1- Why did you decide to create the TLV? You did it before or after the formation of House Valur?
House Valur was founded on 10 February 2010 by myself and two other members, both Vampyres. One of them is my Fledgling. The TLV was created afterwards, I think in September or October in its first form. It has been edited and updated a few times when I received good suggestions.
2- Why did you choose a text as the Black Veil as a reference when drafting the Totum Vampyrica Lex? And what do you think about the relationship between Black Veil and Vampire: The Masquerade, for you it was a problem when writing the TLV? How did you decide to address an issue so thorny?
In South Africa there is no visible Vampyre culture and what Vampyres I’ve met live quietly and hide their nature. Consequently there being no real Vampyre culture, there was no known Vampyre law or guide other than what I could find on the internet – mostly referring to the Black Veil. I decided to some research, and found some other law systems, none of them were as descriptive as the Black Veil. So I decided to look closer at the Black Veil. There are four versions of it, varying from the more sensible shorter version, to the longer and more theatrical “Masquerade” version. (Just in case you didn’t know, the V:tm game series was originally based on the real Vampyre club culture in the late 1990’s in New York, and not the other way round.) I was uncomfortable with the role-player association of the longer BV, so I started with the shorter version.
3- Were there other reference texts? Any other influences related to your education and life experiences?
I would say it was a lot of “common sense”, personal experience and applying it to some of the situations I’ve been in before. I also drew on the experience and suggestions of those who debated the TLV with me.
4- What are your reasons for making changes and inclusions on some ideas in the Black Veil, in order to write the TLV? Did you find that it was very necessary?
I realized that while it was pretty good, which is probably why most of the OVC seem to use it and refer to it, it was a bit “preachy” and not very focused or clear enough on some things. I thought it was also a bit incoherent and set about “improving” it. Once I started, I ended up with the first draft of the TLV.
5- How was the process of TLV development? Is it solely a creation of yours or other members of House Valur participated?
I would say I was responsible for the TLV, although I posted the draft TLV on a few websites as a suggestion, and asked for opinions. Whenever I got a good suggestion, I made changes and the current version is the result. The members of the House approved the final draft.
6- Why do you think many real vampires groups agree to have similar texts, where they deal with issues of morality, ethics and behavior relating to real vampires and vampirism?
I think the root of a community is having the same values and mores. It helps when groups relate with each other. I also think that when groups start up, their members prefer to use whatever laws other groups they know of are using, either because it’s easier and saves them the trouble of writing their own from the beginning, or because it means they will have the same laws as everybody else.
7- What do you think aboutsome texts well known in all countries, like The Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Do you think they blend well with texts like the TLV or similar?
I think the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the TLV are actually very different documents! The Declaration is aimed at the rights of all people while the TLV is a document aimed at an identity group giving guidelines on how they should interact with the rest of human society. I would say that the Declaration of Human Rights might support the TLV in that it supports the existence of various cultural groups such as ours, and encourages respect for diversity.
8- A very positive point I see in the TLV is the importance given to otherkins and donors. The message is very clear on your part. Why have you decided to do this? What feedback have you received from otherkin and donor community?
I’ve noticed that some Vampyres show little concern or consideration for the Donor or Otherkin communities, and this bothers me. I see the relationship between Vampyres and Donors as being a special one, and one that can only succeed if there is mutual admiration and respect. The community here in South Africa is young and new and I would like us to avoid the mistakes and issues I see in the more established parts of the VC, such as the “PSI-Sang War” and the vamps who advocate that Vampyres are predators and Mundanes are prey. We have a chance to make a fresh start here. That’s why the TLV encourages unity and community in the group.
9- House Valur is also integrated by otherkins, right? How did this connection come upbetween real vampires and otherkins, to create a House of real vampires? Do you recommend as a positive point to take into account in any real vampire House?
Lots of Vampyres start out as being uncertain what they are. Some Otherkin later realize that they’re actually Vampyres (this happened with one of our members recently), and although she was already welcome as part of the group, we were happy to welcome her as a fellow Vampyre too. The feedback I’ve had has been very positive.
10- What would you say are the differences between the real vampire community in South Africa and the international community? And the common ground?
See point 8.
11- This is something which our friend Terry Pratchett could use for make many jokes full of irony, the custom of many people to be guided by stereotypes and prejudices. In Occident we have the image of Africa as a place with elephants, lions and a preponderance of black people, a reality but also a topic for tourists. In Spain topics are bulls and flamenco dance and music, in Brazil it´s the carnival, etc. On the other hand we have the typical image of fiction vampire like someone very pale, European descent.
At any time you or those that integrate House Valur have suffered discrimination, either by having a skin too dark or too light? How to deal with so many topics on the fiction vampire, and many situations of ethnic prejudice and xenophobia in the nowadays, consider that you are part of a real vampire community in South Africa?
South African culture is quite diverse and I think everyone has suffered some form of discrimination at one or other time, for different reasons. I think today lots of light skinned people struggle to find work because of the government policies which discriminate on basis of race in favor of black people, which is now exactly the opposite of the former arrangement. I have experienced discrimination on the basis of my race, gender and sexual orientation, and sometimes religion also. But since I am closeted about being Vampyre, nobody knows that yet.
12- How is the current state of the real vampire community in South Africa? And throughout the African continent? Is there a lot of activity, groups, real vampires, otherkins, etc.? Please give me an overview of the situation there.
The RVC in South Africa is growing online. At the moment there are lots of small underground groups around the country, but they are VERY secretive and cult-like. I think they’re still used to hiding because the laws here used to be anti-witchcraft and so on. I think the internet is responsible for growth in the community.
13- Why build a vampyrehouse like House Valur?Also you have a blog, a forum, a historical project about vampires and vampirism… You are a very active person. Why so much enthusiasm to do things that involves the community?
I started the House because there was no other group for Vampyres in my area that I knew of and I wanted to help build the community in my area. I’m a passionate person and in my dayside life I do lots of human rights work, so I use a lot of that experience in my nightside life.
14- How the South African society looks over all about real vampires and vampirism? What feedback have you received since you participate actively in a House and other community projects?
I think over all, South African society is completely ignorant of the real Vampyre community. There are one or two scholars and church groups who know about the VC in the USA for example, but I don’t think they’re aware that there are Vampyres all over the world. There is one group that did a report on real Vampyres but they can’t seem to tell the difference between fact and fantasy and they bring Twilight into their report. The report they wrote is of course religious, and attacks what they don’t understand and dresses it up as a threat to their religion.
15- What are House Valur´s projects for the coming years?
At this stage our projects include the History Project, and that’s something of a fascination for me. Since this has been our first year it’s been a learning process. Next year we will be focusing on education of our members. We’ve developed a training course for our members, so that they have a good understanding of how the community should work, and safety aspects of vampirism, so that will be starting in early January. Other than that, I think we’ll just continue doing the things we’ve been doing so far haha. I’ve been busy with the IVA as well and representing the House on there. From my perspective, being involved in the IVA is a project of our House as well, so there is a lot of common ground.
16- A message to all the real vampires in the world…
A message? Hmm… Be free, be Vampyre haha. Seriously though, I think community is a very important part of who we are as Vampyres. Whether on or offline, interaction brings us together from all around the world until we realize that language is the only barrier, and that in the end, we are not alone.