Written by Boipelo Bokaba
My sibling and I have enjoyed many epic nights, but it had been some time since we had each other to ourselves. We make it a habit to intentionally have quality sibling time. I invited her and a few friends out for a wine tasting shindig in Sandton and she reminded me that we haven’t had our sibling date in a while, so we decided to make it a date for two.
The day started off with some boots shopping for her because I’m an impulsive buyer and we made our way to the Pretoria Gautrain Station. A few minutes after arriving at the venue I get a text from Co-Editor Katlego, asking if I’m down to cover an event starting in a few hours which happens to be just a 20 minutes away from where we were. It was a Saturday afternoon and we didn’t really have plans for the night so I accepted the invitation, booked an AirBnB for the night, tasted a few more proudly South African wines then headed out to our home for the night to freshen up and drop off our bags. By bags I mean the bottle of sparkling wine I couldn’t resist buying for my date. We hopped into an Uber and headed out to the streets of Gomora.
On arrival we were already assured of safety by the high volume of security at the entrance, around the parking and drop off zone. A few seconds to sort out our tickets and we were in, with a complementary bottle of Jägermeister and a branded Jäger Balaclava. You could feel the atmospheric change from as soon as you entered the space. Picture a cocktail of all the international fashion weeks with a razzle of the Grammys, a splash of the Tony’s and a drizzle of underground high society soiree with allies of the LGBQTIA+ community on the guest list. That’s exactly what Groove Biennale- the final Night Embassy Joburg residency by Jägermeister Night 2: Ante Kiki was all about.
Produced by Thelma Ndebele AKA DORMANTYOUTH, a non-binary Master of Architecture and DJ who is passionate about music as a unique way to describe a place and as a record of where people have lived. As DORMANTYOUTH, they use music to change how the body interacts with spaces. This shows how sound can change the relationship between architecture and art. The Ante Experience is a play on words that combines the alt/anti style with the word “ante,” which in architecture means a room or space before a main hall. During each event, snapshots of how the party interacts will be taken and shown again as hologram projections built into the main pavilion structure.
Set in the heart of Alex at Megalo Lifestyle, the three night event was a cultural, fashion and architectural movement.
We started off the night with shots of below zero degrees Jägermeister and headed to the dance floor where Phatstoki was heating up the dance floor right after Lotion, and Skits had set the tone for the night. Just as we settled in after a few signature Jägermeister cocktails, LeloWhatsGood and DORMANTYOUTH joined the stage to take the vibe to a whole new level. We had found a spot right next to the speaker, and let’s just say LeloWhatsGood should be a charged with a case of blowing up one of the windows, literally shifting some of my organs and having me regret wearing a warm outfit. Original Hunty MC’d the Vogue Nights Jozi Ballroom battle session starting off with a few house rules around consent, respecting each other’s pronouns and the layout of the battle stage.
There were two categories to compete in, first was KI category – Runway with a twist, open to all and secondly KI category – Vogue Femme with a twist also open to all. With the base thick in our lungs and everyone meshed together to create the Runway-battle ground. You could feel the intense competitive energy. One by one the contestants took centre stage and owned the moment while the judges dished out their verdicts. The aim was to get 10s from all 4 judges; after all there was a cash prize on the line.
The contestants did not come to play; they personified the essence of taking up space. They left their souls on that battle ground. Every round brought a higher intensity, more swagger and heat (Vogue dance moves). Just like any battle ground, only one individual could take go home with the championship bragging rights, but they were all winners really. Having the courage to take centre stage is a victory. Showing up to ensure that there is representation for humans like you definitely deserves 10’s! After the heated battle we got down to the sounds of Fake Love, Pabi Cooper and Gyre sealed the night off.
Personally, the highlight of the night was definitely the educational element of the event. From the architectural elements of the venue like having gender neutral restrooms, the couch and bean bag chill area which was elevated and secluded from the rest of the venue, allowing you to choose your preferred vibe. The messaging that emphasized the importance of respecting each other, be it our boundaries or our pronouns and most importantly the lesson of self-love, authenticity, confidence and lastly the spirit of community and allyship. A round of applaud to everyone who contributed to constructing this amazing experience.