this is queer south africa
FAKA and friends celebrate identity and queer spaces in South African club culture.
Photography Daniel Walton
This article originally appeared in i-D's The Superstar Issue, no. 354, Winter 2018
Johannesburg duo Fela Gucci and Desire Marea are better known as queer art collective FAKA. The brilliant best friends have been busy subverting the cis-hetero gaze since they met and started performing together eight years ago, leading a cultural movement for positive, progressive change in South Africa through their art. They produce experimental electronic music inspired by the raw house-like genre known as gqom, and dance to it far better than you ever could, all the while redefining what it is to be queer and African.
Captured here by 19-year-old Cape Town photographer Daniel Walton, FAKA and their chosen family unit of creatives get ready for a big night out at Zer021, a culturally important club in Cape Town’s district six. “Zer021 is a gay club that has been the home for many drag queen performers and a space for young and disenfranchised queer black and brown bodies,” explains local filmmaker Jabu Nadia Newman, who shot FAKA’s new music video Queenie with collaborator Luvuyo Equiano Nyawose at the venue. “We’re paying homage to the queer, people of colour friendly club spaces that inspire us, drive culture froward and act as a sanctuary for individuals who are discovering themselves.” In Cape Town there are limited LGBTQ spaces, and, as Jabu and Luvuyo explain, “those that do exists are mostly white and inaccessible for most queer people of colour.”
This is exactly why FAKA started their own club night, Cunty Power, which they hold cross-country at Zer021 as well as their local Johannesburg club, King Kong. “We’re creating something that is more inclusive, something that encompasses the full spectrum of being queer, black, femme and African,” they told Mykki Blanco in i-D’s Matt Lambert-directed Out of This World documentary in 2017. Photographer Daniel Walton credits such initiatives as being the best thing about South Africa, and points out the importance of remembering that: “You have a whole family waiting for you – you just need to bring yourself to the party.”
Photography Daniel Walton
Styling and costume design Quaid “Queezy” Heneke and Sarah Hugo-Hamman. Hair and make up Marchay Linderoth and Andrea Kloppers. Models FAKA (Desire Marea and Fela Gucci). Angel-Ho. K$. Queezy. Githan Coopoo. Glow Mami. Thandi Gula. Nodiggity (Nickita Maesela and Jordan van der Westhuizen). Mziyanda Malgas. Shaheed Martin. Luke Diva.