Nakhane: ‘Why do they care so much?’ - The Mail & Guardian

The artist Nakhane is fatigued by the idea that lifestyle choices are ‘other people’s business’

2021-10-19 02:06:00 PM

Nakhane: ‘Why do they care so much?’ - The artist Nakhane is fatigued by the idea that lifestyle choices are ‘other people’s business’

The artist Nakhane is fatigued by the idea that lifestyle choices are ‘other people’s business’

, playwright, musician and all-round maverick of the arts, is arguably one of the biggest contributors to our understanding of the eclectic world around us. They’ve been lauded by Elton John and Madonna, and with an array of offerings in fields including film and literature, they are becoming one of the titans informing South Africa’s cultural tastes.

The artist says being queer in South Africa offers legal protection, but lived experiences can be brutal and frightening.How would you describe yourself?Well, this is a hard one. I’ve always understood that identity is an ever-changing spectrum, but in that there is still a centre, a core that is identifiable as “you”. In its simplest form: I’m Nakhane, a Xhosa, non-binary, pansexual, artist.

I wish we lived in a world that didn’t need all this labelling, but unfortunately we have seen that if people don’t hold on to their identities then they are erased. The labels also give us community, and the understanding that we are not alone.How would you describe your work? headtopics.com

The work of Patrick Shai: A pleasurable pleasure to experience

My work is an exploration of memory, sexuality, race, pain. Of course, it’s not only that. Sometimes it spreads out, at other times it shrinks.When I really have to think about it, at its simplest I would say my work is a glorification of historically vilified people. They take centre stage, their stories are told, they are allowed to be sad, to not be strong, to be vulnerable; but at the same time, be powerful too.

Is there an intersection between your work and your sexuality?Yes and no. Yes, because I write stories that reflect characters that are not necessarily in the mainstream. From a selfish point of view, I write characters that look like me and my friends, and my family. These are people that have been deemed not worthy of art.

No, because the work itself doesn’t have an identity. It’s not “queer music” or “queer literature”. I find that ghettoising.Intersection: On one level, Nakhane writes characters that are not in the mainstream, but that look like themselves, their friends and their family.

City of Johannesburg elects new section 79 committee chairs: Mayor Mpho Phalatse

When it comes to engaging your work, what do you want people to take away?I have no control over what people will take away from the work. I remember when I was in school our drama teacher always said that once you have put the work out there, then it’s not yours anymore. It’s one thing to hear that from a teacher and it’s another to actually give away something you’ve been working on for years. The audience must have the right to take whatever they want from the work.  headtopics.com

The only time I’ve intervened was when there was a problematic misunderstanding. For example, there were some people who thought that my song,, was about interracial relationships or sex. Of course there’s nothing wrong with interracial relationships or sex, but there is something wrong with thinking that they are more elevated than intraracial relationships or sex. So I stepped in.

What are your thoughts about the more controversial aspects of your work?I don’t understand what is so controversial about my work. I’ve never made something and thought, “Ooh, this is going to be so controversial.” So on some level, I’m always surprised when it’s labelled as that.

Police investigating last week's break-in at Labour Department office in Pretoria

“I also wanted to problematise writing about sex for myself,” Nakhane on writing for the anthologies Touch and ExhaleHow does work such as yours and other queer folx play a role in adding to a greater cultural narrative?Well, it always has. Queer people have informed so much of what we take for granted in culture. It’s just that those people were either unable to be themselves or there was some straight person who appropriated that work. How is culture going to be rich, complex, varied, et cetera, if it’s just from one type of person?

How was it writing about sex (for the booksExhaleTouch)?I loved it because I got to explore different strains of writing: fiction and nonfiction. In this exploration I also got to play with the intersection between these two forms of writing. Where does one end, and the other begin? It was really fun blurring those lines. Hiding autobiography behind the mask of character in fiction; and then magnifying imagination by using a small level of evasion and obfuscation in nonfiction. I also wanted to problematise writing about sex for myself. What did I want to read? What was it that I was ashamed of, and was I willing to commit that to paper? headtopics.com

What do you feel about how queerness, in Africa and on the continent, is held within the artistic realm?This is complicated. On one hand you have legislation, and on the other you have the so-called real world. In some countries the law is brutal towards queer people, but then in the “real world” there is an unspoken … I don’t want to say “acceptance”, because that should be total and unconditional, but an understanding that queer people exist. And then you have a country like South Africa, where the laws are incredible, but the “real world” is a much more complicated and often brutal experience.

I’m angry that our existence has to be a negotiation. I’m angry that what we do with our lives is seen as something that should be other people’s business. We’re not forcing them to be queer. Why do they care so much?What are you working on?My second novel, a miniseries, a short film. I’m awaiting the confirmation of when my album will be released. And I’m also working on a separate collaborative music project.

Are you fucking fabulous?There are times when I want to be, and there are other times that it just feels superfluous.Subscribe for R500/yearThanks for enjoying theMail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Read more: Mail & Guardian »

PODCAST | Dear men and white people: here’s how to be a better anti-patriarchy and anti-racism ally

Sue de Groot discusses the concepts of ubuntu, racism and patriarchy and their dynamics among South Africans Read more >>

Wil sy in die blomme gaan kak.?

Why a postgraduate degree is the way to go - The Mail & GuardianSPONSORED: Is lifelong learning the catalyst to a successful career? Lifelong learning may be the approach graduates need to take to be able to excel in an automated world. MadeForMore MandelaUniPostgrad MyMandela MandelaUni NMU Read more: MandelaUni I wish I contacted earlier LindaStouffes this year I'm sharing this to encourage every beginner and Bitcoin lover to get in touch with her she is very legit and God fearing person LindaStouffes MandelaUni Appreciation they say is an application for more. If I fall to acknowledge you Michael_Jeff_ it will shows how ungrateful I am. i am really grateful to a man who God has used in blessing me and my family in general, guaranteed,trade with him now and thank me later

South Africa’s Local Government Elections: What is the youth saying?SPONSORED: The M&G's ronderby speaks to the youth at GoodGovernanceA about their expectations for this year's local government elections. Webinar on 21 October 2021 from 15h00 to 17h00 SAST and be a part of this important conversation. Join: ronderby GoodGovernanceA Great expectations, same shenanigans. ronderby GoodGovernanceA People who give up are the people who lose in life, my first experience happens to be a failure but i never gave up cause I knew it was going to work out for me trying continuously, fortunately I'm smiling ☺ today getting involved with lethica10 ronderby GoodGovernanceA Be among success partakers And stop wishing to be successful, tyron_robert7 has been good in all trading effort Quick withdrawal without paying additional money or hidden fee At least everyone needs someone who can make a successful trade Send her a Dm and start up trading

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell dies aged 84 - The Mail & GuardianFormer US secretary of state Colin Powell dies aged 84 - The 84-year-old died as a result of complications from Covid-19 He had Multiple Myeloma and Parkinson's. Don't play into the hands of the vaccine denyers People who give up are the people who lose in life, my first experience happens to be a failure but i never gave up cause I knew it was going to work out for me trying continuously, fortunately I'm smiling ☺ today getting involved with lethica10 Be among success partakers And stop wishing to be successful, tyron_robert7 has been good in all trading effort Quick withdrawal without paying additional money or hidden fee At least everyone needs someone who can make a successful trade Send her a Dm and start up trading

Kunming Declaration on biodiversity: A show of political will that lacks targets - The Mail & GuardianKunming Declaration on biodiversity: A show of political will that lacks targets - More than 100 countries pledged to better protect nature at UN biodiversity talks last week

Deputy president Mabuza begs Tshwane voters: Don’t abandon the ANC’ - The Mail & GuardianDeputy president Mabuza begs Tshwane voters: Don’t abandon the ANC’ - Angry Atteridgeville residents hurl insults at ‘dysfunctional’ ANC full of ‘corrupt individuals’ as Mabuza fails to placate them with party T-shirts and doeks

Creating leaders with ethical, moral and values-based leadership - The Mail & GuardianSPONSORED:The 7th Archbishop Thabo Makgoba Trust annual lecture on values-based leadership. The lecture hosted by RhodesBusiness provided a platform to reflect on leadership challenges and possible solutions in society. Learn more: RhodesBusiness I wish I contacted earlier LindaStouffes this year I'm sharing this to encourage every beginner and Bitcoin lover to get in touch with her she is very legit and God fearing person LindaStouffes RhodesBusiness Investing today will save you the stress of financial crisis tomorrow.. Live the kind of life you want today by investing and trading Bitcoin. Trade with a professional trader and start making good profits today. Lisahawthorrne for transparency and trust. RhodesBusiness I received my withdrawal successfully. I must say being an investor with this platform, is one of the greatest thing i have ever happened to me. I recommend everyone to this lucrative investment company Bowers0Caroline