How to Celebrate Durban #Pride 2018

Pride celebrations are mounting globally in the month of June, and this week, it’s Durban’s time to shine, sparkle, glitter, all of it honey, because Durban Pride isn’t all that’s going down this weekend.


Durban isn’t exactly the gay capital of the world. Hell, it’s not the gay capital of the country. Not even close. Queer bodies in Durban are kept under wraps for the most part, for various reasons that we’re not going to dive into right now because it hurts. During the month of June though, and more specifically the last week of it, we get to be a little more proud about who we are.


The most exciting thing about Pride this year is the bumper edition of the heavily-accelerating Same Sex Saturdays, organised by poet, event extraordinaire and unabashed lesbian, Andyee Dlamini, who exudes Big Dick Energy.


Andyee started SSS in March 2016, born out of a need for safe queer spaces in the city on a regular basis. The monthly parties have grown to include a club edition, social edition, all-black edition… it’s a rolling stone and possibly the salvation of queer culture in our city. Praise Gay Jesus.


When we discussed queer culture in Durban, Andyee, who has just returned from a trip to New York (where she threw an SSS) in time for the three parties she’s throwing this weekend. In New York, all kinds of cultures are left to thrive, and it’s known as a global queer capital. Coming home was a contrast for her, noting that there was nothing at the airport in Durban signifying that it was pride month. She’s annoyed about the lack of visibility of the flag. She’s frustrated with the system, “The system is pretending to be acceptive but they aren’t fully supportive. They don’t understand queer bodies.”


In an interview with Bubblegumclub, Andyee was reported saying “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. 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.”



When I asked Andyee what she’s bringing home from New York she said, “What we bringing back from NY is collaboration, we working on doing cross-over festivals next year. We want to make Pride bigger, creative, and interactive. Why can other countries be celebrated and open up spaces to display gender performance for a month no matter the difficulty however in Durban we can’t be supported and live together? Like right now it’s pride but why must we wait for the Pride March to interact? We should have art shows, debates, dinners, flags, unity, social interaction throughout the week.” It starts here.


Tonight is the first edition of this weekend’s festivities, a mingling evening at The Chairman. This mini-festival is a genius format, allowing attendees to introduce themselves in a sophisticated environment before turning up at the club together on Friday.



The club allows everybody to let loose. This is definitely the one to watch. It’s the vibe of the club environment minus the harassment, and we stan. One thing to note about SSS is the unshakable feeling of the safe space. Andyee has managed to not only curate incredible events but has the power to attract the kinds of people we should be seeing all over the city. It’s a double-edged sword, really, that these spaces feel so incredible because of their uniqueness when really they should be commonplace.



Finally, on Saturday, Same Sex Saturdays returns in its full force at Whirling Wheel in the All Black Edition. Yes, that means everyone will be dressed in black. Everyone looks sexy in black.


Honestly, if it were up to us, there would be SSS every weekend. Andyee’s dream isn’t that different. “The vision is big,” she says. We bet it is. Her multifaceted understanding of events from organisation to DJing to dance moves makes her one of the best hosts in the city. So, Durban? Let’s support this before Andyee packs her bags and leaves us for New York.


For those wondering, there is a march this Saturday organised officially by Durban Pride. The theme is “Keep the Promise to LGBTIQ”, where the intention is to explore the promises that were made and not kept to queer people in Durban, highlighting what Andyee was saying about the city not doing everything it can, and says it will, for the LGBTQ+ community. This is noted by the removal of the flag from City Hall, because in spite of the fact that South Africa is constitutionally progressive with regards to gay rights (we were one of the first countries to legalise same-sex marriage, only in 2006, and our constitution has prevented discrimination since 1994) this is not the lived reality from a social and governmental perspective. According to this article by Times Live, Pride Month is “not relevant” according to local government.



SSS posters designed by Akona, header by Kyle Van Zyl.


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