The organisers of Cape Town’s controversial Black Queer Social event are bringing the concept to Johannesburg.
The first event, which successfully took place on 30 April, was criticised by predominately white members of the city’s LGBT community for being racist and exclusionary because it was only open to people of colour.
The ensuing debate and comments, both negative and positive, initiated important and necessary conversations about how race intersects with sexuality and gender identity, especially in South Africa.
Now, it’s been announced that a Black Queer Social will be held in Johannesburg, on Saturday 25 June.
The event aims to “unite queer poc [people of colour] in Johannesburg and to have conversations with them about how it feels to be black and queer in Johannesburg, South Africa…” It also seeks to offer a “safe space for queer poc to advise each other and to network”.
The Jozi outing will feature “rants, conversations, photo shoots, ratchetry, raising black LGBT awareness, live music, and poetry”.
OBie Mavuso, filmmaker, musician and the founder of Queers on Smash, which organises the groundbreaking events, recently wrote to Mambaonline about her motivation for creating the Black Queer Socials:
“I got the idea to host the event because I have been aware of how people of colour are treated in this city [Cape Town] and how we never really understand our power and that is in us moving as one, talking as one and advising each other positively.
“This for me is a labour of love and I have days where I lie in bed and I think about how much of a laborious task this is and how some energies have been stifling me (like the comments from your last feature on the event), but I have learnt to put all negative things aside because there is nothing negative about creating a space where people of colour can exist and share experiences and squash any negative energies.
“This is a space aimed at healing us as a people, and a space for us to learn that without collective support, we will always be complaining. It’s very important that we see how important such spaces are because they don’t seek to oppress non-black people but they are formed to enlighten people who have been oppressed for too long, people who go through so much, people who have so much potential.
“I am also hoping to have black queer therapists, financial advisors, designers, musicians and entrepreneurs and have conversations with them. Hopefully this triggers pro-active networking and also enables us to stop the whole notion of even othering ourselves as queer people.
“This event is called ‘The Black Queer Social’ but it is mostly aimed at people of colour, your sexual orientation does not really matter, we move as one, that’s the aim,” said Mavuso.
The first Johannesburg Black Queer Social will take place on Saturday 25 June from 2pm till 10pm. Tickets are R85 (including booking fee) via Quicket.
Below is a video in which one of the Cape Town participants talks about being black and queer. The second video depicts some of the highlights of the 30 April social.