An estimated 20 000 people took part in the 22nd annual Joburg Pride day and parade in Johannesburg on Saturday, despite the threat of rain.

The festive parade, with around 80 floats and vehicles plus thousands of marchers, kicked off at 11am from Zoo Lake Sports Club and wound its way through Rosebank, eventually returning to Zoo Lake.

The parade was led by marchers, including the DA’s Shadow Minister for Labour, MP Ian Ollis, who carried a huge Gay Flag of South Africa, which combines the rainbow flag associated with the gay community and the South African national flag.

In contrast to the recent Ekurhuleni and Soweto Pride parades, statements around issues such as corrective rape and hate crimes were noticeably absent among participants in the parade.

Some exceptions included one participant who held aloft a large wooden cross with the names of LGBTI people who had been killed in South Africa and the continent while two others on a float held signs condemning Jon Qwelane, South Africa’s homophobic ambassador to Uganda.

Following the parade, celebrations continued at Zoo Lake Sports Club where the large crowd was entertained by performers including Flash Republic, Lira, and international DJ Lisa Lashes.

Few among the audience were aware that local DJ Groovy Q (Quentin Jute) suffered a heart attack while performing. He was attended to by paramedics on-site and taken to Milpark Hospital where he underwent surgery and is said to be recovering well.

While the event was widely praised as being well-organised, there were a number of complaints on the Joburg Pride Facebook page about the ‘pink money’ token system as well as the long queues for food and drink.

The day was rounded off by a number of Pride-after parties across the city and in Pretoria. Joburg Pride is the oldest and largest gay and lesbian event on the African continent.

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