Thursday, March 4, 2010
Encounter with a Malawian Drag Queen
It was in the early 90s and a night out on the town. I was with Malawian friends checking out clubs in town until somebody said it’s “house” night at Tracks.
The club was a trendy place visited by many celebrities and House music mainly an electronic dance was the “in” thing.
On that particular night I spotted RuPaul, the 6-foot-7 African American drag queen well known in New York club scenes looking all marvellous.
But two other “queens” I saw near Blantyre market the other day, struggling to walk across the street in stiletto boots and a wig that needed a good brush got it all wrong wearing cheap lipstick and no foundation.
Hey I’m not all that either but American drag queen RuPaul once said and I quote from a website, "I do not impersonate females! How many women do you know who wear seven-inch heels, four-foot wigs, and skin tight dresses? I don't dress like a woman; I dress like a drag queen!"
Anyway walking tall in a straight catwalk line with a lot of attitude, I couldn’t help but notice “Miss Thing” in the ladies toilet in the US, a lot of make-up but smooth brown skin, long fake black eyelashes and an 18th century wig complete with the curls.
Suddenly a Malawian girl in our group reads my mind and described in Chichewa that the woman was a drag queen, whom we had heard about and seen on TV. She used unprintable adjectives describing him because she was offended he was using the ladies.
Barely a minute later, as I was busy powdering up my face, the Malawian girl tapped me saying “Agnes, the drag queen heard everything I said, he is a Malawian and speaks Chichewa!”
I was shocked and stunned saying no way, this can‘t be real! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think a Malawian man can be gay.
The Malawian Drag Queen was nice about the obscenities thrown at him and introduced himself (name withheld) but his stage name was Ms. Yankho. I noticed the movements of his hands, very exaggerated femininity.
He invited us for some drinks and in the next hour or so told us his life story, which college he went to, his home village, parents and family.
I broke into laughter as he kept on snapping the night away writing a big Z in the air with his right hand saying “Two snaps and a Zeee girlfriend” after emphasizing a point.
He was a nice fun person with his exaggerated self hanging around the Dupont Circle neighbourhood in Washington, DC with a number of gay businesses, from bars to cafes to boutiques…
Tracing footsteps to lead me home
Greetings from the Warm Heart Africa, Malawi.
I'm a Malawian journalist who grew up in many countries including South Africa, Belgium, then West Germany, UK, Washington DC and New York in the US and I love New York.
Trying to come up with the production of my life and by compiling some of my 1000 poems into a book called ‘Tracing Footsteps’ to lead me Home with excellent photography.
I also plan to film award winning documentaries based on the history of this ancient land called Malawi and the mysteries of Sapitwa and the Sirius star.
.....watch this space.