South African Straddler Meet Up: Make It Happen With Vanessa

I don’t know if you know this about me, but my family is South African! Both my parents were born and raised in South Africa, and I lived there for a few years when I was a wee tiny child. My family moved around a fair bit and I finally landed with two feet on the ground in Brooklyn, but most of my extended family still lives in South Africa and every few years I get to go visit them. I love South Africa in the way you love a place that you have always been told is home, but I don’t know it very well. I was four years old when I left, and though both my parents have extremely strong ties to the country, it is more of a mystery to me. I definitely don’t know anything about being a big queermo in South Africa because last time I visited I was barely out to myself, let alone my family.

That’s where you guys come in!

I’m visiting Cape Town next week, and I really really really wanna meet you guys, if you exist! Based on some comments here and there I’m absolutely convinced that we have a handful of South African readers, and I think it would be so rad if I could meet you in person and shake your hands and drink a beverage with you and maybe even hug you if you’re okay with that. How does that sound? Are you interested? Do you like Curly Wurlys and biltong? I fucking love Curly Wurlys and biltong. Also Five Roses tea. Who likes Five Roses tea? Please tell me that’s not just me and my mom.

this is what a south african autostraddle meetup looks like in my mind graphic by the amazing intern chelsey

this is what a south african autostraddle meetup looks like in my mind
graphic by the amazing intern chelsey

Unlike typical meet-ups where we suggest A Thing and y’all show up, I want to open this up to some suggestions and opinions, because like I said, I’m not really the expert here. I’m just gonna show up wherever we decide and hope that some of you guys show up too, and if you don’t I’m gonna eat all the Curly Wurlys by myself and cry. Granted that actually only sounds 50% awful, but if you live in Cape Town and you’re free, please show up! I really wanna meet y’all.

The lovely commenter Katherine has been helping me brainstorm some places we could meet, and we have some tentative plans. This will definitely be going down on Saturday, July 6 at 7pm, but the question is where! I’m staying at the Waterfront so Katherine suggested Alba Lounge or Quay 4, and she also suggested Cafe Manhattan in Greenpoint or Cafe Extrablatt in Sea Point. What sounds good? Where should we go? Log in and tell me what you think in the comments, and I’ll pick a place by Friday, July 5 at the latest and update this post accordingly.

Hopefully some of you are South African and wanna come do this, because otherwise I’m spending my Saturday night in Cape Town drinking tea with my mom, so. See you soon, South African Straddlers!

UPDATE, 7/3/2013:

We’ve picked a place and we’ve made a Facebook event! We’re so fancy and real. Here’s what’s up:

WHEN: Saturday, July 6 at 7pm
WHERE: Neighbourhood, 163 Long Street, Cape Town
RSVP ON FACEBOOK: Please let us know if you’re coming so we can make a reservation!

Now I need to finish packing because I’m headed to the airport in an hour! SEE YOU SO SOON OMG.

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. I love this and I love you Vanessa. I really wish I lived in South Africa because eating candy with you sounds like the most perfect way to spend time.

  2. I’d wanna go just to be around Vanessa in floral print and to hear those awesome South African accents.

    Also, what’s a Curly Wurly? This is a regional Cadbury product not readily available in this part of the Commonwealth (Canada).

    • We should fly to South Africa solely for the purposes of hanging out with Vanessa and finding out what Curly Wurlys (Wurlies?) are.

    • Curly wurlies are delicious – essentially a caramel braid covered in chocolate.

      You can also get them in the UK and Australia (they make the ones for Oz in the Cadbury factory in NZ but don’t sell them here which is super lame)

    • I love Curly Wurlies!! You can occasionally get them at specialty candy stores in Canada, but they’re hella expensive here because they’re imported.

  3. I, too, am unfamiliar with Curly Wurlys(?). Anyway, confections aside…

    It’s just my luck that there’d be a South African Straddler Meet Up during my month-long university break…on just about the other side of the country. :/ Usually, living in Johannesburg is pretty great. Now? Not so much. :(

      • Aw, man…This is entirely upsetting. But on the upside, it’s pretty awesome to see that there are actually a handful of South African Straddlers around. :)

        • true! you guys should plan future meetups of your own! the australian coalition of straddlers are super prominent and the european groups are pretty visible too, but we’ve gotta work on the rest of the continents…

  4. Ugghhh I so wish I could hop on a plane to SA so that I could come to this meet up! You will have the best time :D I bet you will make so many SAStraddlers super duper happy by being there to hug them (with consent) and smile at their faces!

    • ok but really I tried a curly wurly once as a child and decided I didn’t like them because i liked crunchies better but maybe I should reevaluate? I was a strange and arbitrarily contrary child

    • i think they knew that i was really anxious no one would reply and then i would be sad so they are here to offer moral support. and appreciation for curly wurlys because duh.

      …i think so far we have one south african? GUYS ARE YOU OUT THERE?

  5. I have no idea what Curly Wurlys are and I have lived in South Africa all my life! Maybe it’s a Cape Town thing (I live in Joburg)

    But yes, Biltong is the food of the gods and five roses tea is awesome. So is rooibos. :) And Mrs Balls Chutney.

    Pity you aren’t coming to Johannesburg!

    • i’m gonna be in the joburg airport for a bit on my way home! but that seems like a really not-fun place to host a meetup, ya know?

  6. Looks like so far you got more Jo’burg Straddlers than CT ones!

    Also, what are Curly Wurlys??

    P.S Vanessa you won’t be drinking Five Roses alone on Saturday even if no one replies :) (I’ll be drinking Rooibos though)

  7. Aw man. I wish this was in Joburg. Curly Wurlys are quite a new thing to me, they weren’t around when I was a kid. And yes, Five Roses is the way forward :)

    • i’ve got a layover in joburg on my way back to new york, all you joburg straddlers should come hang with me at the airport!

  8. Can this holiday straddler thing become a thing? I’ll be in the US (DC and NYC) for 5 weeks from August and don’t know anybody- I would way rather meet straddlers than non-straddling people!

    • yes! you should join the dc and nyc straddler facebook groups! we’re also considering having an official meetup in nyc in august, so be on the look out! where are you traveling from?

  9. As a Brit who consumed a lot of Curly Wurlys as a child, I love that most of this thread is people wondering what on earth Curly Wurlys are. Curly Wurlys are awesome. You all should eat them.

      • well they’re cadbury i think, but i definitely have fond memories of eating them as a tiny human in joburg…hmmmm. i will investigate.

  10. Long time lurker here :) I live in CT and also like floral dresses but don’t know much about the queermo scene as I am preeeetty quiet. When will you be here?

  11. I am a Joburger living in Cape town, and this sounds good!

    My vote goes for Neighbourhood!

    Also never heard of Curlywurlys?!

  12. Also in Joburg. Sorry Vanessa. Don’t forget that it’s winter on this side of the planet and Cape Town can get pretty soggy this time of year.

    • i know! it’s not the best time of year to visit, but when your mom says “hey, wanna come with me to south africa?” you’re not ever in the position to say no! or at least i’m not…

      but i am sad to be missing out on seeing all you joburgers…perhaps one day in the future. you guys should all host your own meetup, too!

  13. See you in town then :-) I don’t know any of those places but I can make it there. Yeah and definitely bring warm gear.

    • yes! i answered your message but i’m intrigued and excited. can’t wait to meet you :)

  14. Aww guys I’m out. I have work/training in Stellenbosch this weekend. I’m feeling sad about this.

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