FAKA /From A Distance/

Posted on: January 17th, 2016 by & No Comments


South Africa’s FAKA is a performance art duo, or as they call it a cultural movement, based in Johannesburg consisting of Fela Gucci (Thato Ramaisa) and Desire Marea (Buyani Duma). They have graduated from visual communication and photography. Theirs work explores (mainly through theirs bodies, performance and fashion) the role and position of the queer black body. They also promote young black queer voices in current South Africa, because there is not enough visibility of black trans folk and the view is just through patriarchal/heteronormative gaze, of course, and more, with South Africa’s apartheid past.

As they say,

FAKA in Zulu means to enter, to penetrate, to occupy. We chose this name to symbolize our intentions of penetrating and communicating silenced themes in the spectrum of black queer identity and also to dismantle the internalized heteronormative righteousness that has contaminated our community with its hierarchy of male privilege. FAKA, in the context of sexual intercourse, is an order given to the perpetrator to penetrate and our ownership of a term linked to the assumption of passivity is a protest to empower the most shamed identities. It is the ‘bottoms revenge’(Mongo Ali).


… [In the video From A Distance FAKA are] ‘celebrating third world aesthetics that often do not have the space to be validated on a large scale in contemporary creative culture.’ As FAKA see it,

Many of us in the third world lack the resources to emulate pop culture’s aesthetics and that often excludes us from the very important dialogue of global cultural progression, because our grainy contributions are never accepted as they are.

From a Distance is a direct rebuttal to the snobbishness and exclusivity of the status quo. We have sometimes one, sometimes both performers, we have red soil and spare woods, and we have the music. It’s the conversation between these elements that we are watching unfold as the backing track becomes first more layered and complex, then contracts, until all we are left with is Fela and Desire […] (Summerbell).

We watch its psychedelic ascent and layering and splitting of the images, that can resemble us the late 1990s options of screensavers. “The fact that the piece shares a title with a Brenda Fassie’s[1] From a Distance is not just a coincidence” (Summerbell).

Lord is watching us.


From texts by Lion Summerbell and Abdu Mongo Ali compiled by Anita Somrová



Leiman, Layla. “Young South Africa: FAKA | Redefining Representations of Black Queer Identity.” Between 10and5. Between 10and5. June 29 2015. Web. Jan. 15 2015.

Mongo Ali, Abdul. “QTIPOCS On The Block: FAKA.” True Laurels. N.p., Nov. 18 2015. Web Jan. 15 2015.

Summerbell, Lion. “FAKA Channel the Spirit of Brenda Fassie in This Raw and Unadorned Gqom-Gospel Performance.” Between 10and5. Between 10and5. Nov. 11 2015. Web. Jan. 15 2015.



[1] Known as the “The Black Madonna,” “The Queen of African Pop,” “The Madonna of The Townships”. Note added by Anita Somrová.

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