Hundreds celebrate Durban Pride

2015-06-27 16:30
Monique Walker, 55, came all the way from Johannesburg to attend the Durban Pride 2015. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Monique Walker, 55, came all the way from Johannesburg to attend the Durban Pride 2015. (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - Durban’s gloomy weather didn’t stop the lesbian and gay community from flying its flag high across the city as it celebrated the Durban Pride 2015 on Saturday.

About 2500 members braved the chilly weather, some came scantily clad in just their underwear while others chose to attract the masses with big elaborate fascinators.

The festival held at the Durban beach front included music performances, an amphitheatre, stalls and a parade from North Beach’s Snake Park to Ushaka Marine World and back.

Motorists hooted as they drove past the march and some people looked out of the windows of their flats and waved at the marchers.

Some people joined in the fun and danced with marchers.

DA MP Zak Mbhele who was attending the event for the first time said he was happy to be in Durban.

Mbhele, who is the first openly gay MP in Africa said, “I am honoured to be a part of the Durban Pride festival because this was my home town until the age of 11 when my parents moved to Johannesburg. What I really like about the Durban Pride is that it is integrated into large public spaces and that makes a big impact in getting our message out there.

“The Johannesburg and Cape Town festivals are bigger but you must remember that they have a longer history, the first pride in South Africa was in Johannesburg in the 1990s. Durban needs to focus on laying its own foundation,” said Mbhele. 


He said there was still a lot of discrimination against the lesbian and gay community in the country.

“When you go to register your marriage at Home Affairs people still ask you how do you have sex, at the health care centres the health care workers still ask you inappropriate questions and there is still corrective rape,” said Mbhele.

Dressed in balloons representing the rainbow nation was Ryan Stewart, 29. “My t-shirt says it all, we are human, we are Africans and we must unite on common ground. That is what we are here to do,” said Stewart. 

Activist Monique Walker, 55, who chose to wear a colourful diamond encrusted long dress and paired it with an elaborate feather fascinator, said she was disappointed with the turn out. Walker travelled all the way from Johannesburg to Durban to attend the event.

“Durban can improve on the planning because their preparation sucks. I don’t know why they can’t get it right because there is a large gay community here, the weather also sucks today,” she said.

‘Poorly organised’

Shifa, 29, Miss Gay SA 2005, also said the event was poorly organised.

“The Johannesburg gay community would like to make a positive contribution to the Durban Pride so that we can see hundreds of people like we do in Johannesburg and Cape Town,” said Shifa.

Derrick Ward, 33, said he travels all over the country attending the festivals. His friend, Sascha Schmidt, 21, said he was impressed with Durban’s diverse gay community. “From the race to the age, there is a nice mix and people have a sense of togetherness here,” said Schmidt. 

The organisers of the event were happy with the turn out and the positive energy.

Sibongiseni Khumalo from the Durban Gay Centre said the event, which was in its fifth year, was growing. “We are getting a lot of support from the eThekwini municipality and some of the government departments.

“One of the biggest challenge we face as the gay community is that the Constitution represents us beautifully on paper but we are still facing a lot of discrimination in our daily lives.

“I find that it is not that people are homophobic, they are ill-informed about the gay and lesbian society and we try and use festivals like these to educate people about being gay or lesbian,” said Khumalo. 

Ryan Stewart, 29, attended the Durban Pride 2015. Pictures: (Amanda Khoza, News24) 

Read more on:    durban  |  gay rights

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