2020 Photo Contest, Portraits, 2nd Prize

Black Drag Magic - Portrait of a Drag Artist and Activist


Lee-Ann Olwage

04 August, 2019

Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie, a drag artist and activist, poses at a shisanyama—a community space where women cook and sell meat—in Khayelitsha, a township located on the Cape Flats, near Cape Town, South Africa.

Belinda, the photographer, and other black, queer, gender non-conforming and transgender people collaborated in a project to decolonize drag culture and find a particularly African expression of drag. The aim was also to highlight the need for the African lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (LGBTQ+) community to find their identities irrespective of their backgrounds, and to reclaim the public space in a community where they are subject to discrimination, harassment and violence. Discrimination is part of everyday life for LGBTQ+ people in townships such as Khayelitsha, especially in public areas. A survey of 2,000 LGBTQ+ people by South African rights organization OUT found that within a two-year period, 39% had been verbally insulted, 20% threatened, 17% chased or followed, and nearly 10% physically attacked.

About the photographer

Lee-Ann Olwage

Lee-Ann Olwage is a visual storyteller from South Africa.  Olwage’s work explores themes of identity, transitions and universal narratives through long-term project...

Technical information

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Canon EOS 5D Mark III

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