New Johannesburg Pride logo
One of the groups planning to host a Johannesburg Pride event this year has announced details of a sunset Pride parade this September.
According to the organisers, the march will kick off at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on the afternoon of Saturday 28 September.
It will, they said, “be showcasing well know performers, motivational speakers and renowned human rights and gay activists”.
The event aims to highlight the issues of “hate crimes, corrective rape and homophobia in South Africa and the African continent” and will feature three points of protest.
The march will first stop at the Johannesburg Central Police Station to hand over a memorandum to the station commander, outlining the LGBTIAQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual and questioning) communities’ concerns.
The organisers will also “request a round table meeting with the police department in an attempt to work with them in righting the wrongs facing the LGBTIAQ community in South Africa”.
The marchers will next pause at the Gauteng Legislature, where organisers will request that the Office of the Premier accept the same memorandum and that the premier meet with them to facilitate the round table.
The third point of protest will be on the Nelson Mandela Bridge, where organisers intend to stop the march and pay respect to members of the LGBTIAQ community who have been victims of homophobic and transphobic violence.
Wreaths and candles will be placed alongside photographs of the slain at a memorial wall.
The march will return to Mary Fitzgerald Square which will be the venue for a party and entertainment that will conclude the day’s events.
“The 24th Johannesburg Gay Pride working committee is excited about the move back to an outdoor venue. This venue provides the perfect platform for the LGBTIAQ community to dance in full view of this great city and is something event attendees will love,” said the organisers.
They added that an entertainment line-up will be announced soon.
The return of Pride to the city centre will be welcomed by many who felt that the relatively wealthy suburb of Rosebank, where it was most recently held, was not where it was most relevant, accessible or needed.
Johannesburg Pride – the oldest and largest in Africa – was plunged into crisis in April when the organisers of the last six events said they would no longer be involved in the city’s Pride commemorations.
Two groups that aim to host a Pride event this year have since emerged. While planning is still in the early stages, the second group is working on an “alternative” Pride that intends to be more issue-driven, representative and transparent and that will not be reliant on corporate sponsorship.
A “Joburg Mardi Gras” is also being planned this year by one of the former Pride organisers, but details of the event have yet to be announced.