Back to the Future: MCQP returns for a blast from the past


South Africa’s premier costume and LGBTQIA+ celebration, the Mother City Queer Project (MCQP), is set to rise from its glittery ashes.

After three long years, the much-anticipated annual extravaganza will be welcoming party people back home on 16 December 2023 at Cape Town’s Cabo Beach Club.

Here, say the organisers, past, present, and future will collide under this year’s ‘Back to the Future’ theme.

For over two decades, MCQP attracted crowds from far and wide, whisking them on whimsical journeys from the Locker Room (1994) and Secret Garden (1995) to the Kitch Kitchen (2003), Hollywood (2012), and even The Circus (2007), with a Farm Fresh (2015) stop along the way.

Now, under the 2023 theme, fans of previous parties and those who have yet to experience the magic of MCQP will come together for a time-travelling experience where they can relive the nostalgia of the past, revel in the present, and explore the future of this vital part of South Africa’s pink legacy.

A legacy worth celebrating

The very first MCQP celebration was catalysed by the fall of apartheid and the groundbreaking inclusion of LGBTQIA+ rights in the new democratic South Africa’s Constitution.

As the event’s creators, Andre Vorster and Andrew Putter put it, this blew off the closet door – and out came Africa’s pent-up Queer creative energy which needed a platform on which to express itself.

Now, 29 years later, the iconic event has a new home with the Southern Live events team – a collective of individuals with a combined 50-plus years of experience in curating local and international events that have drawn hundreds of thousands of participants.

They say that MCQP 2023 will reignite its original creative energy that the community knows and loves with beats to keep the dancefloors pumping and world-class entertainment.

The ‘Back to the Future’ theme gives partygoers the freedom to flaunt their own interpretation, whether you go full steam ahead with a Victorian steampunk ensemble, get groovy with a disco getup, or go boldly into the future with the cyberpunk aesthetic. The possibilities are as endless as time itself.

A party with a purpose

But more than just a party, MCQP aims to be a kaleidoscope of creativity; a fusion of fashion, art and music; a tribute to the past and a toast to the future. It’s also a celebration of community and, with it, a chance to give back to those in need.

This year’s party with a purpose takes the form of a donation drive for Passop, a community-based, non-profit organisation devoted to African LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers, refugees, and immigrants.

To be transported ‘Back to the Future’, assemble your time-travelling crew and get your tickets at Howler.

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