Pic: Natasha Quinn

Thousands braved the summer heat to take part in Cape Town Pride’s 16th annual parade through the streets of the Mother City on Saturday.

Marching under the 2011 theme of ‘Love Our Diversity’, the participants wound their way through Sea Point and ended the procession at the iconic Cape Town Stadium.

A number of community organisations, including Good Hope Metropolitan Community Church, Gender DynamiX, Health4Men and SA Leathermen, took part.

Activists highlighted the continued crisis of “corrective rapes” of lesbian women, which is only now beginning to be acknowledged by government

A small group of religious fundamentalists urged marchers to repent through loudhailers and held up placards with messages such as “Jesus can save you from homosexuality”.

The parade was marred by an injury when Dutch drag performer Mart Reiker (drag name DJuze Nipples) fell off the Beefcakes restaurant float. He was tended to by paramedics and then admitted to hospital.

Russell Southey, Cape Town Pride Acting Chairperson, told Mambaonline that Reiker is expected to fully recover and did not sustain any major long-term injuries.

After the parade, around 4,000 participants were treated to a party with DJs and performers for the rest of the afternoon outside the stadium.

Pic: Natasha Quinn

The event had one of its best attendances in years and was described by marchers as being well-organised.

“It’s the best Pride I’ve been involved with in seven years. It was a fantastic day all round,” said Southey.

“There was a very diverse group of people, which was wonderful, and a fantastic age of ranges -proving the point that we are here to stay and Pride is fulfilling its purpose of uniting people and cultures,” he added.

The celebrations concluded with a number of night-time after parties held at clubs and venues in the city’s gay village.

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