Kumba-YASS my Kween or The Limits of The Caucasian Homosexual Perspective
By Dante Ludolf
Emerging from Hothouse at seven in the morning, having been drenched in cum and other effluvia for the past four hours and in need of a pick me up that wasn’t nasally administered, I sauntered over to a hip little health café in Greenpoint and ordered my green juice of choice and sat down at a window seat, looking out over the city and thinking to myself, ‘hmmm, everything is like so amaze’.
Between occasional glances at my iPhone 7 plus, checking up on my bi-annual dividends coming in and whatnot, I realized that life is a) deep and b) hard when you’re gay. So why wasn’t it that hard for me? Or particularly deep, for that matter? (I have quite the proactive gag reflex you see)
There next to me was a cute 30-something WASP-y couple, eating lightly grilled romaine and poached eggs, talking about the fire that engulfed The Others There Over The Hill in Houtbay and cradling twin babes, one suckling the Gwyneth Paltrow-esque mother’s teet, the other sucking on daddy’s Sunday Lacoste golf tee. I was like lime green jelly of them.
As I sat there choking back residual semen and the taste of fresh forest undergrowth courtesy of the conspicuous green juice, I wondered to myself if I was, in their eyes anyway, the equivalent of The Overs There Over The Hill. Not that I was like ethnic or anything, but I was just so not like them, so drastically different and, dare I say it, kind of better. Who wants to be a pristine white-collar golden spoon baby, I said to myself unconvincingly. Who wants to be all that when you could be a beaming, rainbow-waving, sparkling-stud-beacon of alterity. Besides those babies were licking mommy’s almond milk skim off of copper spoons, which are so chic right now I must remember to get some.
Chuffed with this sudden reclamation of my self-worth, I put away my morning Instagram feed situation that was now suddenly displayed on a cracked iPhone 6S (eeuw), fished around in my thrifted denim shorts for a 50 to pay for this fucking juice and made my home sans companion and sans Uber because having a sex life in Cape Town is expensive I’ll have you know.
Making my merry way through the Mother City’s streets, I was greeted by a colourful array of eccentricities, all worthy of a second look or a longer gaze but being a lone gal flouting her wares on the mean streets of Cape Town I hurried along, grasping at absent pearls and smiling ever so politely at any and all who I encountered on my post-cum commute.
So there I was, mumbling kind offerings of 'Yass bbz’ and ‘hey girl work honey’ to every stranger and vagrant as I meandered along a cobbled path here or a rubbish-strewn lane there when I spontaneously decided to take a shortcut through the Company Gardens. I was being whimsical, I thought, adventurous even. A derive by any other name would still smell like piss.
As I walked past the fountain and pond that graced the center of the gardens, looking up at the statue of the old white man covered in pidgeon shit, I saw a haggle of fair-haired folk wearing J-Crew and K-Way and Studio W and Old Khaki all singing kumbaya. It was out of sync, off-key and fabulous. Their haphazard harmony filled my ears and my soul and I caught myself swaying ever so slightly to their song.
A chuckle from beside me snapped me out of it, and I saw an old crone smoking a cigarette that looked more like a hand roll from Active Sushi but I was like chic whatever you do you. She pointed the messy thing at the choiral crowd and gave another raspy cackle.
I paid her no heed, moved closer to the group to see that the props they were waving in so-not-unison were placards. I didn’t bother to read them because my hangover was getting gross and it probably didn’t matter anyway.
The crone’s cackle flared up next to me again, and I was startled by the sudden interruption of the almost-not-quite beautiful kumbaya. Rude.
Having had enough of the outdoors and ready to binge-watch RuPaul’s Drag Race Season Whatever, I finally started taking the going home part of my journey seriously. The crone seemed quite intent on doing the same. As if blown down from Table Mountain on a filthy cloud of banana leaf smoke, the haggard thing followed me as I made my way to my little one bedroom in Oranjezicht.
When I was finally on my bed and logged onto my wifi, trying desperately to make an appreciative Facebook status commending the efforts of the noble herd of people protesting whatever the fuck and singing Kumbaya, I couldn’t for the life of me pin any thoughts to the blank screen before me. You see, all of a sudden I could hardly recall their triumphant tune at all, only the hoarse, dry laugh of the witch bitch who still seemed to levitate outside my open window right above my potted coriander, pointing her cigarette and looking amused.
I gave up, feeling disappointed because I was sure that status would get like 30 likes minimum, and drifted off to midday sleep. Apparently there was going to be another protest thing and like 300 of my friends clicked attending so I’d get the job done one way or another.
Try as I might, my feather down could not drown out the hag’s incessant guffawing (was she crying?), and I had to resort to pure steely determination to sonically outshine her with my mental rendition of Kumba-YASS my kween.
Check my Instagram story to see if it worked.
by Michael Beaumont
It seems the world is focused on identity at the moment and more specifically who people choose to identify with. People are being divided by who, what and how they choose to identify themselves within a specific group. Race, politics, religion, sexuality and culture are some of the more prominent grouping mechanisms in which people settle on in order to identify themselves. I am in no position to judge the way in which you choose to live your life and how you choose to identify yourself, but what I see more and more these days are people being divided by these choices. Black versus White, Democrat versus Republican, Christian versus Muslim, West versus East, gay versus straight, culture versus culture. Every day, if you plug in to what is happening on the news, these seem to be the main stories in South Africa and across the Globe. This is what we are being fed! Basically, identify with the one and appose the other. It is so divisive! It feels constructed and it feels wrong … at least to me.
So what DISKOTEKAH aims to create and allow, is for people to choose, for themselves, to be any of the above mentioned groups, should they wish to do so, but also, to allow themselves to be anything else they could possibly imagine. To break free from the constraints that society boxes you into. For example, I was born, according to some classification on a piece of paper and by someone else, a white male South African, where in my opinion, I was born a human being. At DISKOTEKAH, I can paint myself any colour I choose, I can put on a dress, wear high heels, have pink hair and be told by everyone how amazing I look. People want to come up to me, strike up conversation, they want to hear my fantasy and are no longer concerned about the fact that I, in the day time, look different to them or that I belong to some exterior classification.
Sure this is my experience, but this is why we created DISKOTEKAH! For like-minded people to do the same. I guess the aim is to get people to start thinking about what it means to be nothing more than what we actually all are, human beings. This is where performative identity comes into play and the urgency for it. By allowing people to be weird, creative and inspiring individuals, they are able to break away from the labels and in essence, be what we all are and celebrate the differences amongst ourselves. Unfortunately history has done a fine job of fucking shit up and what I propose is an ideology, but we have to start somewhere and performative identity is a good place to do so. The act of it, is engaging and uncontaminated by the forces of society telling you who you are and what your limitations are. It's going to be hard to undo the damage caused by past notions, that one race is superior, or that one religion is more divine than the other or that marriage is reserved for straight people, but I feel, that through the performative identity, like the practice of drag, people engage with a more experiential level of themselves and in doing so, end up not taking life too seriously. See the humor in life and be a little more accepting and patient with one another.
I guess the conclusion of of what I am trying to get to is that the act of performative identity can be used to allow someone to be so individual that they no longer fit into any specific construct and in doing so, can become so individual that they enter into the greater and more base level of humanity, thereby reducing the separation amongst us, so that in the end, we may all get along.
By Gavin Mikey Collins
In today’s society being an individual can often feel like an act of protest in itself. In addition to this, and particularly in Cape Town, the commercial gay culture has evolved into a violent, hetro-normative space that people have sadly become accustomed to in recent years.
Diskotekah, or DTK, was created as a platform for like-minded creatives to express themselves through various art forms include music, fashion, art and drag. The emphasis of DTK has been to disrupt the status quo and cultivate an alternative nightlife community that embraces creativity & individuality.
Performance has been a large part of the liberation movement of DTK. Drag is an important tool in creating new narratives that are not limited by societies standards.
As the world descends into chaos people need more and more of an escape. This was our intention for DTK. To allow people the chance to take a step back from reality and live, even just for one night, in a fantasy that they play a part in co-creating.
A very short compilation of excerpts from conversations between Rene Sans and Pierre
By Pierre Carl Vermeulen
Rene Sans: We start with the eyebrows, glue them down with purple or green pritt. Let dry. Block them out with a thick smooth layer of correction pallet foundation or something. Powder; and let dry…-ish. Continue. Three hours later, I’m ready for my close-up. O’kaaay!
Pierre: ‘You are born naked and the rest is drag’, RuPaul famously stated. We adorn and drape ourselves each day, everyone dresses up! It’s just the amount and intensity of adornment and drapery that differs. He wears pink shorts and stripy shirts, she wears flowy silk blouses and blue bows, some wear jewellery, some don’t, its all the same really. Just the intensity that differs. It doesn’t mean anything more than …
Rene Sans: Oh! it’s just clothes. You were playing dress-up since you were a baby.
Pierre: Since about 5-ish, or that’s as far as I remember. I had a large wooden old suitcase filled with all my mother’s fancy dress clothes. I would change costumes until the last hour. My sister had these plastic toy-heels. We’d call them ‘klak-klak-skoene’ as they made a clack-clack-clack noise as you walked. Played a lot with Moms heels too! Never touched Dads shoes.
Rene Sans: Heels, just can't without them...sometimes. They put your ass on the shelf above, but also guarantee the achiest, nagging feet ever! Expensive or cheap, it does not matter, the pain announces itself sometimes before I’m out the door. My pinkie toe starts banging on the side of the heel, the balls of my feet liquify until you get to the point of beyond-pain. This is when your mind shuts the pain away. Tucking throbs come and go - it keeps you alert. Tucking is training, you need to train the cherries to stay put and hold their breath. Having one or both cherries pop in mid performance is a ball buster. Literally. Drag has its dangers.
Pierre: Make no mistake, its all part of the package. It is the package of not-taking-life-too-seriously. Bad things happen when we take life too seriously. One of the many things I have learned from drag and Rene is being less serious and the constant changeability of life. Especially living on an experiential level and not just intellectualizing stuff. You can talk yourself blue about being open to change and being less serious, but only when you actually let the exterior guard down and experience the less seriousness do you understand how this makes you feel.
Rene Sans: And how does that make you feel?
Pierre: Close to omnipotence. Without any selfish traits. I mean, I’m a man in a dress with layers of make-up, painted for the gods, painted for the illusion. However, the illusion is not purely superficial. The illusion hands my convention-clinging ego the pink slip and to Rene, carte blanche for complete self expression.
Rene Sans: It’s always a special moment, seeing guys in drag for the first time, especially heterosexuals. They immediately start performing for themselves at first glance in the mirror. Your identity is such a multi layered cake with all the do’s and don’ts you or society constructed and neatly contained in a tin. Drag lifts the lid and opens a platform for you to by-pass your/their ‘rules’, which, essentially are constraints. That’s what I’ve done and keep doing for Pierre.
Pierre: I knew most of this before I did drag. This is not new theory at all, these concepts have been around for a long time. Drag has been around forever and has existed in many forms, it just seems like present life is much more inviting. However, I could talk about it, discuss it, find reason in it, but only when I experienced it, could I feel what the queens were talking about.
Rene Sans: Exactly. It’s so entertaining and a big breath of fresh air to dress up on the other side of the spectrum. Going to the core - drag mocks identity, the intention is to have fun and share a laugh. It shows that shape shifting is possible with a little make-up, hip pads, breastplates, heels, gowns, wigs, nails, some bling, etc. Immediately this appearance-convention is snapped in half. A too serious life guarantees aches, a life based on love for yourself and for everyone else soothes. When life gives you clothes, make-up and conventions - you do drag. Celebrate life on the experiential level. O’kaaay!