The Joburg Pride Board has revealed the theme for the anticipated 2008 event, scheduled for October, at its Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg on Saturday 10th May.

In light of the continued threat to the lives of lesbian and gay South Africans, the theme “Love, Not Hate” was chosen to highlight the ongoing hate crimes crisis.

The theme is incorporated in a tattoo-style icon which will be included in all of Joburg Pride’s communication and marketing material for 2008. This year’s Joburg Pride Parade will take place on Saturday 4th October, once again at Zoo Lake.

“The latest brutal murder of a lesbian, this time former Banyana Banyana soccer player Eudy Simelane, reminds and reinforces for us that combating the scourge of hate crimes must remain a key focus of the gay and lesbian community,” explained new Pride Co-Chair Zakhele Mbhele.

“These acts of violence, which are fundamentally human rights violations, show the extent to which our communities need to reconnect with and live according to the principles and spirit of ubuntu. Hate is not an African cultural value.”

Simalane joins a heart-wrenching list of mostly black lesbians that have been murdered because of their sexuality. In February 2006, Zoliswa Nkonyana was beaten, stoned and stabbed to death by a group of around 20 men in Khayelitsha in the Cape. In July 2007 Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa were murdered in Soweto.

Last year’s Joburg Pride Parade was seen as one of the most successful in years, with an estimated five thousand gays and lesbians – and their friends and families – turning out despite the rainy weather.

“We intend to improve on last year’s successes, providing members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community with a platform to express their concerns, while also celebrating their identity and successes with friends and family,” said Tanya Harford, new Pride Co-Chair.

At the public AGM, the board announced that, for the first time in years, Joburg Pride had made a healthy profit. These funds will go towards contracting a part-time administrator to assist the volunteer board. Joburg Pride is organised by a not-for-profit Section 21 Company and board members receive no remuneration.

What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is an extreme expression of prejudice, expressed through violent criminal acts, committed against people because of the group to which they belong or identify with. Perpetrators of hate crimes seek to demean and dehumanise their victims whom they consider different from them because of their actual or perceived race, gender, sexual orientation, health status, social origin or other characteristics. The prejudice of the perpetrator is what makes a hate crime distinct from other acts of violence.

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