Namibia
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Drag Night back after hate break

After a break necessitated by escalating hate against the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community, Drag Night Namibia (DNN) is back with a show of resilience this weekend.

The monthly platform postponed its June show after the Supreme Court ruling to recognise same-sex marriages concluded outside Namibia sparked an increase in threats of violence and hateful rhetoric towards the community.

Despite ongoing adversity, Drag Night will return to Et Cetera Art Café & Studio with two intimate instalments, titled ‘It’s Personal’.
The night of artistry, solidarity, performance and indomitable self-expression will cap a challenging international LGBTQI+ Pride Month, and invites attendees to reclaim the safe space.

“Drag Night Namibia is a personal family and friend affair, where we all come together around a campfire every month to enjoy and celebrate love,” says Drag Night Namibia (DNN) founder Rodelio Lewis/Miss Mavis.

“The fact that this was taken away from us and that everything was discussed so terribly in the media and everywhere, all of those things are personal. It hurts because we’re real people.”

Addressing continued safety concerns, Lewis hopes people will come to the show, but understands any lingering apprehension.

“I’m not going to tell anyone they shouldn’t have that fear. I’m not going to try and lull anyone into a space, but I will say that my team and I have worked extremely hard to ensure we up our security,” says Lewis.

“Safety was the reason why we had to postpone our show. It was very important to us to put that at the top of our priority list and ensure we still make sure the narrative of a safe, inclusive space is realised, materialised, and is allowed to be experienced and enjoyed by people who are here for love.”

Drag Night co-chief executive Lize Ehlers sees the upcoming shows as an opportunity for allies to stand tall against the recent wave of overt LGBTQI+ hate.

“I definitely think in these crucial times, allies play a pivotal role by being there for support, both mentally and physically. We must stand ready to provide a safe ride for community members who may feel unsafe taking a taxi during this time,” says Ehlers.

“I think the power of allies is magnified when they attend events like Pride Pop Up and Drag Night in substantial numbers, demonstrating to homophobes the tremendous level of support that truly exists. Together, allies can create a loud message of solidarity.”

Though this month has been a difficult one for local LGBTQI+ people, Lewis and the DNN team are excited to be back.

“Drag Night is a lot of things. It’s a workspace, a space for freedom, for expression, and it’s a fun place,” says Lewis.

“We want to give back to our audience, connect with and hug our people again,” Lewis says.

“We want to show them we’re here, we’re queer and we will not be erased, because love cannot be erased.”

Drag Night Namibia will take place at Et Cetera Art Café and Studio on 30 June and 1 July.

Tickets are available from webtickets and at the door.

[email protected]; Martha Mukaiwa on Twitter and Instagram; marthamukaiwa.com