An estimated ten thousand gays and lesbians – and their friends and families – took to the streets of Rosebank on Saturday morning to celebrate Joburg Gay Pride 2008.

Under the banner of ‘Love, Not Hate’ and to the beat of dance music, 32 colourful floats wound their way from Zoo Lake Sport Club accompanied by cheers from passers-by and thousands of revellers; some dressed in fantastical costumes, others in everyday clothes.

“We had an amazing turnout,” said Zak Mbhele, Co-Chair of the Joburg Gay Pride Festival Company. “Joburg’s citizens showed that they are not only proud of their diversity but also recognise that many in South Africa today are still in fear of losing their lives because of their sexual identity.”

The event, the 19th gay pride parade in the city’s history, aimed this year to highlight the recent spate of hate crimes against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community; in particular the murder of a number of black lesbians. The ‘Love, Not Hate’ theme was a prominent aspect of Joburg Pride’s marketing and publicity material and was reflected in many of the floats.

Following the parade’s return to Zoo Lake Sports Club, the celebrations continued until 6pm with live entertainment, drag shows and 5FM DJs on the decks. Participants also had the opportunity to commemorate LGBT victims of hate crimes by leaving mementoes, prayers, poems, artworks and messages at The Wall of Remembrance, curated by the Gay and Lesbian Archives (GALA).

The messages and artefacts will be kept by GALA for posterity; ensuring that the Wall of Remembrance becomes part of LGBT history.

“To-date no significant public figure or politician has condemned the killings of our sisters. The mainstream media has largely ignored these murders. Courts cases have been characterised by bureaucratic delays and incompetence. To-date no-one has been convicted of any of these murders. Let us hope that one day, not too far off, Love – and not hate – will predominate,” said the board in a message that was read out on stage.

“The event ran smoothly with no significant incidents,” said Joburg Gay Pride Festival Company Co-Chair, Tanya Harford, who is also responsible for organising Johannesburg’s largest running and cycling events. “We have firmly re-established Joburg Pride as one of the city’s most significant cultural events and are already looking forward to next year’s festival.”

Harford thanked the thousands that took part, as well as the event’s sponsors and supporters: “We would like to thank 5FM, Douglas Green Bellingham, Amalgamated Beverages Industries, SA Breweries as well as the Multi-Agency Grants Initiative. We’re also very grateful for the assistance of the Joburg Metro Police, the Joburg Roads Agency, the South African Police Service and Think Bike who marshalled the event.”

The 2008 Joburg Pride celebrations concluded with numerous independent after-parties hosted by bars and clubs that took place around the city well into the early hours of Sunday morning.

Get the Mamba Newsletter

Latest Comments
  1. Guest
    Reply -
    Reply -
  3. ...Kind....
    Reply -
  4. Gareth
    Reply -
  5. jhb_guy
    Reply -
  6. Mezentius
    Reply -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend