Review by Dumisani Dube
Images by Phumezo Bafo
Saturday the 30th of April is when the city got rocked. Maboneng came to a standstill as Queers from all over gathered their strength, pulled out their flavored smoke vapors and draped themselves in colorfully and even rainbow flags were incorporated in our outfits. We all gathered at Arts on Main for the Rock the City LGBTI Festival organized by Tshepi and 6Band Events. The weather allowed. It was a sunny but cool day which gave all a breeze to exercise their creativity in clothing, the aim was not to sweat.
The atmosphere greeted you as you entered the gate, the grounds were welcoming, it was like they were saying “Welcome home my queer child.” Indeed, we were home. The smell of freshly baked pizza by Mwari Pizza was Godly, it was one of the characteristics that made the welcome song. Love me some pizza.
For old age queers like me going into the venue was a mission, those steps made you think twice before you gulped on the tequila. Once up there, life was different, the environment gave you hope that you can still attack the steps without let nor hindrance. The music took you from fear of the steps, to hoping you will conquer the steps and finally to forgetting about the steps at all.
There were stalls for everyone, from rainbow items lovers, to candle lovers and all the way to gin lovers. At very affordable prices that I nearly bought shoes but remembered I needed gin more. I am not an alcoholic I just love Gin and Tonic. I drank a few ciders though but for the fact that I had to buy 6 at a time didn’t sit well with me and the company I had, we love exploring our drinks and are against being held hostage to one flavour, especially if its Savannah, hahahahaha. It cannot be me.
The dancefloor got wet, literally wet as DJs PH and Ms Party threw in numbers that made you shake what you mama gave you, while you spill the contents of your glass, it was worth it. The grounds got wet and slippery, not one fell. Balance was the order of the night.
On the stage I spotted a young man aged 13 years, the guy is talented. His name is Thee Phenomenon. He performed his new song called “Life” which was inspired by the unfortunate incident of poisoning. According to his mum who is also her manager Phenomenon writes his own lyrics, makes his own beats and we witnessed him perform his art. A legend in the making.
Sexy Simphiwe Ngema whom you will all remember as Thuli in Muvhango came on stage and made us dance to her beats like we had borrowed legs. We got down and forgot our troublesome backs. No man, I would like to party like that all year.
Mzansi gay choir took us on a journey that we will not forget. Just what the crowd need to swing their hips, an excuse to misbehave on the dance floor. It was what my bone doctor ordered.
Then came Langa Mavuso with his angelic voice. I tell you when he opened his mouth to sing everyone was mesmerized. Everybody sang along. Some cried and some just marveled and their faces were written “Look at God.” In Langa I saw God in his talent I don’t want to lie. He brought it home by tying a rainbow flag on the mic stand and later to cover his face with it when he hit the last notes and said goodbye to his audience.
In a nutshell the festival was a great success, very well attended and organized. Besides electricity going on and off we soldiered on with the help of our ever so cool MCs. I couldn’t have been anywhere better. However, there is still work to be done so that can be able to coexist as one community.