We talk to Bigger Nzuza about his work with FAKA, the self-proclaimed "aunties" of South Africa's queer music & art scene.
We can barely hear each other.
Bigger Nzuza has just come off stage from DJing a high-octane set at Seize The City for FAKA. We're standing at the relatively calmer bar area exchanging numbers. Our eventual chat takes place over FaceTime call and the Saturday afternoon din from the street outside my Braamfontein apartment makes it feel a lot like when we first met. It doesn't take me long to realise that wherever DJ Bigger Nzuza goes, sound follows.
"My mother had a house in Siyanda [a small township within the greater Kwamashu area in KwaZulu-Natal]. I would visit frequently," he remembers. "Whenever I would pass by DJ Deep's place, gqom would be playing, the house would be full and they would be DJing because they had a sound system."
DJ Deep, who passed away in 2010, proved to Bigger that music, and specifically DJing, could be a viable career option. For both Bigger and Deep, their childhood days were marked with intense religiosity. They were both churchgoers: Deep's father was a pastor and Bigger belonged to a family church. Bigger was also lead singer of a gospel choir and the leader of an isicathamiya group at school. "I'd say music was always my thing. I'm not sure if it's because I was naughty at school but there wasn't anything that had to do with music which I didn't want to participate in."
Gospel wasn't a strange genre to foray into. As far as gqom is concerned, that can be attributed to the environment he found himself in. But some may ask, how does a cis-heterosexual man from Kwamashu, KwaZulu-Natal end up DJing for FAKA, the self-proclaimed and peer sustained "aunties" of South Africa's queer music and art scene?