HUNDREDS MARK 8TH SOWETO PRIDE
Mon, 1 October 2012
Hundreds of activists and ordinary LGBT people marched through the streets of South Africa's most famous township on Saturday, calling for an end to hate crimes.
The theme for this year's annual Soweto Pride was "Enforcing our existence: Give homophobia the red card".
The organisers, the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), said that the theme was chosen "because of the context of violence in which we as minority groups of LGBTI in South Africa" live.
More a protest march than a parade, participants wielded placards and banners with messages such as "Love is a human right" and "Zuma, your silence is killing our brothers".
A number of activists carried life-size dummies, meant to represent the victims of deadly attacks against LGBT people in the country.At one point, marchers stopped traffic in a busy intersection and laid the dummies on the road, backed by a large banner which read "Dying For justice," to hold a minute of silence for victims.
The scene was arguably the day's most moving and powerful moment.
The reception to the march by Soweto residents was largely positive with many coming out of their houses to watch and cheer while drivers hooted in support at the procession.
Following the march, participants settled down to an afternoon of celebration at Credo Mutwa Park, with activists highlighting the importance of the event and performers entertaining the diverse crowd.