Six drag queens and one photographer took to the streets of the Cape township in a campaign to embrace cultural traditions and fight discrimination with dignity.
Six drag queens and one photographer took to the streets of the Cape township in a campaign to embrace cultural traditions and fight discrimination with dignity
The Khayelitsha shoot, as much performance as visual art, was risky given the harassment and violence often directed at queer people.
Ka-Fassie comes from a traditional Xhosa family and went through the
“In one shot, I wore a white African dress made from a blanket, often worn by males in our culture, and African jewellery worn by women.”
“I first asked them to come already made-up, not realising that for safety no one travels in drag,” she says. “But I had a small bakkie that served as the dressing and makeup room. Wonderful things unfolded, beyond what we could imagine. I felt privileged to be allowed into their world.”
“Most people loved what we were doing, though some were throwing comments like we were going to hell and were ruining the male culture. I asked: ‘What male culture? The raping of women, the killing of women?’ I don’t take in negative comments.”
“We are reclaiming the townships, the taxi ranks, the churches, the health facilities, to make them safer and healthier.”
When the bullying for being short, skinny, “gay and a nerd” got too much for her, she retaliated by “acting like a bitch”.
“I became one of the cool kids. I was the dancer at every rugby match, the pom-pom girl.”
Phika describes her mother, Mandisa, as her rock. Her traditional outfit is a tribute to her mother.
“If gays were criticised, then my parents would say, ‘Don’t talk like that,’ ” says the trans woman from Lingelihle, in Malmesbury. “When I was doing grade 12 in Philippi, people were increasingly caring to me.”
Grade 12 student Liyana Arianna Madikizela was thrilled when Ka-Fassie, her role model, asked her to participate.
“I have grown up in a cruel world, very discriminatory,” she says. “I have had to navigate all my life. Every time I take a step out of the door of my home, I will be called names. I have to think which way to go to school, to the shops, to town.Read more: Times LIVE
That’s demeaning to women. Never seen females imitating Male timelive
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