by Sfiso ‘Candice’ Nkosi
It is Thurs. 26th June 2014, my friend, Precious Maqojana and I left for Durban Pride from Johannesburg Park Station at 22:00. We stopped in Montrose for some refreshments and a bathroom break. I was starting to get anxious because the only thing on my mind was “which toilet will I use?”
I was afraid of the crowd and people who don’t understand queer society; Its hard to be queer because you do not really get to express nor live your life freely like a bird. I must be in makeup, dresses and/or stilettos, to use female public toilets. When I’m just my natural self with no makeup and weaves, I raise eyebrows..
I did not take advantage of my bathroom break and eventually we safely arrived in Durban and checked in at Hilton Lodge. We immediately took a nap as we were so tired from the long trip.
After resting, we updated our pages and Facebooked our friends and fans that were in Durban. It was like we were having a show! People came out in numbers to meet us at our hotel. It was awesome meeting new people.. One of our close friends and sister Le Sishi, showed up and she was also staying at the same place. It was a priceless moment to see each other again.
I went out for clubbing the night before Pride, just to get the feel of the place and socialize. I went to Club 101 of which was close by to our lodging place. It’s a club of mixed genders and sexualities, very welcoming and queer friendly. I met few friends and quickly left to sleep because I needed some rest to revive my energy for Pride.
Precious and I took a bath and had breakfast. Pride started at 10:00 but we didn’t arrive on time. We Queens dear, makeup, dress codes have to be on point. After everything we took a cab to Durban Pride. Just when we arrived we caused a scene and everyone wanted a picture with us. But we were surprised to see such a small number people at Pride. I don’t know if it was organised by different people from last year because in 2013 was epic and very full.
We took lots of pictures, the music was good and we danced our butts off. We met new queer people from trans to lesbians and gays. Around 20:00 people started to show up in numbers and we got confused on why at this time?
For so many reasons – Asazi!
We left to prepare for the after party and dress warmly since it was too cold and the sea breeze was so not friendly.
For the night, we first went to Club Adixions, a queer club owned by a black lesbian woman. It was packed and very hot, there were fans (air conditioners) but they were not working.
I wondered why because people could pass out due to the unbearable heat. The DJ was so bad and kept on repeating the same songs over and over again. We decided to leave the club and go to Club 101 lapho zikhipha khona (where it was much more fun). We felt that we having fun as Durbanites are so friendly, I must say.
I used to hear people saying that some Durbanites are homophobic but we didn’t experience that as all we were getting were compliments of how beautiful we were. Others were asking for numbers and we then partied hard !!!
I met a young transman who is a soccer player who stays in Durban. His name Njabulo Nothando Xulu and he works for Ukhozi FM.
Njabulo and his friends treated us like Queens and that was too exciting. They made sure we were comfortable and safe.I started having the bathroom anxiety again. Maybe queer toilets should now be implemented. I went to a female’s toilet and when I got there some black woman jumped from the base and said “no!!!
This is a females toilets eyamadoda ingale!!!”
I didn’t want drama so I left the club and went to the lodge to use the toilet. I don’t know why I have to encounter issues about the toilets.
On the following day we left for the beach. I could not be in Durban and not go to the beach as that would be a crime. Firstly we went to Shaka Marine, had lunch and took pictures around and finished our day at the beach. It was awesome I tell you.
The welcomes were heart warming but the goodbyes were emotional especially for me. Thinking that I was going back to Johannesburg, the city of depression and frustration made me cry. I seriously didn’t want to go back home but then I had no choice but to leave with hope that I will come back and see those special people I met who made me feel human and special again. Being in Durban was an inexplicable experience; the love, the comfort, the freedom, the positive energy, the laughter, smiles and joy, which I cherish most in my life.
All thanks to my photographer, mentor and person whom I say I call my family Zanele Muholi for giving us the opportunity to revive our spirit of hope, not forgetting his brother Sbonelo Muholi for being so kind and supportive to our trip. I am honorably blessed and thankful to God.
2014 July 10: My remarkable Durban Pride experience