Photography by
Photography by Buyani Ma Afrika

The GLO’WUP: the intricacies of being a transgender woman in South Africa

The harmonies of SZA’s ‘Love Galore’ usher us into the life of Glow Mamiii. The close frame of each video enhance the intimate space that Glow is inviting us into and in every episode we experience the intricacies of the life of a transgender woman in South Africa.

Glow believes that she is the first to document her transition on YouTube in South Africa and she is fearlessly pioneering with a vulnerability that seems effortless . “I guess I had to desensitise myself from myself and become part of the bigger picture…The reason I am doing this is way beyond opening up. It is about so many people that have been discarded, people that have been totally disposable and told that their voices don’t matter, when their voices actually matter,” explained Glow.

There is a rawness to Glow’s videos that personalise her reality. “I just want to entertain people and along the way I actually want to invite them into our life, like marginalised people who are seen as ‘other’, who are caricatured and really dehumanised. We’re always seen through this lens that strips us of our very basic human needs, like respect and integrity and so much is always stripped away from us because of who we are, because of the very fact that we identify as a certain gender. People always decontextualise it and make it into this whole fantasy world that is just so grotesque. So I just want to invite people into our lives and entertain them and show them that we are actually super dope people.”

Often, Glow is in her apartment, in a fashionable ensemble, face beat, on her couch sharing stories of her becoming. In videos like How I learned I am transgender and Am I on hormones yet? , she shares experiences that resonate to the lives of transgender people. In videos like These bitches want Nikes and Chit Chat, she shares about her personal life in Johannesburg.

“The reason I share is to get people to know us, like to know trans people instead of just having this idea of what a trans person is…a trans person is just like any other person; we have interests, we have pet peeves, we live normal lives, either than the fact that we’re transgender….also being able to also teach other people how to destigmatise identities that have been completely dehumanised that gives me pleasure. it’s like rebuilding a broken home,” said Glow.

Check out Glow Mamiii’s YouTube page, especially on Mondays for new content. You can keep up with her on Instagram or Twitter.

 

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