Saturday’s Soweto Pride

The lesbian and gay communities in Soweto and Port Elizabeth celebrated Pride this weekend with street parades on National Heritage Day.

In Soweto, hundreds took to the streets of Jabavu to protest the recent spate of violent attacks on lesbian women, particularly in the country’s townships.

Chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” the participants marched and danced while holding placards with statements such as “your dick will never make me straight” and “stop the war on women’s bodies”.

Organised by the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), this was the 7th annual Soweto Pride event to take place.

Speaking to Mambaonline, FEW’s Acting Director Sedica Davids said that she was very satisfied. ” I found it went exceptionally well. We got more people that we expected.”

She expressed some disappointment, however, about the lack of diversity of the participants. “We need to reach out to each other and build more bridges” she said.

The parade concluded at the Credo Mutwa Park where participants listened to speeches and were entertained by singers and dancers. There were stalls selling Pride-related items and OUT provided free HIV screening and counselling.

Speaking to the crowd, Davids emphasised the importance of LGBTI integration into the community.

“Mothers, fathers, grandparents, religious leaders… they are all part of our lives – and we want to make a statement here that we are also part of their lives,” she said.

Other speakers included a representative of the local councillor as well as Fadzai Muparutsa, Programme Manager for Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ).

“Whether they kill us, rape us or discriminate against us, we are here to stay,” said Muparutsa.

Check out our exclusive image galleries of Soweto Pride here and here.

Nelson Mandela Bay Pride

On Saturday, the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality in the Eastern Cape held its first-ever Pride event in the city of Port Elizabeth, under the theme of ‘Born this Way’.

“It was amazing. A lot better than I expected,” said organiser David Hessey. “I was absolutely excited with the turnout.”

According to Hessey, around 700 people participated in the march and police reported that 3,000 people took part in the post-Pride event in Parliament street.

Hessey said that he was happy with the diversity of the crowd. “It was perfect – we had a very good mixture and also lots of straight people took part.”

In addition to entertainment, speakers addressed issues around safer sex while a representative from the One in Nine campaign spoke about the scourge of corrective rape.

Profits made on the day will go to the House of Resurrection Haven in Salsoneville and the Luleki Sizwe corrective rape project.

An excited Hessey announced that the event would definitely take place again in 2012. “You’re going to see one every year from now on,” he said.

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