Botswana’s queer creatives push for change

“This used to be the most popping neighbourhood,” Gape Khudu says, of Phase Two in Gaborone, where he shares a house with his close friend, Puisano Sane. As we walk the short distance from where we meet to his house, Khudu jumps on Sane’s back for a piggyback ride and smilingly adds: “But it’s a really quiet area now. It has really changed.”

The playful nature of his piggyback ride belies Khudu’s steely determination to be something of a change-maker in Botswana. Through his #BoysInSkirts initiative, he is hoping to shift the country’s perceptions of gender-nonconformity. The online initiative— or “movement”, as he refers to it— has, since he started it in September 2016, already gained a significant following. His Boys in Skirts website, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages— all under the moniker, Geegee Strauss (“I had to put some flare into the name”), he laughs— has in excess of 10 000 followers. 

“I started it to try and break down gender boundaries within fashion,” says the 21-year-old.

Along with designer, Gorata Morapedi, and photographer, Gonna Monngakgotla, Khudu creates self-portraits that aim, he says, to “advocate for freedom of attire”.  Read more via Mail & Guard