We aim at presenting new ideas of individuality and bring back dignity and true freedom to the youth.
“Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow” – John Lennon
WORDS: TRYBE COLLECTIVE
“Like Flowers Grow” is an ongoing project and expression of queer identity and visibility in Zimbabwe by Zimbabwean 21-year old’s Seth Jordan & Comfo Mo Czalo in collaboration with TRYBE Collective. Photographed by Comfo Mo Czalo (a member of TRYBE Collective) with muse Seth Jordan, this project aims at capturing and documenting the stories of queer and gender non- conforming youth in Zimbabwe. We wish to expose and reinterpret the current narrative of fear that has been associated with being queer, through art, fashion and photography. Furthermore, we aim at presenting new ideas of individuality and bring back dignity and true freedom to the youth.
TRYBE collective is a conscious creative collective started in Cape Town in 2017, by founders Ashley Smith, Babalwa Tom and Jesse Goosen. We aim at working in action to inspire revolution through artistic expression and multidisciplinary collaborations. Such collaborations across fields, genres and even countries is the future of art & cultural dialogue, as cultures inform each other.
This collaboration is the genesis of new queer content and queer history in the Zimbabwean context. It goes without saying that such open defiance of the status quo comes with resistance from the powers-that-be and the communities at large. This is the part art plays in creating a safe space for dialogue and restoration of human rights and legitimacy to the queer body.
“What makes our work so powerful is that we are Zimbabwean queer bodies photographing and reimaging our identities through fashion in Zimbabwe. This completely shifts the notion that being gay or queer is un-Zimbabwean, which is still an opinion held by many. Seth and my work is the beginning of queer literature, our generation is evolving and is becoming exposed to new ideas of identity we need our own healthy internal dialogue!”, Comfo writes.
In an interview with Seth, they revealed to us some of the challenges they face living as a genderless queer body in Zimbabwe. “Queer Africans, wanderers all alone on the road to self-discovery and self-acceptance. Living authentically is nothing but a daydream for many. The patriarchal system sees this as an act of rebellion”, they say. “In Africa they prefer “queer” anything not to be seen, heard or normalized”.
In conclusion, we can only hope for the awareness such content will bring. Our only assurance of true freedom is that this awareness will permeate from the internet to the real world we live, love and walk in. We will rise from this arid ground like flowers grow.