Kaye Ally, Cobus Benade and Christian de Jager
Four committee members of one of the two groups putting on a Pride event in Johannesburg later this year have walked the parade’s new inner city route to show that it is safe.
Wearing pink branded golf shirts, Kaye Ally, Simone Heradien, Cobus Benade and Christian de Jager took to the vibrant city streets on Saturday 1 June to allay concerns about their planned route.
“We were greeted with cheers, smiles and the odd person asking us what we are doing and why we are strolling the streets of the inner city,” said de Jager, the committee’s spokesperson.
“The city is a beehive of activity that time of the afternoon, however, it is also relaxed, peaceful and not as hectic as we all expected it to be. I felt safe and relaxed.
“I feel confident that it is the right decision to go back to our roots and embrace the inner city again. This is where it started after all 24 years ago,” he added.
The march will kick off at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown on the afternoon of Saturday 28 September.
The procession 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) community’s concerns.
The marchers will next pause at the Gauteng Legislature, where organisers will request that the Office of the Premier accept the same memorandum.
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 committee, which was formed in the last two months following the dissolution of the company that previously organised the event, has asserted that they are putting on the 24th Johannesburg Pride.
Another group, however, intends to host a ‘People’s Pride’ event in the city the following Saturday on 5 October.
The People’s Pride organisers say that over the last few years Johannesburg Pride has become exclusionary and unrepresentative when it comes to race and other socio-economic and political factors. The new committee, however, insists it wants to address these issues.
Johannesburg Pride is the oldest and largest LGBT Pride event on the African continent.