South African Performance Artists FAKA On Their "Gqom-Gospel Lamentation For Dick"
Fela Gucci and Desire Marea of the queer South African performance art duo FAKA pay tribute to Brenda Fassie in their new music video.
FAKA's Desire Marea (left) & Fela Gucci (right) in the video for "From A Distance"
“We wish to create a dialogue that transcends the bounds of queer activist rhetoric,” write Thato Ramaisa (aka Fela Gucci) and Buyani Duma (aka Desire Marea). The Johannesburg-based creatives make up FAKA, a performance art duo concentrating on issues of the black queer body.
This week, the artists shared a new music video they’re calling a “Gqom-Gospel lamentation for dick.”
“We regard this as an ongoing performance celebrating the third world aesthetics that often do not have the space to be validated on a large scale in contemporary creative culture,” FAKA write about their "From A Distance" piece.
In an email to Okayafrica, they explain: “We feel that there is an exclusion of a certain demographic of valid voices and expressions due to lack of resources, specifically Black/African voices who could strongly contribute to the progression of global culture. This is an economical factor, and coming from disadvantaged backgrounds this is something we have been confronted with. Even within the supposed progressive art world there is a classicism that excludes this demographic.”
With the video, FAKA say they are assuming their place in the world. “Placing value to the ways we express ourselves because WaitLorraine! The Blacks must be alright.”**
The performance is also an ode to Brenda Fassie’s powerful live rendition of Bette Midler’s hit song “From A Distance.” For FAKA, the late South African pop star’s performance exemplifies her power of honesty. “In that moment, the music, the lyrics, the choreography did not matter,” they tell Okayafrica, “but rather how she was present in her raw form, and that power is something we pursue with our work.”
“Brenda Fassie symbolized self-actualization,” the artists say. “The manner in which she was able to embrace her truth regardless of how her private life was violently publicized is something we admire. She taught us sexual liberation and the diverse ways of existing as a black queer person.”
Like Fassie, FAKA say their performance in “From A Distance” is a portrayal of themselves in their rawest form. “Living our complex existence in ways that transcend all the artefacts we adorn, distancing with no restrain and no apology.”
**According to FAKA, Lorraine is the personification of a broader policing gaze. They created the term WaitLorraine to “communicate our rebellion against any gaze that threatens to limit our movements.”