by Mandisa Giqika
On October 25. 2014, South Africa celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Johannesburg Pride March and 20 Years of Democracy. The LGBTIQ community looked forward to this enormous event that reunites fellow sisters and brothers.
This year Mushroom Park in Sandton sheltered all humankind from babies to grandparents, after a long parade around the streets of Sandton chanting, “I am Human” regardless of sexuality.
Simone Heradien, Human Rights Activist gave a great speech after the march and said:
Johannesburg pride is not only for Lesbian, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals, Intersexual and Questioning; Johannesburg pride is for everyone.
South Africa became the first nation in the world to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
This brings us to an issue of corrective rape around townships. Lesbians get raped and brutally murdered, but then a Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa has guts to file a draft document calling for the removal of LGBT rights from the Constitution of South Africa.
South Africa does not have any statutory law requiring increased penalties for hate crimes, however; hate motivated by homophobia has been treated by courts as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
In April 2014, then Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe launched a National Intervention Strategy for the LGBTI Sector developed by the National Task Team (NTT) to address sex-based violence and gender-based violence against members of the community.
The NTT has established a rapid response team to attend to unsolved criminal cases as a matter of urgency and produced an information pamphlet with frequently asked questions about LGBTI persons.
The first South African pride parade was held towards the end of the apartheid era in Johannesburg on 13 October 1990, the first such event on the African continent.
Now we on the 25 years later, we are still fighting for political advocacy against LGBTIQ hate crimes, such as the so-called corrective rape of lesbians in townships, and to remember victims thereof.
In his speech during the first pride Simon Nkoli, a gay and anti-Apartheid Activist said, “I’m fighting for the abolition of apartheid. And I fight for the right of freedom of sexual orientation. These are inextricably linked with each other. I cannot be free as a black man if I am not free as a gay man.”
Away from the crowed and pumping music were many danced for hours, someone was heard saying, “I am a Lawyer, you can’t tell me anything.” it came from a feminine lesbian when securities tried to escort females out of the male toilets.
“We don’t mind, we don’t mind, they can share toilets with us, these are our brothers and sisters you can’t discriminate” an angry Gay man proclaimed, forcing security guards to surrender to the situation.
The event was well organized with maximum security, while bottles and cooler boxes were not allowed. Marques with different choice meals were available in numbers.
Paramedics were on standby at the event the whole day and monitored the situation, giving first aid to those who required it.
“We have reserved parking at Gautrain, Sandton City and Radisson Blu. You only pay R10 to keep your car safe and enjoy the festival for free,” said Steven Khan, head of Strategy and Sponsorship Organizing team spokesperson.
Reactions from some who attended the event:
“Johannesburg pride is better. Music is awesome and the vibe is good we enjoying every moment” -Melissa and Nicole
“Turnout is half the Zoo lake and my friends could not come too because of the venue.” -David
“I think I will stick to Soweto pride; can’t stand this music” -Luyanda
“Black entertainers were unhappy for not being slotted in on the program including my fans when they heard that I won’t perform. This is the first pride that I wasn’t considered” –Sicka Star-ban (Mr Lesbian Daveyton and hip hop artist)
Amongst the public figures that attended the festival were Toya Delazy, Samkelo Ndlovu and Sade Giliberti.
We are hoping that all aspects will be considered in the planning phase of future pride marches. As Simone Heradien mentioned that pride is for everyone, let it apply to the entertainment.