Africa’s biggest celebration of gay and lesbian Pride is set to turn the streets of Johannesburg pink for the 23rd time. Here are all the details of the events, the street parade and what this year’s theme is all about.

The History

Joburg Pride has a long, colourful history. It’s been nearly a quarter-century since that historic day in 1990 when around 1 000 brave activists marched through Hillbrow and the Joburg city centre, many of them wearing masks or paper bags to cover their faces.

In his famous pre-march address that year, the legendary Johannesburg-based human rights, anti-apartheid and AIDS activist, Simon Nkoli said: “This is what I say to my comrades in the struggle when they ask why I waste time fighting for ‘moffies’, this is what I say to gay men and lesbians who ask me why I spend so much time struggling against apartheid when I should be fighting for gay rights. I am black and I am gay. I cannot separate the two parts of me into secondary or primary struggles.

“In South Africa, I am oppressed because I am a black man and I am oppressed because I am gay. So when I fight for my freedom I must fight against both oppressions. All those who believe in a democratic South Africa must fight against all oppression, all intolerance, all injustice.” Nkoli passed away in 1998, but his work continues, his torch carried by a new generation.

 Since then, Joburg Pride has grown into the African continent’s oldest and biggest (and loudest and proudest) Pride march, attracting tens of thousands of supporters every year from throughout Gauteng, as well as visitors from around the country and continent.

Joburg Pride 2012 promises a sexy mix of human rights activism, top-quality entertainment and education, socialising and a good old fashioned South African ‘jol’ (party). 

The Parade

The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, 6 October, at the Zoo Lake Sports Club, Rosebank, with gates opening at 8 a.m.

Make it the biggest ever! Get creative and join in the Joburg Pride parade. From cabriolets to motorbikes, buses to flat bed trucks – get your company, friends, work colleagues, fans or family members involved to help design and decorate your float. (Remember that Pride raises funds for the day via float sales and other initiatives.) Get the float application form here.

Zoo Lake Celebrations

This year’s crowd-pleasing line-up for entertainment at Zoo Lake Sports Club features a hip-swinging line-up of fabulous pre- and post-parade offerings,  includes Flash Republic, featuring glamorous songbird Tamara Dey, Ola, Crazy White Boy, DJ Erica Elle and Pabi Maloi.

The Pride Village will, as always, have loads of lifestyle and health stalls (including free HIV testing and counselling services) as well as food, drinks and goodies on offer.

NB: From 2.30 p.m. Joburg Pride reserves the right to close the gates to newcomers. This will be for safety and security reasons and so as not to go over our maximum capacity for the venue. Make sure you’re in before then!

The Message

Joburg Pride 2012’s theme  is “Protect Our Rights”, underscoring Joburg Pride’s ongoing support of basic human rights, as highlighted in South Africa’s ground-breaking Constitution.

In light of recent threats against these rights, the event is an opportunity for South Africa’s LGBTI community to stand together as one, showing its support for the Constitution and its protection of fundamental human rights.

“Ultimately, a strike against the human rights of South Africa’s LGBTI community is a strike against the human rights of ALL South Africans,” says the Joburg Pride Board. We couldn’t agree more!

Pride Side Dish

Pride Side Dish, established in 2011, serves as a cultural appetiser in the days leading up to Joburg Pride. A full calendar of cultural events take place throughout Johannesburg, with everything including cabaret, film, theatre, art and music on offer.

• Click to see more details of the Side Dish events.

The After Parties

As always, Joburg gay Pride day doesn’t end at Zoo Lake, and thousands will stream to a range of after-parties in Joburg and Pretoria.

The Fireman’s Ball will be throwing its sixth mega-bash this year. Plus there will be pre- and post-Pride parties hosted by Secret Circle (Newtown), Café Culture (Fourways), Babylon Bar (Ilolovo), Babylon Centurion, Club Simply Blue (Joburg CBD) and Provocative (Linksfield).

• Click for more details on these parties.


• Venue: Zoo Lake Sports Club, Parkview, Johannesburg.
• Times: Gates open from 8 a.m. and the Parade will start at 11 a.m. ending at approximately 12.30 p.m.
• Entertainment will take place at Zoo Lake Sports Club from the morning and gates and stage will close at 6 p.m.
• Free bus transport from Soweto, Tembisa and Mamelodi. Contact for more details.
• Joburg Pride website. 

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