Limpopo Pride 2013 (Pic: Samkezi Ngubane)
Despite having to sell their laptops to fund the event, organisers of this past weekend’s second Limpopo Pride say that it was all worth it.
On Saturday morning, around 200 people met at the SABC offices in Polokwane and kicked off an hour and half long march through the CBD to the city’s cricket club.
Marchers bravely shouted out “Pride belongs to us” and “enough is enough” while police, traffic officers and passers-by stood watching along the pavements.
The march was noticeably larger than last year’s, a tentative sign of growing confidence among members of Limpopo’s LGBT community who live in a province not usually equated with LGBT visibility.
Activists from LGBTI groups and the DA took part in the event, as did, for the first time, representatives from Mr Gay South Africa (Mr GSA), including Deputy Mr GSA, Steve Williams.
Deputy Mr GSA, Steve Williams (Pic: Mr GSA)
“In other parts of the country where gay Pride is more a party than a statement, we understood that to the people of Polokwane this was no party, this was advocacy at its core,” said Charl van den Berg, Media and Operations for Mr GSA.
He told Mambaonline that one of the local journalists commented, “Enjoy the march; hope you don’t get stones thrown at you”.
The parade was followed by a celebratory picnic at the cricket club.
Participants were treated to LGBT rights speeches and entertainment and were offered HIV/AIDS education and testing.
Cindy Molefe, from the Limpopo LGBT Proudly Out group, confirmed that she and other organisers were forced to sell personal possessions to pay the municipality for venue hire costs after some sponsors pulled out.
“We had to sell our laptops for that. They [the municipality] didn’t want to understand that we are not a money making project, it’s a public awareness campaign,” she told Mambaonline.
Molefe added: “We don’t regret selling them. It was worth it. We are really happy with the turnout. It was amazing.
“Some people are still scared to march but the support from LGBTI organisations was overwhelming,” she said.
Molefe revealed that the date of 10 May 2014 has already been set for the third Limpopo Pride event.