The Dazzling World of FAKA

For the queer, the trans, the non-conforming, the female and the black, / For those who have been alienated by mainstream culture, / For those who are constantly harassed by patriarchy and suffer at the hands of capitalism, / For copper-coloured Afro wigs, golden chokers, torn stockings and moving freely despite Lorraine’s side-eye, there is FAKA.”- Bubblegumclub


The exploration of gender fluidity or genderlessness has come very much to the forefront of art and performance in recent years. Within Supersonic Festival 2018 alone we have performances from the mystifying Gazelle Twin, the indefinable Yves Tumor, and, of course the enchanting, rhythmic craft of FAKA; these are all artists who serve as key examples of transforming the rules of identity in their separate ways, only confirming the interchangability of the term itself.

The artistic intention of FAKA is best epitomised by the song `Izitibane zaziwe ukhuti zibuya ebukhosini’ (Let it be known, that queerness is a thing of the Gods), released with an accompanying statement ‘this is an ode to all the powerful dolls who risk their lives every day by being visible in an unsafe world. This is a celebration of those who have fearlessly embraced themselves. Because when your identity is the cause of your suffering in the world, you begin to feel the very source of your greatness in the world’.


Desire Marea and Fela Gucci, are proudly representing black and queer creativity with potent sound and vision. Surpassing the ‘performance art duo’ descriptor with which they may have started, the artists explore a combination of mediums ranging from sound, live performance, literature, video and photography, creating an eclectic aesthetic. The isiZulu word faka, which means to penetrate, seductively nuances how the artists validate new vocabularies of communication about black queer identities, and in expressing themes central to their experience as black queer bodies, FAKA navigate through the “cis-hetero-topia of post-colonial Africa” through creating a safe-space in their work that allow black, queer, gender non-conforming or trans people to reflect and be celebrated. (Read more about this via. i-D, in their A-Z of South African music).



Early releases like ‘Ama Gwinya‘ (creatively described by the duo as an “afro mink luxury dove soap bar lamentation”, “post gospel pain” and “phallic chino sweat drop”) surfaced three years ago with dislodged arpeggios, bubbling soundscapes and disembodied vocals. Since their work on African artistic collective NON the two have turned toward heavier rhythms, establishing a signature danceability with driving, looping drums, refocusing the exploratory nature of early material with new sounds developed as tools to further their penetrable, unapologetic cause.

No compromise has been made here. Each element of FAKA’s artistry has been chosen and executed at the highest fidelity to their vision. Listen below to their latest release Ngizokuzingela, with more on the artists and their EP Amaqhawe discussed here in Fader.