An estimated 2,000 LGBT people and their friends paraded through the streets of Cape Town on Saturday to show their pride and to support gay rights on the continent.
The 14th annual parade was the climax of the city’s ten day gay and lesbian festival that included community-orientated events and various parties.
This year, in addition to the colourful outfits and floats, Uganda’s recently enacted draconian anti-gay law was a clear focus for many of the participants who held up signs calling for its repeal.
After the parade, the crowd swelled to around 5,000 people. They continued to celebrate into the afternoon with a fair in the Green Point gay village that featured live entertainment, DJs and stalls.
Despite a boycott by the black lesbian group Free Gender, which has insisted that the event is not representative enough and does not address the concerns of many in the community, the turnout was not affected, said Matthew van As, director of Cape Town Pride.
“I’m extremely happy. There was no impact whatsoever. There were other NGOs and NPOs who took part. The attempt to fracture Pride didn’t really work,” he told Mambaonline.
Van As said that in his opinion, this year’s event – held under the theme of “Uniting the Cultures of Cape Town” – was the most diverse yet. He added that he was still willing to work with all groups, including Free Gender, going forward.
He noted that Khumbulani Pride, which Cape Town Pride helps to organise, is set to take place in Gugulethu on May 17.