The city of East London is set to hold a gay and lesbian Pride march this Saturday 11 August, hosted by the Eastern Cape Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex organisation (ECLGBTI).

While the organisers have touted the event as the first-ever Pride march in the city, a small Pride march was previously held in East London on 17 April 2010.

Saturday’s march will start at the parking lot next to the Orient Theatre, on the esplanade, at 12 noon. It will then proceed along the esplanade and will end at the public open space in front of the Osner Hotel.

ECLGBTI said that it expects around three hundred people from all over the province to attend the march. The event’s theme is “Proudly African,” affirming ECLGBTI’s rejection of statements declaring homosexuality “un-African”.

“It is homophobia that is un-African,” commented ECLGBTI’s Provincial Organiser, Abongile Matyila.

“We strongly oppose the anti-democratic, unconstitutional statements made recently by traditional leaders, and the attempts by Contralesa to have sexual orientation removed as a grounds for non-discrimination in the Bill of Rights.

“It isn’t a stretch of the imagination to see the links between the homophobic statements of people purporting to be our leaders and their assault on our human rights and the physical attacks on gay, lesbian and transgender people,” said Matyila.

He was referring to the recent spate of murders of LGBTI people around the country in the last six months, including two in East London in the last three weeks.

“Our community is under very serious attack – politically and physically. We are calling on everyone, including straight people, to march with us in defiance of this. The event will be celebratory in nature, and we are expecting to have a lot of fun, but there is a serious issue underlying the march as well,” Matyila added.

There will be a number of events in the days preceding the march, including film screenings hosted by Out in Africa. The screening of the films Pariah and Leave it on the Floor takes place on Friday from 4.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre.

An official after-party will also be held at Club Eden on Saturday night.

For more information on East London Pride and related events contact Abongile Matyila on 079 189 2260 or visit the

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