• Eunice Stoltz

44 years later

“Do you know how long I have been looking for you?”

He answers: “44 years”.


Two months ago Borderlines published a story Being Queen(r), which depicts the life of Sandy Lentoor, or Sandra Dee, a drag queen from the 1970s in Cape Town.

During her interview with Borderlines, she mentioned a photographer, Jac de Villiers, who took photos of her in District Six; photos she describes as ‘just fabulous’. According to Sandra the photographer now resided in the United Kingdom which means her chance of ever seeing the pictures are slim.

Little did we know.

An easy Google-search for ‘Jac de Villiers’ lead to a website showing pictures from the renowned rugby player, Jonah Lomu, to Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a much younger President Cyril Ramaphosa. Not sure whether it’s the same Jac de Villiers, Borderlines reached out to him with an inquiry sounding somewhat like the following: are you Jac de Villiers, a photographer living in the UK who 40 years ago took photos of a drag queen called Sandra Dee and you don’t perhaps still have those photos?

There was a yes to almost every question, except he doesn’t live in the UK, he is in Cape Town. He would gladly print the photos, and join Borderlines to hand it over to Sandra Dee. We just have to wait a while as Sunday Times – written by the very same journalist who accompanied Jac 44 years ago in District Six, Lin Sampson – is doing a story about the famous drag queens of the ‘70s and ’80s, in which his photos will be used.

Sandra Dee and Jac de Villiers meet again after 44 years

We met Sandra in Hanover Park at Youth Impact Sustainable Solutions (YISS), where she coaches hairdressing.

She looked at Jac and asked: “Do you know how long I have been looking for you?”

Upon which he replied: “44 years”.

Sandra recalls the day, saying ‘we were coming from the beach, standing in Russel Street in District Six.’

Jac replies: “Yes, we came up the road and saw this sort of street theatre, and I had my camera with me.”

Sandra Dee and Jac de Villiers, holding the iconic photo he took of Sandra Dee

Jac de Villiers, signing the photos in which Sandra Dee, Madame Two Swords, Miranda Trefoil, and Tamara Dopson, poses.

44-years later, Jac again takes a picture of Sandra Dee; the background is somewhat different, but the synergy between photographer and model was still present.