Glow Makatsi Shines Bright
As a trans woman, artist and instagram dream, Glow Makatsi is living her life outspoken and authentic. An advocate for living your truth, she reminds us that there is no fear in love: self love in particular. Alongside portraits shot by Tarryn Hatchett exclusively for the Jameson INDIE Channel, Glow shares her thoughts on trans representation and the gender conversation in South Africa, her journey so far and what goes into choosing a new name.
Independence to me means being free from the self-imposed chains of fear,
something which is an ongoing process.
Growing up, life was somewhat weird, you know, it’s very hard to grow up in a world that doesn’t show people like you as successful. There were no trans women doing this life thing brilliantly around me or on screen when I was in my formative years. Basically there was no mirror for me to look into and see the potential in myself. Sometimes you need to see other people do their thing to awaken the magic light within you.
When I had just come out as trans, I needed a new name. I was having a conversation with a close friend about our “glo-ups”. He’d mentioned how Glow would be such a cool name for a celebrity baby. It was so perfect that I decided then and there it was my new name. Coincidentally it low-key relates to my birth name Vusimuzi which in Zulu means to wake up the nations/community, and we wake up every day because the sun shines/glows for us to see. So the little connection was important because I believe in the African tradition of names carrying meaning and power.
Not enough conversations around gender and sexuality are happening in South Africa. It’s tragic. In other parts of the world you’ll see progressive TV shows telling “othered” narratives in a dignified, humanising way, the trans-list for instance in the US has such a powerful diverse cast. I will say there is progress on SA screens in terms of representation of the LBGTQ community, but it usually complies with hetero-norms and respectability politics. There are no radical representations. I don’t think we’ve had a trans person on screen since Iko Mash.
Gender identity politics are human rights issues, that’s what the world is missing in this discussion. That in the first place, people living on all of this earth should have the right to express and affirm what they feel. If we can settle it that all gender identities are valid even though some expressions have been pathologised, if we can reverse this contaminated binary thinking on gender, then we would have saved worlds.
There is nothing better than knowing that the only fear you feared was giving into what would have slowly killed you at the expense of making others happy while dishonouring your very heart, from which all of life flows. Live from the heart, the heart is guided by heavenly forces, it will never lead you wrong. You know what is best for you always. Just learn to hear when the heart speaks and you would have learned the secret to living a fulfilled, fearless life. Don’t forget: ‘There is no fear in love’.
I am, therefore what is on the inside will radiate on the outside.
Photography by Tarryn Hatchett
Styling & Words by Glow Makatsi
Follow Glow on Instagram: @glowmamiii