Saturday’s meeting on the future of Joburg Pride, hosted by lesbian and feminist organisations One in Nine and FEW, has been viewed as a positive step forward.
Around 100 people attended Saturday’s meeting on the issues surrounding Joburg Pride following the recent closure of the company that organised the annual event for the past seven years.
This after a previous public meeting organised by another group saw wide divisions emerge and ended with no outcome.
“It went very well,” said Kwezilomso Mbandazayo from One in Nine. “There were good discussions and a lot of engagement. We did a collective problem analysis and vision for Pride,” she said, explaining that there was no attempt to create an organisation or structure to manage the event.
“It was a useful meeting,” commented Gabriel Hoosain Khan from GALA. “There were diverse ideas around the critique of previous prides and also a variety of useful and different ideas reflecting on where people would like Pride to go.”
There was agreement on the fact that Joburg Pride needs to continue to exist and that the previous Pride organisers were somewhat divorced from community organisations and their work.
It was also accepted that Pride needs to be both a protest against the continued inequalities facing LGBTI people as well as a celebration of the diversity of the LGBTI community.
Carla De Bouchet described the event as “a turning point for everyone and many misconceptions were removed and a better understanding created of what different organisations, queer public and activists would like to see in future prides”.
Khan noted, however, that there was no unanimity about how the two groups that have thus far held meetings on the future of Joburg Pride would engage with each other.
“I think this is a problem, if we’re going to come together as a community to put together a successful event we would need to come together, in a truly inclusive manner,” he said.
Kevin Van Zyl, who is part of the first group, also attended the One in Nine meeting and commented on Facebook: “Awesome meeting! So well structured and it was a great success”.
He said that ideas from Saturday’s gathering will be a part of his group’s second meeting this coming Saturday, adding “so let’s continue the discussion with some ideas of ways forward”.
Mbandazayo told Mambaonline that representatives from One in Nine would attend Van Zyl’s meeting.
She added that her group would also host another meeting on May 4 that will look at “making some concert decisions”. Mambaonline will provide more details soon.
This Saturday’s (20 April) LGBTI Community Meeting takes place at the Graduate Seminar Room in the South West Engineering Building at Wits University from 2 to 5 pm.