A group that aims to put on Joburg Pride 2013 has announced that it’s chosen a date and location for the 24th annual Joburg Pride, but questions remain.

On Monday, one of the two groups that have been holding meetings on the future of Africa’s largest and oldest pride event revealed that it will go ahead with its plans, despite controversy about the kind of pride that should be held.

“The 24th Johannesburg Pride volunteers work committee is pleased to announce to the LGBTIAQ community and PFLAG at large, that the planning for the 2013 pride has commenced,” said the group in a statement.

“The date has been confirmed for Saturday the 28th of September 2013,” it announced.

The group went on to say: “In taking into consideration the many different and diverse requirements outlined by the community, the pride event is moving ‘back to the city’.

“This decision was made after extensive communication with JDA, JOC, Metro and Johannesburg Central Police Precinct and is in keeping with the Johannesburg program of ‘back to the city’.

“The envisaged route includes crossing over the Nelson Mandela Bridge as part of the sunset event,” the statement added.

Kaye, one of the volunteers in the group, told Mambaonline that more information, including the composition of the committee will be announced within a week.

She did not respond to additional questions about the planned event at the time of publishing this article.

Another group, backed by feminist group One in Nine and the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), has been meeting with the intention of re-inventing Joburg Pride as a more racially, socially and economically diverse and accessible event with a stronger political focus and no corporate sponsorship.

While the two groups have been in discussions, it appears as if the first group has now gone ahead with its plans without the backing of the second.

Kwezilomso Mbandazayo from One in Nine confirmed that this was the case. “I didn’t know about it. It was not done in consultation with us.”

She added, however, that she doesn’t “see this as a problem”.

She explained that “that there people who are interested in the process of envisioning a new pride, not just members of One in Nine, and I think that process can happen with this in the background. We are still continuing with our process and we’ll see where that that leads.”

When asked by Mambaonline if the news could see her group calling for a boycott of Joburg Pride, Mbandazayo urged the media and the community to stop seeing the two groups as being in opposition and in conflict.

“We believe in freedom of association and we are not just interested in conflict, although conflict we can be productive, but we are also interested in building”.

She noted that her group will go ahead with its public meeting this Saturday at 11am at Constitution Hill to discuss and deliberate a way forward.

“Depending on the mandate that comes out of our meetings we’ll decide on how to proceed,” Mbandazayo said.

Last week, a previous Joburg Pride board member, Samantha Durkin, also announced that she will be putting on a new LGBTI festival in the city, called the Joburg Mardi Gras, which will be “a bigger, better and more vibrant celebration than ever before”.

She has insisted, however, that it “will not be in competition to Joburg Pride”. A date for this event has not been confirmed.

The future of Joburg Pride was put into question earlier this month following the dissolution of the company that organised the last six events. The board members cited growing workloads and complications related to putting on the event behind their decision.

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