ALNfeels., ALNthrowbacks.

AyaWasLikeTotally30…

…3 years ago. Yesterday I got one of those ‘Facebook memories’ reminders of a picture of my personal best dressed faves; Inge, Dylan and Amanda dressed as the iconic trio from Clueless, at my 30th birthday party in July 2015.

I really just wanted to do a young throwback of this just so I could share this invite I made for the party. If you know me well, you’ll know this is one of my favourite films EVER and it had turned 20 years old when I was turning a whole 30.

I still remember being about 12 years old in boarding school and tagging along to the video store to hire the weekend movies. This was like ’98 so trust it was VHS upon VHS. Lord knows who I was with, but I forced them to hire Clueless among two other typical boy movies like Naked Gun or some hyper masculine action or sport film (those were all the rage back then – Kevin Costner I’m looking at you!). I had obvs seen the movie like a million times with my cousins so I was already fluent in eye-rolling, saying “what-ever” at every turn and pretending to know what Cliff notes or Haiti (said Hadey) was.

The movie played on a 51cm colour TV that sat suspended at the top right corner of the overcrowded hostel TV room with it’s wooden framed cushioned sofas, screaming red and gold floral carpets (which gave the worst f-ing carpet burns ever), oppressive white walls and it smelled of shampoo, soap and puberty. We had all just showered ten minutes before. I was obviously having the best time! Quoting every line and doing the whatever double hand gesture the hateful Amber character abused at almost every classroom scene. Surprisingly everyone else really liked the movie. Most of them commented on how they finally got all the random crap I always said. Even for a little bit I felt totally understood and happily continued to flip my non-existent hair over my shoulder whenever I crushed a maths test. Which was hardly ever to be honest. I was more of stage queen back then.

Wow. This post turned out to be a whole lot more than I intended it to be. Lol. Writing it had me go down memory lane to some really fond experiences at my time at D.V. Taylor House. Experiences with my then closest mates who actually always had my back through and through now that I think of it. Until high school came of course… then there were all sorts of plot twists and melodrama. Shout out to the OG dorm crew Senzwa, the two Mawandes, Dyasi, Anda and Phiwe.

Here’s the email invite I modelled after Cher’s speech:

ayaisliketotally30-invite

The rad flyer I made on PowerPoint:

AyaIsLikeTotally30

What a glorious moment during one of the darkest times of my life. Just 3 and half months before my mother passed and never got to see me turn the big 3-0. I know that I had to continue. Celebrate my life. Remember her influence and always know that I come from a place of love. It has certainly taught me to not cling onto big ages or events that occur in my life but cherish the joy and love every day offers, being authentic and honest, trying to be present, making the most of this temporary thing called life and even more so to be grateful for it.

Now at 33 I can say I live in gratitude of this body, this mind, my amazing friends, family, this earth and it’s beauty and of my gorgeous life giver who did the absolute best she could.

It’s all like TOTALLY great you know? 30 was a good start.

xo,
ALN.

Standard

I know… I know. This is a highly inflated title. I am in no way a pro model (YET! – dasryt, we gots to manifest the shit out of this life babes) and I’m not really Kenyan, but someone commented this title on Instagram when I first posted these pics. So here we are, a year on from this chocolaty, sun-kissed, queer long and lean African mess I was. Yassss bish!

This trip to coastal Kenya was approx around this time in 2017. Google photos and Facebook are outchea with their reminders. I was up there for a friends magical beach wedding with a bunch of other mutual friends (pictured ever so editorially below). We took THE most amazing photos and for whatever reason I found myself possessed by some sort of ‘glory be to Noami Campbell slay-demon spirit’ whenever a camera phone was near. Shout out to Banesa, Sam, Siya, Andy and Sunni for going wild with the shutter button.

So anyway, this is a young ALNthrowback to the birth of my desire of using my internal love for performance in this model-esque toe-pointing athletic-chic way. Such fun in the sun.

Legs, Ray-Bans and Red Blankets

Ivy Walls and Ivy Park

Buttery Masai Fisherman

The gang gang ❤

KNTM (17)

L-R: Siya, Andrew, Banesa, Sam, Sunni, ALN.

ALNthrowbacks.

Kenya’s Next Top Model

ALNthrowback to exactly 1 year ago in Kenya where I turned it TF out like I was on some magazine shoot. All with the Samsung S8 😀

Gallery

Me: This is the best Bushfire yet!

Andrew: Oh wow, really. Why?

Me: It’s the first one where I’m completely myself.

That exchange was the last day of Bushfire 2018. Sunday evening on the last weekend of May. Andrew and I were waiting in the crowd for the Africa Tribute from Salif Keita, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Yemi Alade with our friends Jackie and August. It just hit me what an amazing festival this particular one had been and how much better it was that I could be my authentic self the entire time. Wigs, printed palazzo pants, statement tees, silky kimonos, ripped pantyhose, the shortest of shorts and just living my best life!!

It’s no reason CNN named it one of the 7 best African Festivals and it continues to be recognised as the most responsible one of the bunch for it showcases themes of environmental sustainability, education, sexual health (seriously there were condoms on everything), human rights and from this years theme of “Rainbow Fire” focusing on the visibility of the LGBTQ community. Goodbye code-switching. Hello queer-festivity. It’s not all perfect but it’s one hell of a good start. For my sixth Bushfire, I’ve watched it grow and improve to make it more than just going to stand in front of a main stage.

Oh my… well now that I’ve started at the end, let me go back to the beginning. 🙂 Waking up at 5:30 am to beat the border rush is ESSENTIAL. We flew through the normally excruciating border experience. 25 minutes tops. Since Swaziland is full on bordered by South Africa, it has all the shops we know and love… and they take Randelas. Grocery shopping, booze top up and straight into Malkerns Valley to check-in. Wristbands on. Car offloading to our campsite. Real estate is everything at a sold out fest. Last thing you want is to be meandering through hundreds of tents that all look the same to find yours. A cute sweaty Swati man by the name of Chester in green overalls helped us get all the loose crap we managed to stack up in the boot and flattened back seat of Onika. Camp set up. Castle Lites. *clink* and Coals on the braai.

You never want to peak early but I only went to bed at 8am the next day. Mess. I wouldn’t change anything about that though. Highlights for Day 1 were silver draped Nakhane giving me all the life and queer pride performing tracks from my fave album of 2018 so far. Swazi native Velemseni giving us jazzy neo-soul and rock vibes – loved! A fresh electric surprise from accordionist Mario Batkovic and Reunion Island singer Nathalie Natiembe who seemed like she teleported herself somewhere else during her barefooted performance. Gorgeous. Ooooh! I need to do a Spotify playlist of all this goodness actually. Will share soon!

After barely sleeping, I managed to squeeze in 3 hours. Got up and got straight back into it. Sleep when you’re back in Jozi I’d say changing into my day lewk after just washing my face, brushing my teeth and reshuffling my nappy pillow hair. Saturday shower missions are not a real thing if you don’t wake up ridiculously early. I saw y’all queuing while I drank beer in front of the Campsite Cafe fire at sunrise. There’s nothing like that sense of being where you are and not thinking of anything or anywhere else.

Day 2 was good fun. For the main day it kind of failed in comparison to Friday and Sunday. I spent loads of time at the Firefly Stage which only had performances from Swati and South African DJs. Gqom, Kwaito, old school Hip-Hop, 90s R&B just a delicious pot of good music. You opt in and out as you wish, but it was always a guaranteed nice time on the sandy dancefloor. The main stage saw Samting Soweto doing his usual. He’s got a heck of a voice but there seems to be a trend of always using the same artists at these things. I guess it’s not their fault I go to basically every festival out there. Awks. Dear Ribane gave us all the robotic futuristic mastery they are known for. Manthe tears any stage up, I really admire her commitment of giving to get. I need those vizers they wear! By the time it got to Kwesta, Sho Madjozi and DJ Lag I was FINISHED. My body came to call collect. 3 hours of sleep could only get me to midnight. I was content. Most of Saturday night were SA acts I’ve seen a bunch of times. I slumped into bed and that was that.

Sunday was a nice and easy vibe. In the past you’d usually wake up around 10/11 to find that half the campsite had ghosted. The scramble to beat the border rush. Nope. Everyone was still there! It’s almost as if we all decided we were staying put. The rain came down. We stayed put. It stopped and we hit the main stage for the main event that was the Africa Tribute to Eswatini. Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a national treasure y’all. Hearing and seeing them makes you think of home, wherever that may be. Obvs everyone went completely bonkers for Salif. He only did one or two songs but that did the trick. There was a feeling of a great sense of pride and unity at this point and in the distance behind me someone was waving a massive flag. The rainbow. It doesn’t really get better than that.

To my best Bushfire experience. Thank you. It was wild. It was even sweeter having the people I grew up with also there experiencing their first fire. This lot have been there through every nickname from uBoom-Boom to uChaklas. Mad love for you cuzzies. This year has re-energised my love for this festival. The organisers understand growth and improvement. I’m just really glad those damn paper coupons are not a thing anymore. Cashless baby! The bar has been raised and so will Bushfire’s global footprint as Africa’s best.

ALNgoes., ALNthrowbacks.

The Fire Was Brought

#ALNgoes. My snaps, selfies and summarised account of my sixth and best visit of MTN Bushfire 2018.

Gallery

I haven’t done an ALNthrowback in a minute so here is a recent one in gallery format. While I was at Afrika Burn I met one of the kindest, loveliest, most beautiful and severely talented photographer from Mexico, Mariana Martinez de Alba. We instantly fell for each other and showered one another with love and appreciation… Oh and took the most insane pictures ever!!

It was so easy to perform, come alive, express and just be my gender bending self in front of her lens. The product was Brutal! The name of this series of photos was inspired by Ceci, Mariana’s sister. Ceci reacted to one of the photos we had taken by yelling out “brutal!!!!” in Spanish (Pronounced broo-tal). We all instantly died and I had to know the meaning as I wasn’t sure if it was the same in English. It was the same and much more. Basically savage, fierce, sick! It’s all in the way you say it.

My fellow hunty in brutalia Treyvone is also featured in the shots. I’ve been gagging to unleash these. I hope you like them as much as we do.

Brutal Motion

Brutal Xscape

Brutal Glam

Brutal Twilight

Follow this gorgeous gem of a human on her Facebook fanpage for more of her Afrika Burn photos and other work. Gracias Mariana, mi amor. ❤

ALNlewks., ALNthrowbacks.

BRUTAL: Aya x Mariana

A beautiful and unintentional collaboration with the talented Mexico based photographer Mariana at Afrika Burn. This is Brutal.

Gallery
ALNgoes., ALNthrowbacks.

Going BIG at Little Gig

For my first post for ALNgoes I decided to go back and throwback to not so long ago when I went to the Little Gig 24 Hour Festival 2018. It was my first time attending this relatively young fest, but it certainly wont be my last. After putting up some pics on Instagram I got a few DMs from friends asking about the fest, where it is, how it was and how I even got to know about it. So here you have it!

Little Gig is held in a foresty farm about 40 minutes from Cape Town. Basically Stellenbosch tbh. I probably first heard about it from a Facebook ad – we all know how they are all up in our activities. I wasn’t fully convinced until I watched the recap video of last years festival… It just looked so great. The venue, vibe and style. Paired with the insane lineup which included personal faves; Nonku Phiri, Bongeziwe Mabandla, Umlilo & The Stash Crew, Kid Fonque and Kenzhero there was no way I wasn’t gonna go. Some people thought that it was crazy to go all the way down to Cape Town for a festival, but let’s be honest we’ve all flown across the country for much less exciting things. My bestie was celebrating a birthday and we made it a thing. Simple.

It was AH-MAZING! It was totes a thing! It’s literally 24 hours. You do with that time as you wish. The fashion was out of control, in the best way. It was safe. I felt safe. I was pretty much dressed in a doily and some high waisted shorts all day and people thought that was cool. I liked that. Most would look at the ticket price and think it’s way too much, but for what you get from it – honey take it ALL! The bars were flowing all day because it’s all inclusive so no tapping of cards or counting coins. Food was non-stop gourmety and delicious goodness. A Vida e Cafe popped up on Sunday morning for that first cuppa to activate the senses which may have dimmed after all that day drinking And get this… There was a ‘Free Store’ were you could get anything from toothbrushes, cigarettes, tampons to cashews and some gum. All Woolies babes! Mahala. I naturally raided the store on my way out the next day. Padkos vibes. 😉

The crowd was a decent mix, probably more diverse than previous years but still very white (obvs Cape Town nice things). I was just really happy to see so many  of my beautiful happy queer family there doing all the things.

 

 

I didn’t think it could get any better at one point but when the sun made it’s way to the other parts of the world, the party really kicked in. A basketball court was converted into a stage where Black Motion played a killer set. Then much later a secret after-party was revealed at another part of the farm which was a jump! Doowap kicked things off with her always welcomed high energy set and was followed by more interesting DJs. Oh and the bar was still running with a slapchip stand to grease everyone up before bed.

After a full day of drinking, the morning after wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. No major hangover, but a great breakfast spread and fresh juice certainly helped to keep me stable. Samthing Soweto sang the blues while everyone eased themselves back into reality with mimosas in hand.

I can’t account for everything, but just know that I had a blast at Little Gig. Shout out to my crew Jerri, Siya, Abe and homegirl from Namibia Wendy. You guys really made the fest that much better. Let’s do it again next year gang!

 

Check out more snaps on the Little Gig gallery and also According to Jerri for his gallery post on the fest.

Standard