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Gay Johannesburg

The Khanyi Mbau Dream

by Thato Tsotetsi / 14.06.2011

To my left is the Douche. He’s 35 and hides behind a stuffy vocabulary learnt from Mills and Boon novels, which, according to him, makes him literate. We are at Cats Pajamas in Main Street Melville which has seen more midnight meal rushes than any other place in Johannesburg. Our version of a diner, albeit not as seedy. Across from me sits my fag hag, looking every bit like the BA student she is. Afro, skinny jeans and converse sneakers paired with one of those over the top cable knit jerseys. Laughing a little too loudly, egging the Douche on a little too enthusiastically.

He uses that Mills and Boon vocabulary “ostentatiously” like politicians do, trying to seem smarter (put your hand up Mbeki) than you really are. He isn’t smart and waves his hands as he makes his points. I guess he just wants to belong. He’s longing after all the opportunities he missed growing up in rural Limpopo. I sense the Douche secretly loathes us. We have nice accents and a big city ease they used to call “sophistication”. He only started drinking in his mid twenties.

Right now he’s claiming he owned an internet café, not getting that’s nothing to be proud of unless you’re one of the many fat aspirant foreigners lining the streets of Braamfontein. Self employed and successful. Which means scraping by on short lived contracts with dubious companies that never seem to pay him. His claims can only fall hollow when the lamb shank he’s tucking into is being paid for by us.

I hear the Douche lost his virginity to some UJ whore in a seedy bathroom in the bowels of Melville. Ah Melville. Our own little Las Vegas, swallowing the dreams of virile 19 year olds fresh in Joburg to find more of the gold that made this country great-ish. They all end up the same way, drunk, fucked, middle income earners at call centers after abandoning their studies for someone like the Douche who once promised to support them. The Khanyi Mbau dream. If they are really fucked, they get HIV.

Gay Joburg
Image © FHM/Nick Boulton.

To his right sits his boyfriend, an ex of mine. This whore is famous for jumping from one guy to the next. If the stereotype is that Xhosa people lie naturally, he must have some of those genes embedded in the dark recesses of the gorgeous body that has seen more beds than a hospital. His is a life of fabrications and charm. He sunk his fangs in me one fateful night after a lot of heavy drinking. We were standing at the entrance level of Milpark Mews where he invited himself for breakfast at my place and ambushed me into kissing him. After several months of dating, the penny dropped. He didn’t work at a bank, as he told me, but was in fact a drunken whore. He switched off his phone during the day under the pretext of being at work and went traipsing the streets of South Joburg, hustling drinks. Days later he disappeared with my wallet. Checking my balance online, I found the bitch had cleaned out my bank account. UJ whores are vultures. His beautiful eyes obscure the lies. But at least that boy can take good dick.

Back live at Cats Pajamas, I am at the same table as the whore who stole from me. He’s trying to ascertain if me and my fag hag will out him. She knows the whole story, but she loves him regardless. Whores are infectious. All it takes is a look and they’re back in your life. I was happy to think the whore would steal from the Douche. There’s your silver lining. Which brings us to the Nymph.

The Nymph has more swagger than any wannabe hip hopper on Vuzu. He has style. And I hope he’s my side pocket tonight. We picked him up at the Uppity 6 Bar on 7th Street earlier; where he made me pay for drinks. The Nymph gets by flaunting his tush. He promises to give it away for the price of a drink, a pair of jeans, or a couple of lines of coke. He too is from darkest Limpopo and came to starry Joburg to live the Khanyi Mbau dream. That Heat Magazine fever of aspiration for a glamourous life, luring penniless plebeians in to dig for gold.

The Nymph claims to be from class. The best schooling and all the privileges. Now he wastes away in a blur of vodka and heroin shots. Track marks run like dead cat’s eyes under his Gucci shirt. He is a mess and I will fuck him tonight.

Next to him is the Hippie. He is probably the smartest person I know but in Pink Johannesburg smart isn’t necessarily attractive. It’s really about how big your dick or your wallet is. Gay people do not like each other, we tolerate each other. Pass the beer and cigarettes and maybe if you’re hot enough we’ll fuck you. If your house is big enough, we’ll fuck you again, then invite our friends over to clean out your fridge.

My Khanyi Mbau dream was to be an artist. That ah hasn’t worked out. Brilliant creative thoughts mean jack here. You have to bend over backwards to acclimatize. It is tough up in here. I look around our table and it’s complicated. Nothing is real, everything is for show. Break bread slowly and, kids, please, do sniff that wine before you drink it, here in Gayville no one is safe.

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