by Mbalenhle Dhlamini | March 30, 2023

The British Council alongside Business and Arts South Africa host a queer edition of karaoke night at Wits’ Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct.

On Friday March 24, 2023, people took to the stage for their fifteen minutes of fame, at the queer edition of Fak’uoke (wordplay on Fak’ugesi and karaoke) in Braamfontein.

Fak’ouke is part of the Fak’ugesi Festival, which showcases and celebrates African digital creativity annually. Festival planner, communications intern and MC, Nontokozo Qhobosheane said, “With the help of our partners, Business and Arts South Africa and the British Council we were able to make all our attendees feel like stars.”  

This queer edition of Faku’ouke was inspired by Five Films for Freedom, a nine day film festival with queer rights as the theme.

Rowann Hermans, karaoke night attendee and ‘best power ballad prize winner said, “Bear in mind that I didn’t know it was a competition until they said that they were going to start voting.”  

Hermans walked away with a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses and six bottles of wine for their rendition of Estelle’s ‘American Boy’.

“I really just enjoy performing so my expectations were to make a show and engage with the audience, I was more there to perform a song than to win,” they added.

Lathitha Gqokama who was in the crowd and attending a queer event for the first time said that “it was a safe space for any kind of self-expression, and I particularly enjoyed experiencing the diversity among the people who were there”. 

The Faku’gesi festival plans to host another Faku’ouke queer edition during pride month from June 1 to June 30, 2023.   


FEATURED IMAGE: Attendees second self is Fantasia onstage. Photo: Mbalenhle Dlamini