Joburg Pride rocked by divisions

2013-06-20 09:30

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2013-02-05 11:39

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Johannesburg - Everybody loves a good mardi gras parade. It simply explodes with entertainment value as gorgeous, scantily-clad individuals gyrate, pop and lock to the beat.

Some cities have placed themselves on the bucket-list map with these parades, yet more often than not the overall motivation for the event is overshadowed.
Enter Africa's oldest and largest event in celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) - Joburg Pride Parade.

After months of uncertainty about whether Joburg will host a gay pride parade, the city will now have two.

Pink travellers, we'd like to know if you think two parades are beneficial to the concerns of the LGBT community - do you prefer a Mardi Gras feel or a more activist-driven approach when attending this kind of event? Email us your opinion at

The Star reports the Joburg Pride Board disbanded over internal differences in April, leaving the plans for the pride event up in the air.

Two groups that aim to host a Pride event have since emerged. The differences are centred around claims that the annual parade has moved away from political advocacy towards performance. Feminist anti-rape 1 in 9 Campaign lay down in the middle of the 2012 Joburg Pride route in protest of paraders becoming more like mardi gras participants, instead of it highlighting the community's hardcore concerns.

Mombo Online reports, details for one of the Johannesburg Pride event include a sunset Pride parade on 28 September.  While planning is still in the early stages, the second group is working on an "alternative" Pride that intends to be more issue-driven, representative and transparent - and not reliant on corporate sponsorship.

The Sunset Gay Pride March in September will kick off at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown after concerns were raised about it being held in the "relatively wealthy suburb of Rosebank, where it might not be as relevant, accessible or needed".

It will, they said, "be showcasing well-known performers, motivational speakers and renowned human rights and gay activists".

The event aims to highlight the issues of “hate crimes, corrective rape and homophobia in South Africa and the African continent” and will feature three points of protest.

The march will first stop at the Johannesburg Central Police Station to hand over a memorandum to the station commander, outlining the LGBTIAQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual and questioning) communities’ concerns.

The organisers will also "request a round table meeting with the police department in an attempt to work with them in righting the wrongs facing the LGBTIAQ community in South Africa".

The marchers will next pause at the Gauteng Legislature, where organisers will request that the Office of the Premier accept the same memorandum and that the premier meet with them to facilitate the round table.

The third point of protest will be on the Nelson Mandela Bridge, where organisers intend to stop the march and pay respect to members of the LGBTIAQ community who have been victims of homophobic and transphobic violence.

Wreaths and candles will be placed alongside photographs of the slain at a memorial wall.

The march will return to Mary Fitzgerald Square which will be the venue for a party and entertainment that will conclude the day’s events.

"The 24th Johannesburg Gay Pride working committee is excited about the move back to an outdoor venue. This venue provides the perfect platform for the LGBTIAQ community to dance in full view of this great city and is something event attendees will love," said organisers.

They added that an entertainment line-up will be announced soon.  A "Joburg Mardi Gras" is also being planned this year by one of the former Pride organisers, but details of the event have yet to be announced.

Read more on:    travel south africa  |  travel international

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