Ladies' Night Done Right

Pussy Party, Not Sorry Club and femme-centric nightlife

Words: Afrika Lethabo Bogatsu | Photographs: Max Thomik

A night out on the town can be quite an ordeal for womxn and femme folks; from the bouncers frisking you and the guy serving you drinks to the man behind the decks dropping the same hits by the sex offending prick you heard in the Uber on the way to the club. The music events industry/scene is quite the sausage fest.

This is often perpetuated by mainstream brands and their marketing and sponsorship deals which are often painfully regressive and out of touch with what is actually happening in the scene.

Anthea Duce, Cape Town-based graphic designer and events promoter (best known for her pioneering work with Cold Turkey), was inspired by the lack of awareness and acknowledgement of womxn working in the music industry – both behind the scenes and on stage. Her new project, Not Sorry Club, was borne out of her frustration with insufficient inclusivity. The project intends to be a club in the literal sense – a femme-centric community of sorts – focused on bringing underexposed artists to the fore, where they can share more than just a stage with more established artists, and create more possibilities for collaborative work with them too.

Anthea says the hope is that femme-driven events raise the profile of the artists to more than just token bookings but rather artists that are valued and highly considered, because “having a token female on the lineup is insulting.”

As much as the organisation and lineup are important, it’s the vibe that doesn’t lie and inclusivity is something that goes beyond who’s on the line-up

“Elevating femme talent is one step to elevating femme energy in the club.” says Rosie Parade, co-founder and co-resident of Pussy Party, a pro-femme community with monthly parties and DJ workshops at The Bar Currently Known as Kitcheners.

The vibe is really important too. “We recognise that the DJ holds a position of power in the club.” She says the more women in those positions of power – and wielding it a meaningful and positive way – the more change we’ll see, and the change is really needed. There aren’t nearly enough safe spaces where womxn and femme folk can learn and experience new sounds and have a good time, without having to deal with the often sexualised nature of the music events scene.”

“Pussy Party is not the end goal, I don't think that 'all-girl' line ups are the aim. It’s an affirmative action type project – once we're correct, we won’t need this.” says Rosie.

Both Pussy Party and Not Sorry Club agree that the music industry is competitive, discriminatory and violent, but believe that through inclusivity they can overthrow that dynamic behind the decks and on the dancefloor. We can challenge the status quo and create much needed inclusivity and visibility through conversations sparked by projects like Not Sorry Club and Pussy Party and their partnership with the British Council to bring international femme artist Ikonika for some shows and workshops.

With a career spanning about 10 years, Ikonika has worked with the likes of Azealia Banks and toured the world.

By the time this article is out, she will have performed at Pussy Party and Broaden A New Sound’s events in Joburg, and this weekend she’ll be in Durban (Friday March 3rd) and Cape Town at Not Sorry Club’s launch on Saturday . She’ll also be teaching and sharing her passion for new exciting sounds and her technical skills with budding local femme DJ’s and producers with a teaching residency, brought to you by British Council’s Connect ZA and Broaden A New Sound. All workshop details here.