Chante Herries (2nd Runner Up), Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie (Miss Drag South Africa 2019), Laylah Zokufa Khan (1st Runner Up) Pic: Mkhululi Thobela
Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie from the Western Cape has convincingly taken the 2019 Miss Drag South Africa title. Ka-Fassie wowed the judges and the audience at a crowning event at the State Theatre in Pretoria on Friday.
Identifying as genderqueer, Ka-Fassie is a post-graduate student in Education at Stellenbosch University. They competed against eight other contestants from around South Africa for the prestigious title, which prides itself as promoting “drag with a purpose.”
In addition to Ka-Fassie, the top 5 included Chante Herries (Parkwood, Western Cape), Laylah Zokufa-Khan (Boland, Western Cape), Kem Blank (Welkom, Free State) and Emogen Moore (Mitchell’s Plain, Western Cape).
Ka-Fassie (who is a former Miss Gay Western Cape) not only stunned with their elegant presentation on stage but also with their insight into the issues facing the LGBTQ+ community.
They were asked by judge Coenie Kukkuk, the well known Pretoria attorney, what their advice would be to a member of the LGBTQ community who lives in a country in which they face the death penalty.
“Each and every country has their own set of struggles,” replied Ka-Fassie. “My advice would be, ‘be yourself in those small spaces where you can be yourself. But, also… keep on challenging the normative, keep on challenging the systems…”
They concluded by asserting: “It is better to die for a purpose than to live for nothing.”
Speaking to MambaOnline after returning to the Cape, Ka-Fassie said they are still processing the win. “The journey towards Miss Drag South Africa has been challenging and exciting at the same time. To finally reap the fruits of my hard work is heartwarming and surreal at the same time.”
As part of the pageant, each of the finalists had to present a ‘drag with a purpose’ project or campaign. These ranged from subjects such as mental health, body positivism and drug addiction to transgender health.
Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie (Pic: MambaOnline.com)
Ka-Fassie explained they would use their reign to continue their project which focused “on the struggles of black queer, gender non-conforming and trans bodies who navigate their daily lives in the townships.”
“It’s about shedding light on intersectional struggles and exposing the high climate of discrimination and harassment these bodies face on a daily basis. There are still untold stories out there,” they said.
Ka-Fassie added that Miss Drag South Africa “gives a platform for each finalist to find their voice, to find their purpose and augment the power in that purpose.”
The new queen walked away with a prize package of over R100 000, including R30 000 in cash and a one-week all-expenses-paid holiday to Hong Kong.
Enigma Von Hamburg, pageant director, owner and founder of Miss Drag South Africa, lauded the winner. “Belinda is indeed the right person for the job. Her contribution to our projects about ‘drag with a purpose’ and her commitment to making a positive change in our communities is extremely inspiring and well received.”
Von Hamburg, who described the event as “a travelling pageant,” also announced that Miss Drag South Africa 2020 will take place in Durban.