This essay argues that liberation is as much a sociocultural construct as it is a political or economic one. Extending the South African queer scholar Mikki van Zyl's analysis of the distinction between citizenship and belonging, I examine the concept of freedom in postapartheid South Africa through the lens of black queer bodies. Through an analysis of Cheaters, a popular radio program broadcast in Soweto; the late kwaito star Lebo Mathosa; and ethnographic observation in the form of “quotidian conversations,” I illuminate the contested terrain of queer sexuality in contemporary South Africa, particularly its intersection with class and race. Ultimately, I am interested in exploring how black queer bodies test the limits of freedom and liberation, exposing both the possibilities and the contradictions of the postapartheid state.

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