Will and Grace – South African version?

Sometimes you wonder if what you are experiencing is a dream or perhaps a TV show, and nobody told you were on it. Over the past months I’ve often joked about this to my housemate, as we seem to mimic a South African version of Will and Grace. Thanks to him I’ve probably met more gay then straight men, developed an appreciation for drag Queen shows and gossiped or analysed (depending on your point of view) more about (former) lovers than ever before.

I’ll give you an example. One of the first weeks I tag along to Mzoli’s to dance on a Sunday afternoon. Mzoli’s for those who don’t know it, is a very popular butcher in the middle of the township Gugulethu. People buy their own beer, the butcher provides meat to braai and a DJ to dance to a.k.a. fabulous party grounds. I ask my ‘Will’ whether he doesn’t mind me tagging along with his lover on their date and the answer I get: ‘No my dear you add aesthetic value.’

Another one, his parents come by, mind you driving down from a 1000 km up North. I get a call from ‘Will’: Grace, my parents will be there in about 2 hours, I’m not scheduled to be home for another 5 hours….’ Of course I welcomed them with coffee and fished for first hand embarrassing childhood gossip, although I’ve never met them. Lovely people by the way.

His parents also brought two lovely sausage dogs. There was only one problem: they couldn’t stay alone at home. They would just cry and the one to find out was me. After a long day I get home with a friend. And these girls are whimpering, moaning and shaking. Or howling outside in the garden when you let them out. They miss their ‘parents.’ After an hour of trying to calm them down, I call ‘Will’ in desperation: ‘Please, please ask your parents to come back to the house. The neighbour even stopped by to tell me they’ve been crying all day and they were setting off her dogs. And I had to talk through the door as I couldn’t find the key in all the chaos.’ When ‘Will’s’ parents finally came home, they did calm down, but I posted on Will’s facebook: ‘The next time we adopt children, you will be the one responsible to take care of them.’

We also analysed our parent-child relations in various conversations, and ‘Will’ remarked: ‘Mmm, I thought gay son-mother relations were complicated, but daughter-mother ones…’

We’re also very good at laughing at our own jokes, which includes inventing new words like ‘homogenius’ and ‘solutionalised’. Whether somebody else finds that funny, doesn’t really matter. We laugh rather loud giggles together.

I could go on for a while, but this weekend was another and for now final highlight. In honour of my birthday and last weekend here we went out in Khayelitsha, being taken round by my friend Eric who loves to show his hood, even when the company includes three gay men and only one woman. We visited a club that we had been before, but compared to an earlier visit it had improved: the front part now had a roof. Disregarding of course the pile of wood lying around for further renovation, uneven and unfinished concrete flooring and very unflattering fluorescent lighting. We danced nevertheless as the music was great. What I also had to ignore was the fact that there were four functional toilets in the ladies room, but no separation between them. Now I’m not exactly a prude, but this was for some reason too much. I couldn’t pee, while I really had too. I went back out and explained to ‘Will’. ‘Will’ then calls Eric and says: ‘Houston, we’ve got ourselves a problem.’ Both laughing out loud and my embarrassment growing. Their suggestion to go outside between the car and the shack we had parked in front of, seemed even less appealing. ‘Will’ once more: ‘Come on This Is Africa!’ Weighing my options I decided to give the communal bathroom one more try. I went in, sat down on the toilet and pfffew, relief. But, I couldn’t believe what happened next, a woman walks towards me with a big smile and shouts at me: ‘Haha, this is how we pee in Khayelitsha, we look at each other!’ She offers me a high five and asks: ‘Are you enjoying yourself?’

I can now say, I did enjoy myself. I did so for the past four months and I would gladly do it again. As living with such a great, friendly, crazily energetic, hairdressing and caring housemate has been wonderful and exactly what I needed. This one’s for you Attie: ‘Brand al die drama.’ I would gladly create some more, so we can discuss, laugh and dance again together!

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