My first encounter with drag was seeing my cousin in it. It was fab to say the least and there I was like “Hello gurl what have you done to my cuz? I liked it and in the blink of an eye I was on stage, in drag, hosting Jacaranda Queen back in Zimbabwe. On the very drag, myself (Heather Mag) and Chester (Alyson), now the Director of GALZ performed a number by Celine Dione and Barbara Streisand “Tell him.” Did I tell you my drag surname “Mag” was short for my then boyfriend’s surname? Hosting Jacaranda Queen in drag was epic and an honour as I got to learn and master the art of drag.
Drag art is usually associated with sexual orientation but it’s not. It’s an art that demands precision and creativity and by no means related to who you sleep with. It’s just fabulous art. The history of drag drags way back to 1870 when the first recorded use of drag in reference was to actors dressed in women’s clothing. For much of history, drag queens were men, but with the evolution of time, cisgender and trans women, as well as non-binary people also perform as drag queens.
Beautiful as it might sound on the outside, drag queens also suffer stigma and discrimination from society. Their fate goes undocumented and unrecorded and nowhere is safe for them. most of the cases if reported go unfollowed. The discrimination is not from the outside only, it is within the queer community as well. Some hate because of ignorance and some just because they don’t understand the art behind drag. Just like any other minority group, nowhere is safe for them
When we talk drag, the first name that rings in the international ears is that of RuPaul Charles. In South Africa there are also international legends who are immaculate and pros in this art. Enter Manilla von Teez. South Africa was also left tongues hanging when Sivanah (Siv Ngezi) entered the scene. This runway is burning!
Though this artform was started by queer men, some women have been inspired to try it out. As I mentioned before, drag is high art and it demands a true renaissance artist to execute such. In this issue we feature such diligent artists. Even though we couldn’t gather all the queens in one room, it is our hope that the ones we managed to dial up inspire and educate you about their unique journeys. Support them, tip them and love them. Drag Queens are a national treasure.
Start your engines………….. I have a bus to catch.