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Photography by Paige Furness

Same Sex Saturdays are for everybody

For the last 2 years, Same Sex Saturdays has been a home for Durban’s mostly black, and mostly gay youth. I say “mostly” because the event’s creator Andiswa Dlamini is set on making the space open to everyone, whilst catering to people like her. “I was sitting at Amsterdam one day and I realised that gay people, transgender people, lesbians, bisexuals, LGBTI community walk into straight places all the time, unknowingly. We know it’s straight, however the owner didn’t know that that was the target market. I wanted to create something that straight people or heterosexual people can walk into and know that it’s homosexual first, and feel comfortable after.  For me, I just wanted to create an environment that embodies who I am. I don’t only have gay friends. I have plenty of straight friends and I wanted to create an environment where they’re like ‘This is cool'”.

That struck me as strange – to create a queer space but to also want to include us heterosexuals. On the whole, we’ve been abusive, murderous monsters to people who don’t fit into our narrow view of the world, so it seems like staying away from us would probably be best. But that’s why Andy wants to extend the olive branch, to try and alleviate some of the pain inflicted on the queer community because of straight people’s fears. “There’s so much happening to homosexuals via heterosexual people. And the only way to change that, I feel, is to educate and to see that we have fun the same way. We speak the same way. We drink the same way. We like the same things. We do the same things. We dance the same. We listen to music the same. The DJs are the same. It’s ok, you know? It’s an education.” Andy continues, “I started it for different reasons, I love people, and it still essentially is about the people, and just creating something that I feel is lacking within Durban city. Something that I’m comfortable to go to. I feel like we also need to create conversations with conceptual events and not just have a party. It’s not about that, it’s about people, difference, normalising it, it’s fine.”

It sucks that we still have to “normalise it” in 2017, but a lot of things suck about 2017 and I admire Andy for actively making that effort to make the world suck less. Same Sex Saturdays is one of the things that doesn’t suck about 2017. The lineups are always carefully curated for maximum time on the dancefloor. The All Black Edition featured a mix of djs and live acts from Durban, Joburg, Cape Town and Mpumalanga. We’re talking gospel, we’re talking gqom, we’re talking hip-hop, R&B, soul, kwaito, trap…A magnificent mix of South African favourites and international hits had the dancefloor going as soon as the sun went down.

Putting the lineups together is a collaborative effort as Andy explains, “I sit there with a lot of friends, because I’ve got a lot of DJ friends, and we sit there and we discuss and go ‘Ok, this is what fits at this time.’ This is the All Black Edition, so this is different. The live element of it had to play more and the DJs had to pump up a bit more.” Durban’s own choice track selectas, Raw Kidd, Sosha. SoKool and Thandaman Jones, certainly did get all Joe Budden and pumped it up, but iZiqhaza provided the true highlight of the night where a woman in the audience joined them on stage and danced, was handed the mic, and belted out the song playing like a pro. The unexpected surprise had the crowd cheering and the rest of the set saw everyone letting go and getting down.

“I’m a city lesbian, I don’t know what that means but I am a city lesbian,” Andy jokingly says towards the end of our conversation. “I was raised in a semi-suburb, so I try to understand a lot of cultures and backgrounds.” It’s because of this understanding, of herself and others, that she can create such a nuanced space. A space where Dragon Ball Z visuals play behind a gospel band, whilst boys get down with boys and girls get down with girls, and boys get down with girls, and 2 girls get down with 1 boy, or 3… You get the drift, it’s totally up to you to do what you want to do, and that’s what makes Same Sex Saturdays so fucking cool.

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