning with a performance and speech from Odidiva herself highlighting how the Sisonke Collective took New York by storm at the NYC Performa Biennial of 2017. Wearing black through out the touring performances and exhibitions, we are constantly screaming that we are always in mourning. We are constantly making an awareness of and simultaneously mourning our existence.
We are constantly having to claim our space in history over and over again, to overcome the amnesia of our existence.

 

Zeitz IMG_2610 copy

 

Thandile Mbatsha, Kyle Linde (dancers) and Thando on percussion had us breath taken with their stunning performance piece ‘Touch’. We are all very aware of the politics of touch and the constant belligerence and to some extents resistance towards consent. A concept deemed to be very small but with very large consequences. The constant need to make an awareness around these factors of relating each other can be daunting, exhausting and triggering. The work needs to be done though, otherwise we cannot complain about anything not being done about it if we do nothing in our own capacity.

What it is that we are doing (creating awareness) is what rang true through out the show with the various artists shining light on different issues surrounding 16 Days of Activism. Musician Tracey Rose graced the stage on the wave of ‘Wathinta umfazi, wathinta imbokodo’, yes the proverbial ‘You strike a woman, you strike a rock’. Yes, we have to keep on saying it for our self-affirmation, so that
we are not constantly living in fear!
Zeitz IMG_2662 copy

Singer Yanela Ncetani Mhlawuli takes to the stage in a regal Vicky Sampson look just to do a war cry stating freedom, ‘Yamemeza intokazi yomuntu bo. Yayihleli ngasemgodini ecaleni kwamaThafa.  Thina sine lungelo lokuthanda umntu lokuthanda nabani kulelizwe esilithandayo kulelizwe lethu elihle. Freedom oh freedom rise for all’. Exclamations of a love that exist within freedom which should be celebrated. Spread more love, dissipate the hate.
A humbling, grounding and unifying ‘Nkosi Sikelela iAfrika’ was sang to wrap up the first event and artists to be hosted at the Zeitz MoCAA institution, alongside the burning of red candles in commemoration of those we have lost to hate crimes . Not the national anthem but the prayer hymn and political statement that we are praying for strength, for blessings, love and support to keep on fighting this good fight. As we work our way into making our queer existence visible in galleries, museums, media, institutions of knowledge and within society. The aim is to also influence the information that is circulating mediums and spaces of knowledge around our existence so that it is our stories told by us, for us.

I gave a final shout out at this show to the parents and family members of the crew that were present in the audience. It was important to acknowledge Odidiva’s parents who are elderly with Diva’s Father being a pastor too. To acknowledge sisters, nieces  and nephews of queer individuals because it shows support, acceptance and acknowledgment. It shows respect for our preferences and being seen as a human regardless of difference. I gave a shout out especially to our mothers that have seen so much surrounding us their children, with a poem titled ‘For the Grievance Ingrained Mothers’; because of what a friend we have in grievance. Whether our mothers are aware of it or not, we can see how much no child goes unnoticed.
So to end 16 Days of Activism, do something about the things that bother you pertaining to injustice otherwise you forfeit your right to complain. Always remember that you are not alone.

#Sisonke
#OnsIsSaam
#WeAreTogether
#ZeitsMOCAALGBTI
#ZeitsMOCAASisonke
#CocreateSA
#ZMSisonke
#SisonkeCollective
#VisualArtsActivism
#LGBTIQA Visibility

 

Previous by Christie

2015 June 25: Christie shines @ Cafe Sor in Oslo

 

 

Posted in Article by Christie van Zyl, Uncategorized, Visual Arts Activism, Zeitz MoCAA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2018 Jan. 21: Slain Lesbian Killed on New Year’s Day Laid to Rest

Text and photos by  Levinia Pienaar

Noxolo Xakeka, a 23 years old latest victim of hate crime was laid to rest on Saturday 20th January 2018 in Bredasdorp, Western Cape. On the 1st of January many babies were born and other significant incidents happened. The photo of the 1st baby born in the Western Cape appeared the 1st working day newspapers. However, Noxolo (Noxi), was the 1st lesbian to be killed out of homophobic hate crime by a man who wanted her to be with a man and not a woman.  Yet her death, the first one in 2018  didn’t make highlights in the mainstream media.

 

 

Members of Freegender and allies chanted protests songs during the funeral service
Noxi, who was the breadwinner at home and fend for her Mother, little sister and her  son. She was the “Dr. Phil” among her friends in Strand, where she stayed and worked till her death. The funeral could only take place 20 days after her brutal murder because friends and organizations assisted her mother to give her a respectful funeral. Emotions arose as Freegender members, friends and Noxi’s partner expressed their emotions. (Freegender is a black lesbian organization based in Khayelitsha).
Her son looked so “confused” in a way, as many people just wanted to hug him, care for him, etc. I could not imagine what he was going through.  Funeka Soldaat, an activist and founding member of Freegender, thanked the Pastor, elderly in church and congregants  for accepting LGTB people in the church and for the manner in which they conducted the service. Funeka mentioned that as a lesbian or gay person you fear even the Church because of homophobia.

 

2018 Jan. 20 Noxolo s son and friend

 

After the Service, Noxi’s partner, her close friends and some Freegender members went to the kitchen to prepare something to eat (with money they received from donors) and they all just broke down. Tears were rolling down their faces afterwards when the food was served. With every plate and container which went out of the kitchen, a lot of tears and pain and despair went with it. During that time, her little boy went from person to person to “comfort” them.  They were the ones supposed to comfort him.  He was not really aware of his loss. When her partner, picked him up, it was then when my eyes got filled with tears. Deep in my heart I prayed that her mother, family and friends would allow her access to the boy. In heterosexual relationships it remains a “norm’ that a child gets reared by the remaining partner. In same sex relationships things like that are not perceived as the “norm”.

Hate crimes on LGBTI persons hardly get recorded. Noxi was the 1st lesbian to be killed in 2018 in South Africa because of homophobia.  No “prominent” politicians, ministers, Deputy Ministers, etc. attended the funeral.

2018 Jan. 20 Photos of Noxolo displayed

 

Related articles

 

2014 Sept. 28:  An emotional farewell for the recent victim of hate crime

 

and

 

2014 Sept. 21:  Black Sunday for black lesbians in South Africa
and

 

2014 Aug. 19:  Makau family mourns the brutal murder of their beloved

 

and

 

2014 Aug. 23: Relatives and friends shed tears at Gift’s funeral and some fainted

 

and

 

2013 July 10:  When brutally killed, Dudu was stripped every ounce of her dignity

 

and

2013 July 10: Chaotic memorial service for Duduzile

 

and

 

2013 Dec. 15:  Photos from the funeral of the recently murdered lesbian in Ratanda

 

Posted in Bereavement, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2018 Jan. 15: Pink Money in Switzerland

Text by Siba Nkumbi
Photos by Suzy Bernstein

PINK MONEY, a showcase that describes the purchasing power of the LGBT+ community particulariy that tackles tourism as to who spends this money, who gets it and at what price!

 

2018 Jan. 15 Pink Money ft Anelisa Stuurman

 

The show beautifully displayed the experiences of the artists in Europe in pursuit of this Pink Money, I got to be part of the people witnessing the show as Annalyzer, one of the artists shared her experience of Europe based on myself being thrown down the stairs by an airbnb worker, seeing and witnessing what that ordeal was like to her with my naked eye sparked a sense of healing which was beautifully delivered in the form of great artwork.

 

2018 Jan. 15 Anelisa Stuurman _ Pink Money _ Switzerland

The introduction of the show was perfectly planned from the beautiful Miz Buttons aka Mbali Mdluli, one of the artists eased people into the  performance with  beautiful sounds to Annalyzer as uMalume as well as Anje Shupp plus Kieron Jina sealing the beautiful collaboration with the naked truth of their stories, beautiful dance moves and  attention grabbing energy from all artists. I personally loved the aspect of the show being created so that the artists interacted with the crowd so we could feel as part of the show as much as we came to watch the show. Pink Money is a force to be reckoned with! It both challenged the status quo as to who deserves what based on who they are, sexual preference and how they dress. We shared a moment of hug towards the end of the show with Annalyzer considering how far we have both come since Holland, we did alright.  Pink Money has literally smashed the stigma into pieces and in Europe.

What I noticed was the amount of support they got to a point that tickets were sold out, I had a friend who had to go back home because the show was already full which brings me to my next point of being a South African and writing  this for South Africans. The only way our art is going to grown is by starting to support each other in numbers, do what you are not used to doing. If  you are used to free tickets at least surprise yourself and buy 1 ticket it makes a lot of difference as we as artists put our blood, sweat and tears into our own art more support can go a long way and yes I do appreciate the support that we already experience and  share.  Aluta continua.
As I got back home on a Wednesday, Luyolo Thomas from the South African Embassy based in Switzerland who is also a good friend of  mine could not keep his mouth shut after witnessing the show for himself, he then told me “Those guys are good” so I asked which guys and he replied Pink Money!
An interesting way of summing up her part in Pink Money,  is a quote from Annalyzer that got most men saying something about it and which I relate to a lot.
“These boys envy me because I eat what they eat and I eat it better” – Annalyzer

 

2018 Jan. 14 Annalyzer + Siba Nkumbi _ Switzerland

Annalyzer and Siba, a moment of pride after the show

However it is never about such statements but about respecting and honouring who people are without expecting them to act or be a certain way because you see their bodily features. I do encourage anyone who wants to learn more about LGBTI+ in a beautiful captivating delivery to see Pink Money as it is a must see wherever you are. The time is now to be radical about who we are and become more and more visible than gay prides and parades, we take back what  they took from us which is mostly dignity by being unapologetically visible.

Lastly I said talking to a friend a few days ago “ I would love to see the show in churches and schools more, that is where our children are taught about life and being human and the very first places for us to be radical and raise awareness with the help of the parents of course, no longer can these issues affecting the LGBTI+ community be swept under the carpet” it begins with you. A special thank you to the Pink Money artists for such an amazing and yet educating show. Anje Schupp, Kieron JINA, Mbali Mdluli and Annalyzer you did us proud.

 

Previous by Siba 

Dreams do come true

 

 

Posted in Achievement, Achievements, Article by Siba Nkumbi (2018), Featuring Annalyzer, Pink Money, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Dec. 15: Ricki & Tony’s best wedding

Team TT Weds

by: Lerato Dumse

Days after making her/story in her birth country Botswana, Tshepo Ricki Kgositau walked down the aisle on Friday, December 15, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Ricki reached a new life milestone by marrying the man of her dreams.

On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, Botswana High Court ordered the state to legally recognise Ricki’s gender identity. Justice Leatile Dambe told the national registrar in Gaborone to change Ricki’s gender from male to female in the national registrar, and “issue her with a new identity card identifying her as a female”.

The couple first met on a Sunday afternoon on the 10th of August 2014. The groom Tony Kanza believes he was destined to meet Ricki because they stayed in the same street in Cape Town and waited for their public transport near each other’s homes.

 

 

Ricki arrived at the wedding venue driven in a maroon vintage 1936 Chevrolet sedan, while the sun prepared to set in Hout Bay and the wind blew gently (for Cape Town standards). The bride climbed out of the car ready to exchange wedding vows with her Congolese born partner. Guests ululated as Ricki exited the car and emerged clutching her bouquet in one hand and her brother in another. She looked beautiful in her figure hugging long dress and platted dreadlocks partly visible through her veil.  Tony stood tall and looked dapper in his blue suit, patiently waiting for his bride. The blue sky provided the perfect cover for this garden wedding, surrounded by nature in the form of mountains and water. After the “I Dos” it was time for the vows. Ricki pledged to always love Tony saying, “You accepted me with all that I came with and have never for a moment given me the impression that you ever questioned your decision to be with me”.

In their wedding website Tony and Ricki shared how their relationship includes coincidences. “August is the anniversary of when we met and started dating and his birth month too, while October is the anniversary of our engagement and it is my birth month. December 2016 happens to be the month I had my gender affirming surgery and is the future anniversary of our civil marriage.

Limited to a maximum of one hundred and twenty guests, the wedding was intimate with guests handpicked. Among the guest list was Kgositau’s mother, brothers, relatives, activists, colleagues and friends.  Lawyer Lesego Nchunga, who represented Kgositau during the High Court victory, was present to witness the special event.

The couple chose close friends to be their bridesmaids and groomsmen. Lomie Serole was the Best Lady. Her and Ricki met in tertiary and lived together for a while. This was not the first milestone experienced by Lomie. She accompanied Ricky to Thailand for her gender affirming surgery.

While Maid of Honour Tumisang Letamo and Ricki’s friendship is cemented by their love for God and understanding that there is a God out there that hears the cries and prayers of its people.

The Man Of Honour was Justin Barume, who is Tony’s homeboy from DRC and now part of his family in Cape Town. “Justin is one of the greatest supporters to Tony & Ricki and even went to Botswana to represent the Kanza family in the magadi negotiations for Ricki.

The bride and her team started their day with final rehearsals at the venue on the morning of the wedding. They then headed back to their wedding accommodation in Green Point to get ready for the main event. The groom with the pastor and groomsmen dressed up in the couple’s home, surrounded by pictures of the bride and groom and messages of love displayed in their home.

Reverend Mampane officiated the wedding ceremony and offered the closing prayer following the reception. Speaking in his fast paced voice, Reverend Mampane offered the newlyweds some marital advice, urging them to “have fun with each other” much to the guest’s delight.

With the ceremony wrapped up, the wedding team rushed off with Inkanyiso crew to have their wedding photographs captured. Family and friends enjoyed starters and drinks. Upon returning to the wedding venue it was time to have dinner and speeches.

Before ending the night the dance floor was set alive by the wedding team presenting their choreographed pieces. The lovebirds also got a chance to have their first dance as a couple before they threw the bouquet and gutter to all the singletons in the house.

#TeamTT #TransIsBeautiful #TswanaDiamondPower #LoveLivesHere #GenderAffirmingFamilies #HappyPowerfulYear #20CementTheTeam #TransFemLeadership #HerStory

 

Related links

2015 April 25:  Photos of Javas & Mashadi’s traditional wedding

 

and

 

2015 April 13: Javas approached new Phase – Marriage

 

and

 

2014 March 14:  A video of Ayanda and Nhlanhla Moremi’s wedding

 

 

 

Posted in Acceptance, Affirmation, African continent, Another Approach Is Possible, Art Is A Human Right, Art Solidarity, Beautiful, Beautiful faces, Beauty, Brave Beauties, Power, Power of the Voice, Powerful, Ricki & Tony's wedding, TransStories, Uncategorized, Visual Power | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Oct. 26: South African Fashion Week

by Lesego Masilela

 
Being in a space where I have people with a clear understanding of what I love is one of the best experiences I can never trade for anything. On October 24 – 25, 2017 I attended the South African Fashion Week (SAFW) and compiled this reflective report.

2017 SAFW IMG_0485 copy

Beauty and style on fashion ramp… Photos by Lerato Dumse

 

2017 SAFW IMG_0512 copy

 

2017 SAFW IMG_0469
Rich Mnisi stands out for me, there’s something so rich and fresh about his style, it’s not intricate but intriguing in such a way that one can’t ignore the beauty of his work.

Woolworths also impressed me for using thickleeyonce as one of their models. They showed that they cater for every body type; they understand that not all women are a size zero.

This day made me believe in possibilities of becoming one of the best designers in the world. It was nice meeting people and seeing a lot of known people, I was going crazy on the inside and I don’t want to lie I would have loved taking pictures with one of them but then I had to stay in my lane.

2017 SAFW IMG_0472

 

2017 SAFW IMG_0480 copy

Style and fashion rule, that’s my opinion maybe it’s because I always look at what people wear.
Day two reminded me of why I love fashion, I was fascinated by the greatness of Mantsho and Rubicon

The smartest thing Rubicon did was using one of the most admired woman in our country Basetsana Kumalo, she was just a goddess and nailed it. I found myself smiling for no reason, that’s how much she gave life to the room

Being in SAFW made me realise that anything is possible and you can be where you believe you need to be. I swear after watching the shows I was so pumped to create more stuff and stop believing that I’m not good enough and that people wouldn’t love what I make.

Uniqueness is one thing that separates designers from designers. I truly enjoyed being there and meeting new people.
 

Previous articles

2016 Aug. 20:  Lesego’s follow up

and

2016 Aug. 20: When Faces Meet in Joburg

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2017 SA Fashion Week, Fashion, Fashionista, Photos by Lerato Dumse, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Sept. 28: NIKE Honours Young South African with exclusive edition BHM Sneakers

 

2017 Oct. 2 Bathini Dambuza BHM Sneakers _ Parktown _2762

Bathini Dambuza, a spiritual activist and a member of VMCI with a gift of sneakers from Muholi.

 

MEDIA RELEASE

Black History Month is commemorated every February in the United States of America, celebrating the achievements of black Americans.

Since 2005, it is also the month Nike unveils its distinct designs of Black History Month (BHM) products, leading with the iconic Air Force 1, paying homage to the achievements of black heritage, in sport and beyond, worldwide.

Nike recognizes the significance of BHM with not only a product collection, but a larger recognition of the power of sports to impact society.  It is an appreciation of a movement created by the Pan-African communities to fuel a purpose of equality.

To honour the global black history movement, and as part of this year’s 35th anniversary of the iconic Air Force 1, Nike produced a collection of bespoke BHM Air Force 1’s.

South Africa, at the heart of the African diaspora, is the first of three countries honouring individuals who are the future force, the chosen ones.

They are pioneers of their trade. Trendsetters and tastemakers who are charging ahead and blazing new paths while taking the rest of us into the future, who proudly wear their country’s heart on their sleeve, and are proudly African.

This inspired Nike designers to produce a signature sneaker fusing the country, the continent, and Pan-Africanism into an exclusive edition of BHM Air Force 1’s.

A graphic marblized print of South Africa’s national flag rests on the inner and outer of the all-black nubuck upper which rests upon a crisp white sole.  A gold hang-tag of the African continent motif with BHM emblazoned across it and the lace lock made up of tri-colours red, black and green inspired by the Pan-African flag also known as the Black Liberation Flag complete the sneaker. The socklier has the ‘equality’ message across it.

35 South African honorees were hosted at a special unveiling of the BHM Air Force 1 on Wednesday night at Lilies Leaf in Rivonia – the award-winning heritage site and once the nerve centre of the anti-apartheid movement.  It was a befitting backdrop to an intimate dinner served by Junior Chef of the Year, Terror Lekopa, during a month dedicated to appreciating the country’s diverse cultural heritage, beliefs and traditions.

 

South Africa’s Force 35 include: (alphabetical by name)

Amanda Dlamini – Professional Footballer, Olympian, Football Analyst

Anele Mdoda – Radio and Television Personality, Author, Occasional Comedienne

Anees Petersen – Fashion Designer, Entrepreneur

Black Coffee – International Award Winning DJ, Producer

Caster Semenya – Professional Athlete, Olympian, World Champion

DJ Fresh – Multi-talented DJ, Music and Television Producer

Doowap – Fashion Guru, Drum and Bass Queen

Greg Maloka – Musical Maestro, Radio Genius

Itumeleng Khune – Professional Footballer, South Africa’s leading Goalkeeper

Jamal Nxedlana – Creative Director, Photographer, Designer

Lady Skollie – Visual Artist, Activist

Laduma MaXhosa – Knitwear Design Extraordinaire

Lazi Mathebula – Illustrator, Designer, Sneaker Customizer

Lebogang Rasethaba – One of the Younger Film Directors

Luvo Mayonga – Professional Long Jumper, Olympian, World Champion

Mandla Sibeko – Chairman, Co-Founder of the Joburg Art Fair

Manthe Ribane – Graphic Designer, Dancer and Performer

Maria McCloy – Urban Culture Lover, Publicist, Journalist, Fashion Designer

Mary Sibande – Sculptor, Photographer, Visual Artist

Milkshake – Multicultural DJ and Producer

Mkay Frash – Sneaker Head, Undisputed King of Camo and Streetwear

Riky Rick – Rapper and Producer

Ruli Diseko – Relentless Entrepreneur

Scoop Makhathini – Television and Radio Presenter, Writer

Sho Madjozi – Rapper, Poet

Tarryn Alberts – Choreographer, Dancer

Tebogo Mohlatsi – Renowned Film Director, Revolutionised SA Television

Terror Lekopa – Junior Chef of the Year.

Thandiswa Mazwai – One of the most influential musicians in SA

Thando Moleketi – Food Writer, Traveler

Trevor Stuurman – Photographer, Creative Director

Tusa Mamba – Sneaker and Streetwear Trendsetter

Wandile Zondo – Co-founder of Thesis Lifestyle

YoMzansi – Sneaker Culture Bloggers

Zaid Osman – Sneaker Exchange Founder, Sneaker Head

Zanele Muholi – Visual Activist, Photographer.

 

 

 

Posted in #Butch Mbokodo  #Siyanqoba #InkanyisoMyFamily #QueerBeauty #ArtOfActivism, A new visual history, Activated queer spaces, Active Black Lesbian Artists in South Africa (ABASA), Activists Act, Alternative family, Another Approach Is Possible, Media Release, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 Sept. 11: ‘Brave Beauties’ Cape Town Chapter

by Zama Shange

On August  22, 2017 at 12h30, I received a WhatsApp text from Zanele Muholi: “Would you consider joining us for the Cape Town show to open on 31/08/17”. Needless to say I was stunned, and for a good ten minutes I did not know how to respond. My personal invitation from Muholi: not just any visual activist but THE worldwide excelling, breaking-all-barriers Visual Activist. As she would say nonchalantly, “Google me”.

I had only just met Muholi one week earlier, though I have been following her work for years, at Victory Ministries Church International (VMCI) church in Durban, South Africa. Who would have thought I made such an impression that I would receive the honour of being invited to be part of her crew for the ‘Brave Beauties’ Cape Town Chapter. Beyond blessed and humbled, I did not hesitate and submitted my leave at work immediately.


Day I

August 27, Cape Town Airport: the doors open, and I am greeted by a very cheerful Thembela ‘Terra’ Dick – a filmmaker who works closely with Muholi for for Inkanyiso. Terra’s welcoming attitude makes me even more excited. Terra is not alone: Malibongwe Swane, and three gorgeous ladies, dressed to kill with faces so perfect, you would swear they were done by a make-up artist… ! The two ladies are participants in Brave Beauties, Kim Monoto, Miss Tee Menu and Mellisa Mbambo. A few minutes later the arrival doors open again, and then the Brave Beauties from Johannesburg appear. Again, you could swear they just walked out of a Vogue magazine shoot, and the airport floor was their runways.

 

2017 Aug. 31 Brave Beauties @ Gender Dynamix_0103

2017 Aug. 30: Brave Beauties participants after a visit to Gender Dynamix offices in Cape Town. Back row: L-R Progress Seloate, Kim Monoto, Mellisa Mbambo, Roxy Dlamini, Miss Tee Menu. Front row: L-R Katiso Kgope, Ricki Kgositau (GDX Director), Kat Serame, Yaya Mavundla and Dimpho Tsotetsi. © Muholi /Inkanyiso


Dimpho Tsotetsi, Katlego Kat Serame, Progress Seloate, Roxy Msizi Dlamini, Katiso Kat Kgope and Yaya Mavundla
: nine in total, beautiful, confident – and loud, mind I say – super models, all participanting in Brave Beauties’ Cape Town Chapter. Whilst waiting for the Uber to Gardens Holiday Apartment where we will be staying, a visual party took place, from Malibongwe  video documenting anything and everything the ladies did, to Terra’s airport photo shoot, it surely was going to be a productive and fun week.

 

2017 Aug. 30 Kim Monoto @ Stevenson gallery _8019

Kim Monoto standing next to her life size portrait which is part of Brave Beauties (2017) series. © Terra Dick/ Inkanyiso

Soon we arrived at the Gardens Holiday Apartment, where Lerato Dumse of Inkanyiso efficiently had already checked us all in. The entire 3rd floor belonged to Brave Beauties and the Inkanyiso crew; later on I would learn that this was a rather great idea to have all of us on the same floor…

After settling in and unpacking, I attended a brief meeting with the crew members in Room 408, which was specifically reserved for us as a dedicated meeting space. Crew Members as follow:

  • MuholiBrave Beauties Director
  • Lerato DumseDu Love Media Director
  • Yaya Mavundla – Publicist and Brave Beauties Participant
  • Thembela ‘Terra’ Dick – Photographer

Malibongwe documented the first meeting. I must admit, I felt rather intimidated… things just became ‘real’, with the discussion unfolding across the table, tasks being allocated, itinerary planning and formal introductions on-camera.  All of this was a first for me, but I was more excited that nervous. I got to understand how Muholi works, and likes things to be handled, with the help of the other long-term crew members very familiar with Muholi’s way of working.

Our first day one ended with a trip to Mzoli’s Place in Gugulethu, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town. Terra and myself went with the Brave Beauties; Mozli’s is definitely not my scene, but the ladies had a blast. We closed off our first evening in Cape Town with a wonderful visit to Rowan Pybus home, who runs an ethical media company called Makhulu productions and, together with his wife Sydelle Willow Smith, is a founding partner in Sunshine Cinema, a mobile solar cinema that turns solar energy into social impact. What an honour to meet such an inspiring and humble man: we were invited into his home with open arms, served refreshments and engaged in empowering conversations accompanied by lot of laughter. Cape Town was definitely looking good.

Day 2

The day started very early, as Dimpo and I decided to prepare a lovely breakfast for everyone. Thereafter the whole team went the Roodebloem Studios in Woodstock to record the Life Stories Interviews. The Brave Beauties got themselves ‘dolled up’ for the occasion – what they do best. On this day we were joined by Mam’ Lindeka Qampi, a self-taught photographer specialized in the genre of Street Photography. Lindeka is a humble, strong black woman, with a very welcoming and calm approach. Rowan Pybus of Sunshine Cinema and Makhulu Productions was kind enough to join the crew and film the shoot, working closely with Inkanyiso’s own film producer and editor Ima Masitha, whom I was excited to meet. We got along very well from the start, and worked hard together making sure the production and logistics were on par. Although most of the time I found myself having to be a ‘mother’ or ‘minder’ to the Brave Beauties; I was overwhelmed at first, as the ladies are rather ‘different’: I am not too sure if it was their excitement, but to have them calm down was rather difficult, let alone take instructions or focus on the project… !

And as if that was not enough, we were rather rudely interrupted by Lindiwe Dhlamini, the founder of a fantastic initiative called Injabulo Anti-Bullying project, who decided to just budge in – no introduction – and exhibited a marked lack of respect for the crew, before demanding to start her bullying dialogue. But luckily Ima Masitha, Rowan and myself were able to keep the situation calm, be professional her and let her do ‘her thing’ … and the situation was defused.

Muholi and Lerato joined us later and the ball started rolling, beautiful images were captured, and the opening video successfully captured. Magic was created at the studio. The day was closed off with Rowan conducting a rather a series of very emotional, draining, raw individual interviews with the Brave Beauties.

From the outside one might think that all this work could be done in just a couple of hours, but on this day I learnt that perfection is hard work, and pays off when you see the end result: the ladies were flawlessly beautiful, the production crew was dedicated and truly professional; this is was serious work. History was made on this day.

What is Cape Town without Long Street? Later that night we got a treat from Muholi: dinner and a walk on Long street to complete the day – even though there were small glitches. I mean, how could there not be any when you are accompanying nine extraordinary and over-the-top dramatic transwomen. Little did they know there was a surprise birthday celebration back at the hotel for Katlego Kat Serame: the big 30. Very emotional and rather special, Muholi made sure she was celebrated on this day, and she couldn’t be happier. A productive day it turned out to be.

 

2017 Aug. 30 Princess Progress _8021

Princess Progress Seloate for Brave Beauties (2017) series. © Terra Dick/ Inkanyiso

 
Day 3

We started our day by visiting Stevenson Gallery. The gallery has an international exhibition programme with a particular focus on the region, representing a group of exhibiting gallery artists – including our very own Muholi. It was my very first time ever being at an art gallery. I was blown away by the beauty, the space, the pure white walls, the welcoming staff – when you look at them, you see art. This was a dream to me: as soon as you enter the gallery, you are greeted by a large book shelf filled with treasures, books by internationally celebrated artists and activists, and right at the front several of Muholi’s books are the centre of attention. Immediately I felt so proud and humbled, to be part of history in the making.

Once the introductions were out of the way, the Brave Beauties were given the task to express themselves on the wall, and write what they wished to share with the world – not only about transwomen, but to personalise and dig deep inside, conveying to the audience what it means to be a transwoman. To tell the world who they were. Unfortunately I was rather disappointed by the Brave Beauties, as in my view they did not go all out and respect the craft and rawness of the activity: to me, the writings on the wall were not up to scratch, in terms of being true and honest.  There were a lot of grammatical mistakes, and words spelt wrong. I suggested the ladies write in their own language if they wish to add originality and dignity to the craft, but as this was not considered, I had to remind myself it was not about me, but about the Brave Beauties. I can only  do so much, offer my assistance and advise; it is up to them to decide if wish to take it, or not. A couple of hours later we departed back to the hotel, to get ready to attend Odi Diva’s The Come Back event, where Muholi was the guest speaker.

Odidi “OdiDiva” Mfenyana, also known as “The only Diva with a Degree”: not only is Odidiva well educated, she is also an actor and an amazing performer. Her vaudeville-style cabaret is highly entertaining and gets everybody up on their feet, clapping their hands and singing along. For the first time I met a drag queen who actually sings for real…! I was blown away by Odidiva’s style and her strong beautiful voice. The event started slowly and calmly at first, with red candles lit as a remembrance ceremony. Thereafter it turned out to be a hell of a party, everyone was on their feet, dancing and celebrating.. The Brave Beauties got down for real, in their high heeled stilettos and short mini dresses: the dance floor was on fire. I had to call it a night early as I was exhausted. And so whilst the Inkanyiso crew went back to the hotel, the Brave Beauties went to the after-party at Club Zer021 in Cape Town’s Green Point.

Day 4

Muholi decided to spoil us a little and help us relax, and each one of us was given R1000 to go shopping. The Brave Beauties, Mam’ Lindeka,  and myself went to V&A Waterfront. Due to everyone wanting different things to buy, we decided to split and meet at the Food Court at 4pm, as we had planned a photoshoot by the beautiful view. I have to admit that on this day, I was struggling with exhaustion. I bought two souvenirs and walked around for a little while, just admiring this beautiful mall. Come 4pm, none of the Brave Beauties were at the meeting bay, and so yet another chasing of adults was required, again.

Eventually we all got together, and Mam’Lindeka and Mam’ Lizzie began with the photoshoot. By this time everyone was equally exhausted; we had a quick drink and went to the hotel to rest.
Day 5 / Last Day

The last day had finally come: the reason we were all here. It was unfortunate I was ‘man down’; I had caught the flu bug and I stayed in bed the entire day.

By18:00, we went to Stevenson Gallery. History will be made tonight: a solo exhibition by visual activist and photographer Muholi, her first in Cape Town gallery since 2012.
Brave Beauties, a photo-essay featuring transwomen, to be shown alongside Somnyama Ngonyama (‘Hail, the Dark Lioness’), her on-going body of work confronting the politics of race and pigment in the photographic archive through self-portraiture.

The opening was a huge success, from large images of the Brave Beauties up on the gallery walls, to the video room, and a range of random images pasted across the gallery rooms. Everything came together beautifully, the gallery was packed, people came out in large numbers to support and enjoy this endeavour. At one point I found myself looking at Muholi as she was delivering her speech and thinking to myself, “God has truly blessed Muholi, with not just a talent, but wisdom and a passion”… I couldn’t be more humbled by the opportunity to not only work with Inkanyiso but to also witness such beauty and perfection. I was overwhelmed. The Brave Beauties looked absolutely gorgeous, true models who carried themselves with such elegance and grace. The gallery was filled with great spirits, congratulations were in order all round. It all came together in the end.

Muholi is an icon, the person is a legacy, and I feel deeply honoured to be given the opportunity to contribute and work with the amazing Inkanyiso crew. I learnt a lot, and I evolved as an individual on this trip. Finally everything made sense.

 

About the author

Zama Shange was born in Durban, Inanda South Africa, 1987 July 17.  Her mother’s name was Ntombifuthi “Mafutha” Shange and father Gugu Cele, who both passed away when she was a baby. She was raised by her grandfather, David Shange.

Education

She attended S.M.J Primary school in Durban, Sydenham public school. She then completed her High School years in 2005 at Avonford Secondary School, which is in Phoenix. She went on to study at Varsity College, where she received her Diploma in Hospitality Management.

Career and professional activities

Zama Shange started her career path at the InterContinental Hotel O.R Tambo.
Where she worked as a Front Desk assistance until 2010. She then moved to Tracker in 2011, she started as a call centre agent. Upon giving excellent customer service skills, she was then promoted to Product Support Agent.

In 2012 she received a transfer upon request to Tracker office in Durban, where she also through hard work was again promoted to Dealer Sales Executive in 2015. She is currently based in Durban, working for Tracker. In 2016 she started freelancing for UniQ Magazine SA, an LGBTI online magazine.

She has since been promoted to Operations Manager for the magazine. Based on her disadvantaged childhood, Zama decided that since she can not go back and change her childhood, she will focus on making a difference in young girl’s lives, who grow up in disadvantaged backgrounds.
On educating, protecting and inspiring young girls to be the best they can be.
Zama founded Mafutha Foundation in 2017, an organization that focuses on youth of where she comes from. Choosing to contribute to the Community, Zama realized that there was more she could offer.  She than became an activist and Feminist, specifically in the LGBTI community which she belongs to. She is currently volunteering as a Logistics event co-ordinator for Inkanyiso.

Achievements

Zama Shange got to have part of her life story published on Uniq Magazine SA in June 2017 where she was the cover story. She shared her journey with the readers as a way to inspire, growth and being proud of ‘who you are’. In July 2017 Zama joined a movement of powerful, inspiring and motivating women called Esigodlweni seziNdlovukazi founded by Queen Indlovukazi Mapule, who is also her mentor.

Zama immediately became a leader of the youth’s project called The Inheritors.
On the 12th of August 2017, she was invited as a Programme Director for Young women’s Luncheon, hosted by FourW Foundation. In August 2017, she joined Inkanyiso.org team in Cape Town, where Brave Beauties project exhibited by the visual activist Zanele Muholi.

Zama Shange is currently working on growing Mafutha Foundation and breaking all barriers to ensure that no girl child within her reach is drops out of school because of issues young people face in schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Activated queer spaces, Activists Act, African continent, Another Approach Is Possible, Appreciation, Art Activism, Art Is A Human Right, Article by Zama Shange, Articulation, Being conscientized, Being heard, being loved, being recognized, Body Politics, Caring citizens, Citizenship, Claiming mainstream spaces, Collectivism, Consent, Crea(c)tive senses, Creative Writing, Cultural activists, Follow up, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment