Cape Town Pride has responded to the lie-in protest during last week’s Cape Town Pride parade and demands made by the Cape Town People’s Pride Collective. Below is Pride’s statement, reprinted in full below.
First and foremost, we would like to thank each and every LGBTI+ community members and their friends who turned out in record numbers to show their Pride during the culmination of the Festival Week at Green Point Urban Park.
It was really heartwarming to see that the entire community, regardless of colour, race or gender identity mixed in complete integration within the festival. For the first time in Prides history all barriers and boundaries were thrown to the wind.
There were more than 20 LGBTI+ NGO’s/NPO’s/Community groups promoting their own social agendas within the festival and the parade. Each Group is given free space in the parade and on the festival ground plus complimentary tickets are given to their members and all their fundraising raise at the festival go to their groups.
This year Cape Town Pride managed to handover a cheque of R35 000.00 to the Pride Shelter Trust (this is not an animal shelter as stated by the protesters but in actual fact a needy LGBTI+ trauma and crisis centre for our community).
Also, there were a record amounts of HIV testings done at the Cape Town Pride Festival this year to fight the scourge that is still so prevalent in our community.
Just to clarify, we were accused of favouring a specific political party at the event. This is not the case, in actual fact we have been actively trying to include all political parties to no avail. We did have the representative from the ruling party in the form of the Minister of Health.
Our Theme, Love Happens Here, is an international Pride theme that does have ties to an African context and it is our belief that more can be achieved by love and tolerance rather than hate and vitriol.
It must be remembered that Cape Town Pride is the 1 day in the year where we join together, in Pride, to celebrate who we are and not to favour any individual groups cause.
Cape Town Pride is a Festival for the LGBTI+ community in Cape Town. We totally support any groups that wish to host a Pride in satellite areas as is done in Gauteng. OUTReach Africa, which hosts Cape Town Pride, already assists iKasi Pride in this manner not withstanding we also provide free transport and entry to community members that would prefer to come into the City and celebrate Pride there.
On the day of the parade, I was approached to meet the protestors at the start of the parade route. This was the first conversation that I had with the group during the year. Immediately I expressed our view that we totally supported their cause but not their methods (the LGBTI+ are not the enemy and the perpetrators of the violence and the none response by the authorities to curb this violence is not attributable to the people who attended Cape Town Pride to express themselves as they wish).
I suggested that their cause could benefit by the support of the several thousand participants of Pride rather than their hostile, and at some point racist, random rants and tirades against Pride. We agreed to meet after the festival to discuss the inclusion and involvement of their group for next year. At that point we shook hands.
I was surprised to see that after we had reached an agreement (which included a 15 minute of silence before the Parade started) that the protestors found in necessary to lay down in front of the Parade and can only assume it was to gain more press coverage. What happened next was an atrocity to the whole LGBTI+ community of Cape Town. One of the Parade trucks turned their engine on (to try and keep an entire Parade quiet for 15 minutes, without notice, is a virtual impossibility – even the Father of our Nation, Nelson Mandela, only received 1 minute of silence), the spokesperson for the group jumped to her feet and started a 5 minute tirade and rant screaming that people were “fucking white bastards” and referring to other female community members as “Bitches”.
Imagine the horror of the youth and younger members of our community attending Pride for their first time to be subjected to this bullying and hate. I would appeal to the groups who openly support this group to apologise to the larger community. This would not be tolerated and in any other context and is seen as internal homophobia. The name, Simon Nkoli, was used repeatedly in this same tirade – I was a personal friend of Simon in the early days of GLOW (Gay and Lesbians Of the Witwatersrand) and he did not have a racist bone in his body and using him in this context is an insult to his memory.
Cape Town Pride continues to celebrate the diverse LGBTI+ community of Cape Town and looks forward to an even greater Pride in 2019.
Your In Pride
Director of Outreach Africa
(The NGO that hosts Cape Town Pride)
• You can read the demands made by the Cape Town People’s Pride Collective here.