Martin Bester, the Pink Jacaranda MC, flanked by two participants
at the event. (Pic: Natasha Quinn)

A conservative Afrikaans youth group has objected to the recent Pink Jacaranda event having taken place at the Voortrekker Monument.

The Pretoria Verkenners Jeug (PVJ) said in a statement that the Monument was not an appropriate venue for a gay or “pink” event. It said that it was also offended that some of the proceeds from the event’s ticket sales went towards supporting ‘UP and OUT’, a gay student organisation at the University of Pretoria.

“The grounds of our forefathers are being misused to fund ‘Sodom and Gomorrah'”, said the group on its website, describing the event as “mocking and disrespecting our heritage”.

The Pink Jacaranda Music Affair took place on Saturday 15 August at the Voortrekker Monument Amphitheatre and featured performances by a number of leading South African artists. Around 3,000 people attended the event, said the organisers.

Although not billed as a specifically gay event, the organisers called the Pink Jacaranda Music Affair a celebration of Pretoria’s “Rainbow Community”. It was also described as a family event with facilities for children and free entry for those under the age of eight.

“Although I respect the fact that this group can freely express their opinion, my feeling is that they are living in another time,” said Pink Jacaranda organiser Fulvio De Stefanis. “It’s disappointing that youth brought up in the new South Africa continue to have such discriminatory and antiquated viewpoints.”

He added: “Being Afrikaans is not in conflict with being gay. In fact The Pink Jacaranda was largely a celebration of Afrikaans culture, featuring Afrikaans artists.”

Joburg Pride Co-chair Tanya Harford commented that the PVJ’s attack on the event affirmed the importance of the 2009 Pride theme: You Need Pride.

“We cannot be complacent about our Constitution and cannot forget that there are still individuals and groups out there that are determined to strip us of our humanity, dignity and rights at every opportunity,” she said.

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