Community Building 101 With Bat Farmer Val – by Nadine

It’s an honor for me to interview the person who is regarded as the founder of the South African Vampyre Community – Octarine Valur. For those who are not familiar with the SAVA – it is an organization which was established in May 2011 to serve and build the Vampyre Community in South Africa. The intention of this interview is to discuss issues affecting the Community, such as the activity and growth of the SA VC – both inside and outside the country, and the gradual exposure of their subculture to the rest of the population.

 

Nadine: Why “bat farming”?

Val: It’s a bit of a private joke – Vampyres sometimes jokingly refer to each other as “bats”. Sometimes we call newcomers to the VC or the newly awakened “baby bats”. Sometimes we call newcomers to the VC or the newly awakened “baby bats”. We call vamps we think are a little crazy or overly dramatic “fruit bats”. “Bat farming” is a reference to building a Vampyre community, growing it, gaining new members, dealing with issues that come up, and so on. You could say I’ve been “Bat Farmer Val” and “farming bats” for almost the past three years now. It’s a passion, and like most passions (and like bats and actual Vampyres), there are risks – sometimes you get bitten.

Nadine: Val, how do you cope with the confrontations that sometimes arise in the OVC?

Val: In my view, confrontations in the OVC are pretty much the same as confrontations anywhere else, except that they include Vampyres. Quite honestly after a while, confrontational behavior does become a little tedious. Anyone who knows me in person knows I don’t like drama – and I like confrontation even less than drama. However, I’ve been an activist for several different human rights organizations over a number of years, and so I’m used to doing what I think needs to be done. Being an activist for human rights has similarities to building a local Vampyre community – you have to expect some confrontation and some drama. It’s an occupational hazard – like eggs and omelets.

Knowing I’m making a positive difference in what I do is what makes it all worthwhile. Sometimes you attract all sorts of hostile characters along the way, people who send threatening emails to your mailbox, or leave unmarked letters on your doorstep in order to drop the hint that they know where you live. Finding that your car has been vandalized overnight, or in a mall parking lot for example, is unpleasant, but you tend to start looking on the bright side. I adopted the philosophy that no matter how bad things get, they could always, ALWAYS be worse – and then things don’t look so bad. A healthy sense of humor helps, definitely – and I admit mine is pretty strange. Over time I have taken to sitting at the fireside and reading various assorted (and often mis-spelled) hate mail and even death threats over a few glasses of red wine for a good laugh.

Nadine: How do you see the SA VC at the moment and where do you think it’s heading?

Val: Quite honestly? Up. The SA VC is young and it’s new. It’s growing quickly, while we gain experience and learn along the way, figuring out what works and what doesn’t work for us as a uniquely South African subculture. As South Africans, we have that drive, the pioneer spirit if you will, to succeed, find a work-around, and make it work. Looking back at where the first few of us started connecting with each other in 2010 up to when we founded the SAVA last year, and where we are now – it’s been quite a ride. If we’ve taken three years to get to this point, imagine where we will be in another three years? I think the sky is the limit. It’s exciting!

Nadine: Does the international VC have any kind of impact on the SA VC?

Val: Definitely. Since the very beginning we have looked toward the international subculture and its history for advice, hints and tips – what worked for them, what went wrong, and we’ve worked to avoid the same mistakes they made. We have to remember that we are a young community compared to older VC’s that have been around in their present form for more than twenty odd years now. There is a lot of history there.

As we’ve grown and developed, our involvement in the international arena via the OVC has pretty much kept pace. We have ties with numerous foreign communities and interact frequently, exchanging ideas, co-operating with each other on various projects and often assisting each other when asked. Over time we’ve taken the lessons we’ve learned from our experiences and made an effort to pass this on to younger, newer developing communities – paying it forward, so to speak.

Nadine: Can you tell our readers a bit more about the early days of the establishment of SAVA or House Valur?

a. How did you do it?

Val: With two elephants and some fancy language, LOL. I started House Valur in February 2010. At that stage there were very few of us here out in the open. It wasn’t easy to find members, but we were enthusiastic and had big plans for it to grow. At that point the big issue was finding local kin, and looking online didn’t help very much at all. At first, we looked on international forums for South Africans, and found a very small few. Although the House is secular, at one point we were all Wiccans, because all the first members were found through a local Wiccan coven. Later, Facebook was invaluable in finding others. As with most groups like ours, members always come and go – for whatever reason, but over time we found others around the country, later another group (House of Havoc), then some more members, networked with them – and voila – SAVA.

b. Trust is a key factor in the establishment of any organisation. How did you trust people whom you never met with physically?

Val: Trust is vital, but even when I think of people I’ve met face to face, I still think trust can be an issue. Of course, I met all the members of House Valur face to face for their initial interviews, and we’ve had regular socials and meet-ups. I think the key to a House or coven is friendship, and that takes time to build on. It’s the same with community building – there has to be more than just having something in common with others, or people would prefer to just sign up for a mailing list instead of wanting to interact with each other.

When dealing with people you’ve never physically sat down and interacted with, it’s hard to know what to expect from them. As you get to know each other virtually or online, and via telephone conversations, you begin to get a feel for them, and to know how far you can trust them. Psi’s of my acquaintance have an advantage because they can appreciate the energy of those they interact with online, but in my experience, people soon prove themselves trustworthy or untrustworthy. You just need to wait for them to run out of whatever rope you give them. Again, the omelette theory. In House Valur and the SAVA we’ve had disappointments. Some have abused the trust we’ve shown them. Do we give up? No. We absorb the damage, get up, and move on.

Nadine: What problems did you face in early days of the SA VC?

The biggest problem was finding members – and then once we found members in remote parts of the country, they didn’t know where to start looking for others in their area either. It took time, and it was very frustrating. Some people although enthusiastic at first, simply gave up and vanished. This took some time to get over. This isn’t such a big issue now, because everybody knows somebody. But there are still parts of the country where we have blank gray spaces on the map.

Nadine: How did you deal with conflicts between Pagan and Vampyre society?

An issue we faced last year was interacting with the Pagan community in South Africa. We found that many Vampyres were drawn to Paganism and especially Wicca, and that while many Pagans we encountered knew of the existence of Vampyres, few actually knew any personally. When we began looking for new members, this sometimes brought us into conflict with Pagans who were either ignorant of Vampyres, or territorial, or outright hostile – or all three. Mostly we found a great deal of acceptance and friendliness in that community, but when it became general knowledge to Pagans that we had formed a community body, there was something of an upset. From the outset, we had made it very clear that as a community we were not trying to get vampyrism or Vampyre spirituality recognized as a Pagan faith, or to “muscle” in on the religion business as it were – but to find others like us.

The notion that being Pagan and being Vampyre are not necessarily two mutually exclusive things, was rather unpopular with some Pagan folks at the time, and quite predictably, this led to drama. In the end, community leaders in both communities managed to get things to cool down. Since then we have promoted tolerance among Pagans for vampyric people who also happened to follow Pagan paths, and established very good relations with two Pagan representative bodies in South Africa. With very few exceptions, there is no longer any question of Vampyres being targeted in Pagan circles if they become known as Vampyres. In fact, since the drama died down, more Vampyres and Shinai friends drawn to us through Pagan circles have come to interact more openly with us.

Nadine: How do you feel about the current leaders of the VC?

The Vampyre Community as I see it, is a community based on the notion of Vampyre nature, and whatever anomalies we can find in the culture(s) we may associate with our nature as Vampyres. True, every House, coven or group will have a leader figure, regardless of how they came to that role. Sometimes, Houses and smaller groups will link together or affiliate, but pretty much that’s as far as it goes. It’s not as if there is anyone sitting at the top of a huge VC pyramid wearing a title like “King of all Vampyres” and telling the whole world’s population of vamps what to do.

The place where leaders of the world’s groups and communities do interact is online. The truth is that there is no central authority in the global VC, groups do things together because it’s something they agree on, not because anyone is “making” them do it – and more often, when Vampyres agree on anything, it is usually on things that are “common sense”. Just like there are all sorts of Vampyres out there, there are different kinds of leaders in the community. Some are there to do something for the community, while others are there to help themselves at the expense of the community. I aspire to the former, and so I like to associate with leaders in the community that I feel I share common ground with.

Nadine: What would you like to see happen in SA?

I would like to see the SA VC continue to grow in terms of size of membership. There are still a few unopened Halos on our map. Although we’ve started having small events and gatherings around the country, there needs to be more in order to improve cohesion, real life interaction and the formation of friendships and so on – this is the sort of thing that grows and strengthens a growing community and also works to dispel the notion that the VC is “only a bunch of kids sitting at a PC all day” with no real life interaction at all.

Nadine: From interviews I have done with a lot of members locally and internationally there seems to be a lot of questions around the forces that drive someone to create a House.

a. Do you feel you are qualified enough to be in a position to have started it?

Val: I think those asking this sort of question need to look at the context of the South African situation. Where there is no infrastructure, no teachers, no mentors, and no existing Houses, what does it really take to get it all started?

If there are no Houses to join, or groups to apply to, what should be done? Should I have waited until one day, “someone else” came along to start a House and then offer me a chance to gain the experience they deem necessary to do these things? Or should someone in this position do it anyway, and gather the experience along the way? After all, someone had to do it, someone had to be the first one. At the end of it all, there was no Vampyre culture here before, just solitary Vampyres with no sense of community. Now we have a community and several groups which meet offline as well as interact online. Had I not taken the initiative, I might still be waiting for someone to come and tap me on the shoulder and give me their blessing to start a House. If someone has the leadership skills and experience, and the drive, passion and dedication to do it – and is also a Vampyre, then how are they not qualified?

b. Did you get authorization from the internationally based VC to proceed with the house implementation or was your idea treated with much conflict?

Val: Authorization? No. I didn’t have the necessary contact details for the ultra-secret Vampyre Supreme Council of the Vampyre Nation (which is rumored to be located in a castle somewhere in Transylvania) so I just had to wing it and hope they didn’t notice. Just kidding. I could be wrong though, there might well be some very, very annoyed Elder vamps in the basement level of a night club under a New York skyscraper, discussing this upstart cheeky little vamp in South Africa – and searching for a way to revoke my Vampyre card – but if there are, I don’t know them.

c. Do you feel that your 3 years of experience can count with regards to putting down laws that would have international impact?

Val: Laws are common sense. If they aren’t they shouldn’t be law. I may have only three years experience as a community builder in the VC, but I have 39 years life experience behind me, having served in the military for 17 of those years, as well as being the Director of a community based human rights organization for 3 years, and still serving on the Board of another since the mid 2000’s – I hope that counts for something.

d. Why did you start a House?

Val: It seemed like a good place to start. I had spent some time searching every avenue I could for evidence of a local VC, or a group or House in my city, and came up empty-handed. At the time I felt the best way to get the ball rolling was to find others in my area and grow the very local community and for our own House. If there had been a House here at the time, I would probably have joined that instead and been content with it – but there wasn’t. SAVA and the SA VC as it is today is a direct result of that lacking. I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide “Oh, I think I’ll start a new nationwide Vampyre Community today!”

e. Why not rather a haven?

Val: To my understanding, a haven is a place where Vampyres and sometimes non-Vampyres can gather, socialize and discuss community issues freely. In order for me to set up a haven, I would have had to find a Vampyre in my area who owned a venue, such as a restaurant or a club – and unfortunately I haven’t found one of those yet. Alternately, I would have had to open such a venue of my own. Don’t think I haven’t thought about it. Meanwhile, we have been having gatherings at member’s private homes, and there has been at least three rather well attended local public gatherings including one birthday party at a local pub) since last year. We are planning more.

Nadine: What do you think about the theory that the Vampyre soul is immortal and reincarnates itself as a Vampyre in every life?

Val: I think it’s a nice theory. I’m partial to the theory of reincarnation. I’ve been told lots of similar things by several psychics. I’ve had several past-life regression sessions out of curiosity and as part of my own spiritual journey – but the mechanics of it all are still mysterious to me. Whether anything – even a soul – is truly immortal, is something I cannot answer.

Nadine: What do you think about the theory that Vampyrism is caused by a hole in the core chakra?

Val: I feel that as people go through life after life, our spirit entities gather experience, power and energies, and we grow and develop as individuals – and over many lives, perhaps what happens to that soul results in a vampyric person, a “leaky bucket” in successive lifetimes. Still, just a theory, but I like philosophy.

Nadine:. We have read about the origins of the fictional vampire everywhere – what are the origins of true Vampyrism?

Val: LOL I didn’t get that memo, sorry. I’m sure if I could answer that question, I wouldn’t have any problem finding the Kruger Millions, or solving the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle, or of how many procrastinators it takes to change a light bulb.

I could tell you what I think though, that vampyric people seem to occur in family lines, and to me that indicates that vampyrism is an inherited nature. That suggests it goes all the way back to antiquity, to times when we didn’t carry the name “Vampyre” or “vampire”, and before the time we were associated with Bela Lugosi – or walking corpses, or all the stereotypes that come from Catholic tradition. Whatever it is, it predates even the “Strigoi” and the ancient Roman and Greek legends of the “Stryx”, the “Lamia” and the still older Egyptian and Mesopotamian myths of the Akharu and Ekkimu as vampyric beings. It’s one of those enduring mysteries – you might as well ask whether humankind comes from a god-creation myth, or via evolution, or even from an ancient alien genetics lab. I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone else does either.

Nadine: How does the SA VC feel about the phenomenon of Psi Vampyres and hybrid feeders in the VC?

Val: I haven’t encountered any serious hostility or friction between sanguine, hybrid or psi Vampyres in the local community. In fact, most of the sanguine Vampyres we know of in the SA VC currently appear to use more than just one primary feeding method or source, with very few being limited or limiting themselves exclusively to blood. I’m not sure if this is due to their abilities, or because of a difference in perception from other places. Further, there is no stigma attached to identifying within the local community as one or the other.

In the SA VC we have worked to prevent a recurrence of the mindset that led to the Psi-Sang conflict in the formative stages of the modern VC. For that reason, we reinforce the idea that all Vampyres are equally Vampyres regardless of their feeding methods, or sources. We also introduced the term “Omnivore” to replace “hybrid” because we felt it better to classify feeding methods rather than to classify Vampyres, and because we felt that “hybrid” somehow implied that an omnivorous feeder was lesser than other Vampyres – and we want all Vampyres to feel equal as Vampyres. Recently we opened the debate on sexual vampyrism and were surprised at the responses we had, including several incidences of “coming out” by those who employed these feeding methods and had been either too shy or too afraid of rejection to interact previously.

Nadine: How does the SA VC feel about the Otherkin phenomenon and how does that affect the VC, specifically SAVC?

While the SAVA sees the Vampyre Community as being primarily focused on Vampyres as a community, we welcome Otherkin in our groups in the same way as Shinai or non-Vampyres who join or participate as black swans. In our open online group, and on one forum, Vampyres and Otherkin mingle and interact freely and without incident – at least, based on being Otherkin or Vampyre.

South Africans are accustomed to diversity and being friends or at least friendly with people of other cultures, so it’s not a big deal for us. Having Otherkin interacting with us, for example on the “Friends” group on Facebook, enriches our experience, increases our network and outreach, and adds spice to the pot. Otherkin in South Africa do not have any local known forums or community bodies like the SAVA, and so they interact with others on international groups and forums like local Vampyres did before. Recently, we were pleased to counter a pack of Wolf therians, some of whom are now also interacting with the community on the open “Friends” group. Some of the members are currently busy arranging a social function/friendly sporting event for the near future.

Nadine: There seems to be quite a lot said about the SA community which does leave many internationals to wonder whether the “international” image of SA is hindering the efforts of the SA VC. What are your views?

Val: If you mean the public image of South Africa as a whole, I suppose I can understand that some people abroad have reservations in dealing with us. For many years, this country was isolated and treated as a pariah among nations. Times have changed though, and South Africans of all kinds are leading the way in many different fields – both at home and abroad. South Africa is again one of the top sporting nations in our traditional favorites like rugby and cricket, and there are several cultural exports such as music, bands, actors and so on. There is a downside, in that I feel South Africa represents itself poorly when it comes to government commitment to human rights issues, both internally as well as in its foreign policy. Cases of fraud and corruption in both government and the private sector abound, and as always, the issue of rising crime and especially violent crime is ever-present.

One issue I’ve noticed is that some people abroad have no idea what you’re talking about when you refer to South Africa – they think you mean the whole continent, as if it is one big country! It makes you wonder how they did at geography at school, or if they don’t know how to use Google. After all, I know the names and abbreviations of most of the states in the USA – and even some of the capital cities, and I’ve never even been there.

Almost unbelievably, one international group wanted nothing to do with us because we’re from South Africa – and because they made assumptions about what race groups our members were! South Africans are, broadly speaking, sick of race politics by now.
Strange thing though, is that many people prefer to make assumptions about others, where they’re from, what it’s like there, and who they are – without knowing anything about them, and apparently without making an effort to do so. Kudos to those who do! I think some, when they see “South Africa” probably think “Ah – what good could they possibly be?” and then dismiss us without a second thought. And then both groups lose out on what might have been.

Nadine: The international community is aware that there is still great fear, hatred and irrationality attached to the subject of witchcraft in SA. How does the SAVC see this as having bearing on what you are trying to achieve?

Val: We live in a country that has only experienced religious freedom for about fifteen years. Even today, schools and other institutions still enforce a rigidly Christian dogma on students, employees and society – even though theoretically, government and society is supposed to be secular. Our government and its behavior is heavily influenced by Christian evangelists vying for a chance to get some or other human rights or freedom law changed or repealed, pertaining to persecuted minorities, or to intellectual freedom.

Culturally, South Africa’s general mindset is still very much influenced by the Satanic Panic (SRA – Satanic Ritual Abuse) nonsense from the 1980’s, where if anything came in black, had a beat, or looked (or could be made to look) even slightly “un-Christian”, it was tarred and feathered in the press and media as “Satanism” or “devil worship” and people were told to “lock up their kids” or burn their rock or metal music or game cd’s. When a teenager went on a rampage with a sword at his high school some years ago, the media circus blamed rock music, PC games, “Satanism” and “permissive society”. Back in the day, being a Luciferian or Satanist was illegal and very much underground, as was Paganism – largely due to the profound ignorance about what Paganism was – and because it was so often confused with the nuts that went around stealing and sacrificing animals, who probably weren’t even actual Satanists. That’s why today you will still battle to find actual Luciferian – or even Pagan temples out in the open, and for the most part, even solitary practitioners keep things very much under cover. Even today there is a special police unit assigned to deal with “occult related” crimes.

In rural black South Africa, people live in fear of being accused of being a witch. As I participated in an information gathering effort for the local Pagan community, I can attest to the fact that every single case of murder, assault and intimidation centering around charges of “witchcraft” looked at between 2010 and 2012 involved an innocent person – usually elderly, who was simply accused or suspected of “witchcraft” by neighbors or relatives who were either swayed by superstition, ignorance, or because they had other motives, such as robbery or revenge or spite. In one province of this country, much under-reported, there are refugee camps for victims of witch hunts who were forced to flee their homes and villages to escape being murdered on accusations of “witch craft”. Often, the hunts for witches in rural areas are encouraged, precipitated and even led by local “sangoma’s” (witch-doctors) who are motivated by profit. If something goes wrong in someone’s life, then there must be a “witch” somewhere causing this ill luck, and they “must” be found and ended – and of course, this service comes at a price. In short, this entire tragic event, which is repeated almost weekly in rural South Africa, can be summed up with the tired excuse: “the devil made me do it”.

In urban areas, the fear is not as pervasive, and for most it’s easier to express other belief systems, without fear of death or mutilation. However, with the fundamentalist Christian mindset running through everything in our society, many people encounter prejudice based upon not just religion, but also sexual orientation, gender identity etc.

While we are acting within the framework of the law of this country, we are under no illusions that certain religious groupings would certainly take a dim view of our existence – even if they cannot legally do anything about it. Regardless, their interference would make things more complicated in some areas, there is no doubt. So while we have been more open in some areas, and in some communities, we have remained completely silent in others. I don’t think any action would be taken against a Vampyre group for existing or holding social events by any religious body wishing to be taken seriously once the news hits the headlines – but even so, I don’t think going knocking on any church doors looking for donations to start a local haven for needy Vampyres would be advisable.

Nadine: How do you distinguish (you/your group) from the greater vampire community? What makes you different?

Val: What makes us different? Perhaps I can illustrate this by means of a little story. During WW2, a couple of Allied commanders met up on a warship. During a break, they started a friendly banter about which nation was the bravest. After a while it got more heated, and they decided it was time to find a way to prove who was the bravest. “Americans are the bravest!” Said the American general. He called a marine over and ordered him to jump over the side into the freezing sea. The man saluted and did so without question, while the others looked on with respect. “Britons are the bravest!” Declared the Englishman, who called a commando over, and ordered him to take off his shirt and follow the marine. The soldier did so without question. The Russian General did the same, only in his underwear – and as they watched the Russian soldier vanish overboard into the icy water, the gathered commanders turned to the South African. “Well?” They asked. “Watch this!” He winked, and called Private Smit over. “Private! Take off all your clothes and jump over the side of the ship, double time, chop chop!” The private looked at him askance, and asked: “General, are you fucking mad?” The South African General turned to the astonished commanders and said: “Gentlemen, now THAT is bravery!”

We’re the only known Vampyre Community on the African continent. We’re innovative, and we learn quickly. We’re hungry for a community of our own, to have the thing that others around the world have had for so long, and take for granted. We don’t like drama, but we’re not afraid to face it or put off by it. Obstacles make the road we travel more interesting and provide a challenge.

Nadine: Lets take a closer look at you as a person – you are seen as a very strong individual, is that how you naturally are or is there something outside of you that gives you strength?

I’ve always been very determined to succeed at things I’m passionate about. I’m a Vampyre, and I believe it’s a bit of a stereotype that we are bad losers. I don’t like to lose (who does?) but even so, if I do lose friendly contests I try hard to be graceful about it. Of course, the important part is to not lose. When you get knocked down, you still haven’t lost. It’s when you get knocked down and stay down – that’s when you lose. What gives me that strength? I don’t know really. I’m not particularly religious any more, although I used to be a long time ago. I tend to see people relying on religion to get them through hard times as using a crutch, but while I respect their beliefs and their right to it, I don’t particularly find it applies to me.

Nadine: What has been your greatest challenge to overcome and how did you accomplish it?

Val: My greatest personal challenge was to find and accept myself as a person. I grew up confused about a lot of things. I was a little boy who felt he was really a little girl. To add to that, as I reached my teens, under pressure to conform, I wasn’t really attracted more to either boys or girls – and by the time I graduated high school, I was so far removed from who I was inside and ill-informed that I thought “all” gay boys really wanted to be girls. I had no clue about the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation. On top of that all, I was also sickly as a child – and had a powerful taste for blood. I have always had a habit of “nibbling” or “peeling” the skin on the inside of my mouth to get blood, often I used to chew little bits off my top lip, or gradually bite away warts from my fingers, of the kind that kids sometimes get. I remember once, I did that so badly I passed out in the middle of school assembly. I took to eating bits of raw “boerewors”, or meat and blood destined for the barbecue grill. I grew up in a religious environment, being indoctrinated with religious values that painted me as “evil” and “dangerous” just by the mere hint and suggestion that I did not fit in with societal norms and values that demanded I be a heterosexual Christian male.

I found both males and females attractive, and I was “evil” for that. I wanted to live as and to be fully female rather than male, and I was “evil” for that. I craved and needed blood to be healthy (even though I didn’t understand it at the time), and although I never hurt anyone to get it – I was also “evil” for that. Even though nobody even had a clue what was going on inside me – or that they were pressuring me to accept it and be happy with it. I could not. It took me a life’s journey to find myself – and there at the edge of the abyss, at the point of ending my own life, I accepted myself at last. Not as I was outside, but as I am inside. It was a long and gradual journey with agonizing obstacles along the way, but I am at last, whole. Now I know myself. I am female, it doesn’t matter the gender of who I form a relationship with, I am vampyric – and I have freed myself to express my nature as the person I am inside.

Nadine: Others may look at you in various different ways, how do you see yourself?

Val: That’s a tough one. I care about a lot of things, especially human rights and equality for all. I’m a fighter for the underdog, and a sucker for lost causes. I’m a loving and passionate person, but being a type INTJ personality, I express myself more distantly than I would often like to. I have often loved people with everything I had, and not received the same in return. I used to be quite the introvert, but over time have forced myself to interact more with people and these days I’m not really perceived to be an introvert at all. I still have my days though, where public speaking is more difficult than others, and it takes me longer to warm up. Self image? I was the misunderstood and bullied kid at school, until one day I snapped – and fractured a bully’s shin bone with an aluminum tennis racket. After that, I was just misunderstood.

Sometimes I can be a little self-critical, seeing my flaws and failures, and sometimes I can be a little unforgiving of these. I have some issues with my physical appearance, noticing tiny flaws that others don’t even care about, and I get all morbid about them! But then, what woman (and what transwoman) doesn’t have times like that? I have been an activist for close on 12 years now, but I suppose being an Aquarian, this is hardly surprising! I love history and music, art, philosophy and archaeology. In primary school I was the class nerd who spent breaks reading books about dinosaurs and history and sat awake through nights writing sci-fi stories. I enjoy the odd cup of coffee, earl gray tea, red wine, vodka and coke (the kind that comes in bottles).

Nadine: Based on everything said and done I feel it justified to say that without any and all of the above, the SAVC would not exist today. South Africa is an ever-changing country. We are a multi-cultured nation. Just that should already establish grounds where we are all able to accept direction from those that try to achieve things for the greater good – for a better future.

Val – thank you undertaking this interview I wish you and the community well in your future endeavors.

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About Octarine Valur

Octarine Valur - Founder: House Valur, South African Vampyre Community, South African Vampi(y)re Alliance (SAVA), SA Vampyre news (SAVN). View all posts by Octarine Valur

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