The romance of being free

By Khaya Ndaba

Described as weird, free, and a creative force to be reckoned with, Desire Marea makes his return after having disappeared from the music world. 

Buyani Duma, 31, aka Desire Marea, was born in Amandawe, Kwa-Zulu Natal and is a multidisciplinary artist who dabbles in fashion, music and visual arts. He is best known for his work in the queer duo called “FAKA”, founded with Fela Gucci in 2015. 

The pair went on to tour South Africa and the world; most notably, they performed at the Donatella Versace SS19 Fashion Show in Milan in 2018 and collaborated with Telfar at the Serpentine Gallery in London for their SS19 range. They also performed at the New York Fashion Week 2019. 

Among other accolades they have been included in the Vogue World 100 and Dazed 100 lists. 

Desire subsequently embarked on a solo career in 2019, with his debut single “You Think I’m Horny” followed up with his self-titled album Desire Marea in 2020 under the Izimakade record label. It received critical acclaim from critics locally and internationally. 

However, after a sudden hiatus after his UK-EU Tour in 2022, many fans were asking “where is Desire?” 


That question was answered when he dropped a statement relaying his account of spiritual turmoil after performing at the Fontallenato Lost Music Festival in June 2022. 

“I remember the enchanted thwasa who was in Italy barely a month after graduation, staining the hotel pillows with red dumane clay residues, experiencing the beauty of the world again after having witnessed my own death,” he said. 

“I’d been invited there to shoot a magazine cover for one of the greatest publications, for the biggest Italian brand, shot exclusively at their vault in Florence. I would have never imagined this was a possibility for me after months of disappearing from the world to undergo initiation.” 

With the release of his single ‘Rah’ featuring Zoe Modiga (2023), his spiritual journey has deepened after initiation. 

“I think I understand now. After releasing ‘Rah’, I made the commitment to no longer stress about the worldly aspects of this release. I wanted my vibration with the Desire who dreamt this music into existence.” 

This was conveyed with his live performance at the Market Theatre on Saturday 13 May to launch his album The Romance of Being — a live performance with a seven-piece band, lit with a red ambient lighting and Desire standing in the middle serenading the audience under a bright spotlight. It was clear he was blooming into the next phase of his career. 

Desire has re-emerged with his latest music video called “Be Free” which has been nominated for the D&AD for Best Direction and Best Performance in a Music Video 2023. He is scheduled to perform at the MTN Bushfire from May 26-28.

Image credit: Desire Marea

Video credit: Khaya Ndaba

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