‘I’m the celebrity here’
Don’t take a walk with Ycer (stage name) Machimana through the village of Mokgoloboto outside Tzaneen if you’re in a hurry. The 28-yearold is frequently stopped for acknowledgement and a chat. “I’m the celebrity here,” says Machimana, referring to her home village in Limpopo.
The transgender woman, a former male-pageant contestant and model, has swapped her dreadlocks and suits for make-up, flowing weaves and colourful dresses.
Machimana is upfront about her gender identity. She says her community has embraced her. Supportive family members include her mother, who is also her “best friend”.
Machimana, the 2015 Miss Gay Jozi pageant winner, recently travelled 420km to Joburg to hand the crown to her successor, Roxy Msizi (21), from Chiawelo, Soweto.
It was second time lucky for Msizi at the 2016 Miss Gay Jozi pageant, which took place at the Johannesburg City Hall at the end of last month.
“I have a voice now; people listen to you when you invite them to LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex] events because of this title,” says Msizi.
Jerome Camp, co-founder of the pageant, started Miss Gay Jozi to put Johannesburg on the map, in line with other provincial gay pageants in the country. It has grown to an event that attracts participants as far as Limpopo.
He describes it as a “great success”, the result of “extraordinary performances by the divas”.
“Pity about the lack of support, especially from our own community, who are often more critical,” says Camp. The pageant is in its fourth year. »
HOME AGAIN Miss Gay Jozi 2015 winner Ycer Machimana from Mokgoloboto village in Tzaneen. She is flanked by children playing football in the Limpopo village
Jozi 2016, Roxy Msizi Last year’s winner, Ycer Machimana (left), congratulates the newly crowned Miss Gay
STANDING TALL There was no shortage of high heels PASSING ON THE HONOUR