2014 July 26: “I was born this way and I cannot change the skin that I live in”

My name is Refilwe Pitso but am popularly known as ‘Fifi’.
I was born and raised in Daveyton, Benoni in Johannesburg. I was born on the 27th of December 1991 and I was raised by my mother. She is a single parent but there were other guardians who helped raise me as well. I currently live with her and my younger sister.

My highest level of education is matric and I graduated with a B. I am employed at Ackermans as a shop assistant. I am also a treasurer on non-profit organisation called Team Dress Fresh, an organisation involved with street fashion. I love modeling very much.
In 2013 I won the Mr Uthingo pageant in Daveyton. The experience was fun but the competition was tight. I was competing against my best friend Meme. The first time I entered, I won the Mr Valentine title, as a 2nd Prince. When I entered this time, I was confident I would win. I knew I had the looks, I knew the challenges, the personality I needed to project and I know modeling as a whole. In the end I won best prize and there was a photo frame and man’s accessories included.

The future plans that I have for myself are to rise up in the real world, becoming something that people could never believe from a person like me. I would like people to know that when they’re looking at me they are looking at a man who is trapped in a woman’s body. Frankly what am trying to say is I am lesbian.

I was born this way and I cannot change the skin that I live in.
In terms of gender I identify as a female, a woman who likes the satisfaction of another woman. I identify as butch and to me this means that I am a masculine person in a relationship. This tends to denote a degree of masculinity displayed by a female individual beyond that typical of a tomboy.

My hobbies are playing soccer, reading novels, watching TV, and fashion shows.

My family and I went through rough patches these past few years. When I came out as a lesbian, it came as a horrifying shock to them. They thought that I was cursed. They thought that the devil was using me and that I had a demon in me. They started taking me to various churches to be exorcised, but nothing changed. I kept on telling them that the devil was not using me and this is who I was and nothing could change me. Time passed by and they started realising how I lived my life and they started gaining an understanding that people like me live by God’s will. Suddenly they were showing me real love
and real support.

I take relationships seriously, even though our generation takes love for granted. I am currently dating and I try by all means to love and cherish my woman. My parents are totally aware of my relationship, and so do the family of my girlfriend.

I live in a nasty township where unexpected deaths occur. Anything is possible there. Crime rates are very high. People went from being human to being animals and the law is not doing enough, especially around lesbian/gay crime.

As a black lesbian my life is always in danger on the streets, taxi ranks, clubs and even in schools. People are homophobic every day and so far nothing has changed. As the LGBTI community, we try
hard to educate people about who we are, what we are and what we do, but to them it is like telling them to hate us more.

If I were to become a leader or a politician, I would focus on hate crimes and finding solutions on how to overcome them. I believe they will not be completely eliminated but that more could be done to have them under control.

If given a chance to do something that will change my life, I would become the first lesbian president and my platform would be to champion equal rights. The true meaning of being young is to live happily, show love to my race, show people that I am more than who I am romantically attracted to and that I am human being who is equally capable to think and bring change to the world. The true meaning of being a woman means I don’t have to be ashamed of who I am and who I have become.


Fifi featuring in Faces and Phases

‘Fifi’ featuring in Faces and Phases


When I saw my picture on the wall I was amazed by the work Zanele Muholi was doing, I mean she chose me coz she saw something in me, and I felt happier than ever.
When my parents saw my picture my mum was like “ngwanaka you definitely a man.” She is now proud of me, am proud of taking that chance when I still got the time, and thanks to Zanele now people know who I am.


L-R:  Meme Motaung, Shaz Mthunzi & Refilwe Pitso @ WAM opening on 29th Jan. 2014

L-R: Meme Motaung, Shaz Mthunzi & Refilwe Pitso @ WAM opening on 29th Jan. 2014



Previous life stories


2014 June 25: I consider myself beautiful not handsome




2014 May 24: The special boy




2014 May 7: I don’t like being identified in terms and definitions




2014 May 18: Behind the beautiful face you see is a lesbian who is torn into a million pieces




2014 May 30: I was a boy who would one day grow up to be a man




2013 Oct. 22: I thought university was for the rich




2013 Oct. 16: I am a beautiful young dyke, a woman lover




2013 Oct. 12: I just feel she deserves much better




2013 Oct. 2: I am a normal transgender woman’




2013 Aug. 22: Am exactly where I’m supposed to be




2013 July 15: The virus has become a silent relative




2013 June 27: Who I Am




2013 March 10:  “I love women and they love me”




2013 February 28: I am not a Victim but a Victor





This entry was posted in 1991 -, 2nd Prince, Ackermans, Articles, Beauty, Black Lesbian, Black lesbian beauty, Black Queer & Gifted, Black Queer Born Frees, Characters, Claiming blackness, Claiming mainstream spaces, Community, Community Mobilizing, Community outreach, Competition, Contestants, Contests, Crea(c)tive senses, Creating awareness, Daveyton, Documentation; Filming; Photography; Community, Documenting realities of the townships, Edited, Family, Family support, Feelings, Female masculinity, Gender naming, Hobbies, Hope, Human Beings, I am not the only one, I can't do it ALONE, I use CANON, I was (T)here, Identity, Lack of Resources, Lack of sponsorship, Lesbian Youth, LGBTI community, Life, Living by example, Loved, Matric, Memories, Moments in herstory, Mr Valentine, Our lives in the picture, Owning our bodies, Pageant, Participants, Participation, Perception, Photo Expressions, Politics of existence, Portrait, Possessed, Power of the Arts, Power of the Voice, Previous life stories, Privilege, Proud lesbian, Proud to be, Queer Beauty Pageants in the townships, Queer Power, Queer visibility, Recognition, recognized, Records and histories, Refilwe in Faces and Phases series, Refilwe Pitso the winner, Safety, Sexuality, Sexuality in South Africa, Shop assistant, Single parent, South Africa, South African Artists, Team Dress Fresh, Textualizing Our Own Lives, Together we can, Togetherness, Tomboy, Visual history, Visual Language, Visual narratives, Visual Power, Visual sense, Visual Voices, We Are You, We Care, We Still Can with/out Resources, We were (t)here, Woman, Women loving women, Women's power, Women's Work, Women; Voices; Writings; Education; Traditions; Struggles; Cultures, Words, Writing is a Right, Young talent, Youth voices, Zanele Muholi. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to 2014 July 26: “I was born this way and I cannot change the skin that I live in”

  1. Ramazan Ngobese says:

    Nice pic mr president

  2. Pingback: 2014 July 26: “I was born this way and I cannot change the skin that I live in” | missgaydaveyton's Blog

  3. Pingback: 2014 Aug. 9: “I am not a lesbian by choice” | inkanyiso.org

  4. Pingback: 2014 Aug. 30: I’m a game changer, leader and activist | inkanyiso.org

  5. Pingback: 2014 Sept. 24: “At times I’d get jealous thinking she was taking my place” | inkanyiso.org

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