Exploring Representations of Black Queer Identity in Post-94 South Africa

Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Gender Studies and Sexuality

Year: 2022



Exploring Representations of Black Queer Identity in Post-94 South Africa

Melusi Mntungwa



Although their experience is juxtaposed against a backdrop of subjugation, marginalisation and erasure, black queer individuals in South Africa are working to dismantle this trope of victimhood by affirming their blackness, identity and queerness. The musical duo FAKA represents such a form of resistance through their expressions of identity and music. This has led to them occupying a prominent place in the black queer imaginary. This article explores how FAKA represents a visible and fluid expression of black queer identity in the post-1994 South African imaginary. this article explores how they have curated their image and social media presence to highlight their self-expression while increasing the visibility of black queer identities. It further interrogates how these visual expressions subvert notions of normative black masculinities and deconstruct gender and sexual norms in pursuit of historically African ideals of gendered fluidity. Employing a photo-narrative methodology and analysis of select images of FAKA. The analysis reveals that through their social media presence FAKA has developed a useable space and digital archive of South African black queerness. Through their expression, they ‘queer’ normative ideals of black masculinity by presenting a fluid perceptive on sexuality and gender. This is not clear. A perspective that asserts their agency to exist fluidly across the binaries of femininity and masculinity in order to present a black queer identity that denounces gendered binaries. For that reason, black queer identity in South Africa can circumvent the binaries of gender and sexuality and present more fluid and evolving notions of identity.

keywords: Black Queer Identity, FAKA, Gender Fluidity, Othered Masculinities, Visibility.