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,ย 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 queer feminist writer and photographer who is usually based in Portland, OR but is currently thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Find her on twitter and instagram or at her personal blog,

Vanessa has written 212 articles for us.


  1. 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).

  2. I, too, am unfamiliar with Curly Wurlys(?). Anyway, confections asideโ€ฆ

    Itโ€™s just my luck that thereโ€™d be a South African Straddler Meet Up during my month-long university breakโ€ฆon just about the other side of the country. :/ Usually, living in Johannesburg is pretty great. Now? Not so much. ๐Ÿ™

  3. 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ I bet you will make so many SAStraddlers super duper happy by being there to hug them (with consent) and smile at their faces!

  4. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ And Mrs Balls Chutney.

    Pity you aren’t coming to Johannesburg!

    • 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!

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