Ambitious efforts are underway to host the first-ever Pretoria Gay Pride Parade in Centurion later this year.
Club promoter and Pretoria Gay Pride spokesperson Bruce Walker revealed that he has initiated the preliminary process to bring a Pride event to the capital.
“A lot of people have been saying that we need to have a Pride in Pretoria,” said Walker, “and I just wanted to get it off the ground.” Walker was previously a Joburg Pride Board member but left the organisation following some acrimony.
He told Mambaonline that he has begun meeting with sponsors and a tentative date of the 7th of September has been set for the free event.
“We would use the car park at Babylon [nightclub] and then have a parade, about three kilometres long, around Centurion Mall.
“We plan to have a rainbow flag on every street pole on the route. The day would start at 12 in the afternoon and go through to eight at night.”
Walker said that he hopes to attract around 5,000 people on the day. “We would have Afrikaans singers, drag artists – a lot have already expressed interest in taking part.”
He noted that these were all tentative plans that would need to be taken forward by a committee. To this end, a public meeting is being held at Babylon on the 9th of March at 5 PM.
“Anyone who wants to play a part, individuals or LGBTI organisations, must come through and we will set up a committee. None of this is set in stone; the committee can change whatever they want to change.”
He went on to say that he also hoped to decide on a charity for Pretoria Pride at the meeting. “While the event would be free, people could contribute towards the charity – and instead of having float fees, people would do an EFT to the charity.”
Walker said that the University of Pretoria’s gay student organisation had expressed interest in taking part and he has also been in contact with LGBT rights and health group OUT as well as another Pretoria nightclub.
When asked if it might not be more appropriate to have the event in central Pretoria rather than Centurion, he replied: “I have just done the groundwork. We had to start somewhere, but that can be changed. Remember that we are also near the Gautrain station so people could come from Joburg for the day.”
In South Africa, there are currently Pride events in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban, Soweto, Ekurhuleni, Polokwane and Nelson Mandela Bay. The annual gay Pink Loerie Festival is also held in Knysnsa.
If you’d like to play a part in Pretoria Gay Pride, attend the public meeting at Babylon on Saturday 9 March at 5 PM. For more information contact Bruce Walker on firstname.lastname@example.org.