It’s out: SA’s first drag king documentary

2013-04-13 00:00

THE Out in Africa South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will be showing a documentary made by KZN’s very own Samantha Lea this weekend in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Lea’s documentary follows South Africa’s first ever drag king troupe, Bros B4 Ho’s, as they confront issues of sexuality and the evolution of their performing personas. This is Lea’s first film.

Growing up in Umhlanga Rocks, Lea did not always know she wanted to pursue a career in film. After working as a production assistant on film sets, she decided to try and make her own. All she needed was a subject, and she found that her subject, drag kings, chose her. Drag kings are women who dress up and perform as men.

Asked why she chose to make the documentary, Lea said: “The documentary chose me. I saw a post on Mambagirl [a lesbian website] about a meeting Catherine “Saint Dude” Pretorius was having to discuss the formation of a drag king troupe.

“From there I e-mailed Catherine, we met, and she agreed to let me film them. From there everything just unfolded very naturally.”

Pretorius is a drag king in Cape Town who started Bros B4 Ho’s. She is very glad that the documentary is out there. “It’s quite an accomplishment being the first drag king troupe in South Africa, especially since we created the space that was not really there before. Hopefully, women who see the documentary will be encouraged to come out and perform.”

To aspiring drag kings, Catherine said, “Don’t be afraid or hesitant. Just go out and do it.”

Lea said it was a huge achievement for her to be selected for the Out in Africa film festival, especially since there are only three South African films in it.

“I feel like now I can call myself a film-maker,” she said.

Nodi Murphy, the director of Out in Africa, was happy to have the documentary in the festival.

“The documentary has intelligent interviewees, articulate about the gender issues that are confronted by dressing as a man, ‘behaving’ like a man … and how it has affected their lives and attitudes. So, it’s less about sexual orientation and more about gender. That’s important.”

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