An evening filled with hilariously scandalous commentary from the MC, Feathers veteran Somizi; awe-inspiring performances from Nhlanhla Nciza, the Mzansi Gay Choir, and Zoe Modiga; surprise appearances from reality TV stars Evodia ‘Madame’ Mogase and her daughter Mercy; coupled with incredible choreography and a dazzling stage production, the Feathers once again delivered the phenomenal spectacle audiences have learnt to expect from the event.
The most anticipated item of the evening, the winner’s list reads like a roll-call of Mzansi’s most inspiring, most amusing, most controversial, and most admired personalities. From the tongue-in-cheek categories like ‘Drama Queen of the Year’ and ‘Fag Hag’, to the thoughtful ‘Role Model of the Year’ and ‘African Feather of the Year’ that pay tribute to figures in the LGBTIQ+ community who’ve inspired through their activism and commitment to the community, the Feather Awards ceremony was a moving reflection of the evolution that the platform has undergone in the last decade.
Originally purely a cheeky, controversial event, the Feathers has since grown into a platform that now also comprises of various community-facing initiatives that take place over the year, notably the community dialogues in urban and rural areas that discuss issues about LGBTIQ+ rights, needs and interests, and the training of law enforcement officers in partnership with the Gauteng Community Safety Department to increase safety and reduce incidences of secondary victimisation.
“To make it to 10 years is a dream made real,” comments Thami Kotlolo, co-founder of the Feather Awards. “I have been awed and inspired by the support that we’ve received from the community at large over the years. There’s no way we would have made it this far without them. That said, it hasn’t been easy, either - we address issues that many consider sensitive, and they’d rather ‘play safe’ and not get involved, so we don’t take for granted the many artists, activists, public personalities, partners and sponsors who’ve been unwavering in their support. I can only extend thanks to them by promising to stay committed to the cause, and ensure that the Feathers grows from strength to strength. We’ve only just gotten started, baby!”
The winners list delivered the usual joy, surprises and laughs – from Drama Queen of the Year – AKA and the Matlapa (the stones he claimed to have found in his wardrobe, and tweeted his suspicions that they were used for muti-purposes by his then-partner, causing a Twitterstorm), to bae of the moment Michelle Mosalakae who took home the ‘Hot Chick of the Year’, and the irrepressible Thembsie Matu, who scooped the Diva Extraordinaire prize. Kenyan editor and LGBTIQ+ activist Denis Nzioka was awarded the African Feather of the Year prize, and Phumi Mthethwa, renowned for her activism and participation in social justice bodies such as the Treatment Action Campaign, the International Lesbian and Gay Association, and the Masithandane Collective, was accorded the inaugural Simon Nkoli Award – previously known as the ‘Feather of the Year’ Award.