People's Pride in Joburg or Pretoria Pride? Which will you attend?

People’s Pride in Joburg or Pretoria Pride? Which will you attend?

Many in the LGBT community are angered by news that Pretoria Pride will now be taking place on the same day as the People’s Pride in Johannesburg.

The Gauteng Pride season is turning out to be more controversial and fragmented than ever.

First there was a furore over the new organising committee behind Johannesburg Pride scheduling their event on 28 September, the Saturday on which Soweto Pride is traditionally held.

Now, organisers of the first-ever Pretoria Pride event have changed their initially announced September date to 5 October, the same day as the more politically focused alternative People’s Pride event in Johannesburg.

This means that four Pride events will take place over two consecutive Saturdays in Gauteng, making it difficult for members of the LGBT community to take part in all of the events.

Some Facebook users have expressed their frustration at the situation. “…the fact that it’s on the same day as the People’s Pride in Jozi is silly and doesn’t help what the People’s Pride is addressing… race unity within pride. Why, why, why?” asked Johann Viljoen on the Pretoria Pride page.

According to Pretoria Pride’s Bruce Walker, despite numerous reports on Mambaonline and debates on Facebook, he was totally unaware of the People’s Pride event.

“Our event date was moved because the original venue was too small and the council gave us a larger area that is available in Centurion – and the whole process had to start from scratch again. We looked at the dates and the only event we were aware of was the Joburg Pride on 28 September,” he said.

He added: “I can’t put the whole of Pretoria Pride on hold. We really, really though we weren’t clashing with anybody. We haven’t seen any advertising for the People’s Pride event anywhere”.

A surprised Kwezilomso Mbandazayo from People’s Pride, who admitted that “we don’t know much about Pretoria Pride,” pointed out to Mambaonline that the date of the Joburg event had been announced on Facebook and via a press release months ago.

Walker commented that he believes that the problem has been caused by the division between Johannesburg Pride on 28 September and People’s Pride on 5 October.

“It’s not really about Pretoria clashing with Joburg – it’s Joburg not working with Joburg. They should be working together. They have created this bad situation. Joburg must sort out their Pride.”

Both Walker and Mbandazayo agreed that the situation reflected an ongoing lack of communication and integration between the various sectors of the LGBT community.

“I think that communication is a problem and it’s reflective of how South Africa is divided – divided along the lines of race, gender, class and so on,” Mbandazayo said, explaining that this is something which People’s Pride is trying to address.

She insisted that “the intention behind People’s Pride has never been to compete with anyone. We want to insert a critical voice in the Johannesburg Pride scene and we hope our effort is welcomed in this spirit.”

Mbandazayo also said that the situation could be seen from a more positive perspective. “It says that a lot of us are eager to organise and that is something to be commended.

“It also means that there is an increased queer visibility in Gauteng. There will be queer people on the streets in Joburg and in Pretoria on the same day. People do not need to be in competition with each other,” she said.

Mbandazayo added that “we would welcome a conversation with Pretoria Pride and would love for them to come to our launch”.

People’s Pride is set to be launched on Saturday at a public meeting at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg from 10am. All are welcome to attend.

Walker said that Pretoria Pride will be based around a beach party and will be themed “We’re coming out”. More information on the event will be released shortly.

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