It’s been announced that a brand new LGBTI pride event will be held in Johannesburg this coming October, adding to Gauteng’s increasingly cluttered pride season.
Founded by Cino Shearer, a self described philanthropist and publicist, Mzansi Pride aims to bring together “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Straight (LGBTIS) communities from all over Africa… to embrace their inner pride.”
According to a statement, the event will feature a week of “edutainment” festivities including workshops, fashion shows, art exhibitions and movie screenings.
Shearer told Mambaonline that he is in discussions to host the pride march and post-march festivities in Rosebank, in the Zoo Lake area; a popular location in recent years for Johannesburg Pride.
When asked what will make his event different from the existing prides in the province, Shearer said that Mzansi Pride will have a stronger regional and African focus.
“This year will be dedicated to the LGBTI communities in Uganda in particular and our brothers and sisters in Africa and around the world that still suffer discrimination. It will also be a Southern African event, not just a South African event,” he said.
He explained that he plans to bring together representatives from LGBTI communities in Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho to take part in the event.
“There will also be fundraising for skills development and to also go towards defending legal rights of communities and LGBTI rights organisations in Africa. We do not live in silo communities,” he said.
Despite at least five other pride events planned for the Gauteng or greater Johannesburg area around the same period, Shearer doesn’t believe that adding another pride to the busy schedule is a problematic. He also insists that he does not intend to compete with other events.
“We are focusing on African specific issues. Having different prides for different communities only aids our struggle. There is nothing wrong with there being 15 prides – why should we only be allowed to have one particular pride? Why can there not be different events?” he asked.
“It’s not in competition – it’s in conjunction with,” he added. “We are not ‘the pride’ because there is no ‘the pride.’ We should not see it as competition but we should celebrate it.”
Shearer said that he will be announcing more details about the event soon.
The period from late September to the end of October 2014 will see a number of pride events taking place in Gauteng. These include Johannesburg Pride, People’s Pride, Soweto Pride, Ekhureleni Pride, Pretoria Pride and now Mzansi Pride.