The board of Cape Town Pride has announced several significant changes to help ensure that the 2010 festival will be a success.
According to a statement, the board has been restructured to accommodate new skills. Additional board members were hand-picked for their vision, passion and organising abilities and already the board has taken several steps forward.
“We are delighted that several non-profit organisations have joined us, ensuring our inclusiveness of various lesbian, gay and transgender groupings,” said Chairperson Glenn de Swardt.
The run-up to last year’s event was embroiled in controversy after a number of activist groups organised an alternative Pride event out of unhappiness with Cape Town Pride Festival organisers.
The split between Cape Town Pride and the activists was rooted in the choice, by the Pride board, of the 2009 theme: “Pink Ubuntu. Jou ma se Pride.”
The theme was slated by a number of activist organisations, led by Triangle Project, as being insensitive and hurtful towards women and people of colour. (‘Jou ma se Pride’ is a play on an insult commonly associated with the Cape’s coloured community.)
At the time, the board defended the theme on that basis that it was a “quintessentially localised Cape Town” term and that the LGBTI community should take ownership of offensive terminology; such as has been done with the word “queer”.
Nevertheless, under continued pressure, the Pride board decided to drop the ‘Jou ma se Pride’ phrase from the theme.
The Pride Festival theme for 2010 is “Uniting the Cultures of Cape Town”, which, the board said, aims to reflect the inclusive and encompassing ethos of the event.
De Swardt also announced that the board had appointed the “dynamic and well-known Odidi Mfenyana as our Festival Director for the 2010 event”.
Mfenyana has established an organising committee which has been meeting regularly to assist him in planning and coordinating the festival’s diverse programme.
The board and organising committee urged members of the LGBTI community to become involved in “creating the best ever Cape Town Pride Festival”. For more information on how to get involved, visit www.capetownpride.co.za.
The festival will kick off on Friday 26 February 2010 and continues until Sunday 7 March 2010. The biggest drawcard of the annual festival, the Cape Town Pride Parade and Carnival, will take place on Saturday 6 March.
Cape Town Pride is a non-profit, section 21 company. The main beneficiary of Cape Town Pride’s fundraising efforts is the Pride Shelter Trust, which aims to provide short-term accommodation to LGBT people in crisis.