Speaking out at Cape Town Pride 2014

Following controversial allegations of racism and exclusion, a public meeting has been scheduled this weekend in an effort to rethink and make-over Cape Town Pride.

The most recent edition of the city’s Pride celebration was criticised by some groups who claimed that the annual event is “racist,” not representative and does not address the concerns of many in the community.

The Ikasi Pride group has now invited members of the LGBTIAQ community to participate in a discussion to establish “an all inclusive Cape Town Pride Yabantu [for people].”

“Our call for this discussion comes after we noted the continued depoliticising of Pride in Cape Town – there are those in our community who seek a purposeful Pride. Secondly, we want to raise awareness and encourage activism around addressing crucial issues,” said the organisation.

Ikasi Pride stated that its goal is not to “dismantle the existing Pride in Cape Town but to discuss amongst ourselves as the LGBTIAQ community, ways in which we can create a Pride event that represents the diversity within Cape Town, and collectively address the issues faced by all LGBTI people.”

It said that “we want a transparent, forward thinking, and all embracing discussion that hears the voices of all individuals, activists, organisations, public and private sector professionals within the LGBTIAQ community regarding creating a space that we feel serves our entire unique community.”

Celebration at Cape Town Pride 2013

Celebration at Cape Town Pride 2014

Last year, Johannesburg saw two Pride events being hosted in the city within weeks of each other after efforts to come to an agreement over similar concerns failed.

Sivu Siwisa from Ikasi Pride told Mambaonline that the intention of the meeting is “not to establish a separate Pride but to establish a more inclusive Pride.”

She said that Matthew van As, Director of Cape Town Pride, has been invited to the meeting, at which she hopes there will be agreement on the way forward.

When asked what would happen if these talks with van As failed, she replied that she could not answer the question until that happened and that van As has appeared “open to the discussion.”

“We don’t want to boycott Pride. Pride is a ten day event and we must make sure that every member of the community is included,” Siwisa added. “I’ve invited everyone to take part in the meeting – everyone needs to be part of the process.”

Matthew van As commented that he had been taken aback by news of the meeting and said that it would have been better if he had been consulted on the date and plans to host the meeting before it had been announced.

“I had to phone them to find out what was going on. I wasn’t even asked to speak at the event. I’m still in the dark on what is meant to be happening,” he said.

Van As explained that his mandate was to hold a primarily celebratory Pride event – “celebrating our rights” – in February and that’s why the separate Khumbulani Pride, which took place in Gugulethu for the first time last year, had been established.

Khumbulani Pride in May 2013

Khumbulani Pride in May 2013

“We already have a ‘political’ Pride,” he insisted. “Khumbulani Pride is our ‘remembrance Pride.’ It takes place on 17 May, which is the International Day Against Homophobia. That’s our more activist Pride. They [Ikasi Pride] are trying to do something that we are already doing.”

Van As said that while the date of the meeting was not convenient to him, he would do his utmost to attend.

Issues that will be discussed at the meeting will include: “Establishing a collective Pride; definition of Pride in a South African & African context; involving marginalised LGBTIAQ communities; pollicising Pride; HIV/Aids awareness and safe sex awareness; reaching out to the rest of Africa; and promoting LGBTIAQ film, art and literature.”

The public meeting will take place on Saturday 12 April at 6 Spin Street, Cape Town from 12:30pm. Please RSVP to

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