The University of the Witwatersrand is hosting its annual Wits Pride this September; a week-long series of events, culminating in a march on the university campus. And everyone in welcome!
Wits Pride 2013 takes place in and around Wit University between 7 and 14 September 2013 under the theme Being Me, a week-long dedication to merge the diverse personalities, gender identities and sexual orientations at Wits.
Hosted by the Wits Transformation Office, in collaboration with Activate, the Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA), the Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU), Wits Sport and Voice of Wits, Wits Pride Week 2013 hopes to involve all people whether they identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and asexual (LGBTIA) or not. The organisers have also made sure to make the programme as accessible as possible to those with disabilities.
This year brings a smorgasbord of entertainment and events geared towards supporting and raising awareness of LGBTIA daily life.
“The theme for Wits Pride 2013 is Being Me, and with all the events in our programme we want to show that it is okay to “be you” – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, straight … or none of the above,” says Wits Pride 2013 Programme Manager, Ella Kotze.
“One of the aims of Wits Pride 2013 is to establish a safe campus community for all our students and staff. This is particularly important in light of the rising number of attacks on queer South Africans, especially lesbians and trans-women.”
In a program bigger, brighter and better than any of its forerunners, Wits Pride 2013 will join hands between students and those supportive of LGBTIA issues to show their pride and also to remember the struggle the LGBTIA community has faced in obtaining their rights.
The festivities have already kicked off with a precursor event in the form of a Queer Drawing Marathon which took place on Saturday, 31 August 2013.
The official start takes place this weekend, Saturday, 7 September 2013 when a Queer History Tour departing from the Old Fort at Constitution Hill takes off. The tour will include a walking tour of Constitution Hill and Hillbrow, part of GALA’s mission to popularise queer history and experience by developing creative ways of introducing straight and queer people alike to the wealth of information collected.
Highlights of Wits Pride 2013 include a new t-shirt design competition, movie screenings, a panel discussion and a highly anticipated rugby match between the Wham! LGBT team and the Wits All Stars.
The week-long programme also features an art exhibition of Germaine de Larch, an information tent and safe zones mapping, and of course, the pinnacle of every Wits Pride, the Pride March.
The march takes place towards the end of the Pride Week on Friday, 13 September 2013 between 13:00 and 14:00, starting at the Library Lawns, making its way past the Great Hall, down Yale Road across West Campus and back to the Library Lawns again.
There will also be a closing party hosted by the university’s LGBT association, Activate, that same Friday.
According to Gabriel Hoosain Khan from GALA, the Wits Pride events are open to the public.
For more details and to RSVP to workshops and other events, visit the Wits Pride Facebook page, or contact Tish.White@wits.ac.za on (011) 717-1405.