South African indie artist tackles homophobia

queers---textObie Mavuso is tackling homophobia head-on through her events company Queers on Smash. (Image and Video: Redbull Amaphiko)

A seasoned indie musician and filmmaker from Cape Town is taking on gender inequalities in arts and entertainment by bringing together members of the LGBTI community to talk about their experiences.

Obie Mavuso founded Queers on Smash, which she describes as “a queer and unorthodox lifestyle company offering fun and inclusive queer spaces”.

At the core of her work is a desire to create a place where queer people can party, talk and hangout without all the discrimination that society projects onto LGBTI – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex – people.

First event

In April, Queers on Smash hosted its first blacks-only queer social event in Cape Town.

“The response was amazing,” said Mavuso. “A lot of people came up to me on the day and told me they were happy to be at the social. That was the main point for me. It wasn’t really about me, but for people like myself. We needed a space where we could feel safe and belong.”

At the event, they discussed what it means to be black and queer in Cape Town.

Author and stage actress Buhle Ngaba gave a talk about her recently released book Girl Without A Sound, which is a fairytale written specifically for black girls.

The 25-year-old also co-founded Jam That Session with fellow musician Andy Mkosi – a creative platform that showcases up and coming creative practitioners.

“Art’s always been about personal expression for me,” said Mavuso in an interview with Redbull Amaphiko. “I just want to make a positive change through my art and shift people’s mindsets.”

Next month, Queers on Smash will be hosting another blacks-only queer social in Johannesburg.