soweto_pride_to_mark_ten_years_amidst_hate_crime_tragedyThe annual Soweto LGBTI Pride March will mark its first decade on Saturday 27 September in the wake of another hate crime tragedy.

Taking place in one of the country’s largest townships – spaces in which LGBTI people continue to face discrimination and worse – the march remains a significant political statement.

Dikeledi Sibanda from FEW, the organisation behind the march, told Mambaonline that Soweto Pride was started, “because there was a need in terms of increasing visibility and raising awareness about queer people. To say, ‘yes we live in townships and we are here and we want you to respect and understand our rights as human beings.’”

She noted that while the event’s tenth anniversary should be a celebration, there was little to celebrate, especially in light of last week’s rape and murder of Gift Makau, a young lesbian woman in Ventersdorp.

soweto_pride_to_mark_ten_years_amidst_tragedy“It is more of a struggle continued, because there is nothing to celebrate. After 10 years we are still facing gender-based violence against LGBTI people,” Sibanda said.

She explained that the recent murder confirmed that Soweto Pride sadly remains as relevant today as it was a decade ago.

“As FEW we want to reclaim our spaces and bodies and be able to live freely and in dignity and equality as LGBTI people,” Sibanda added.

The 2014 Soweto Pride march will depart from Credo Mutwa Park in Central Western Jabavu, Soweto on 27 September at 10am, returning to the park. The organisers will then present a political programme and entertainment.

Those attending have been urged to bring their own camping chairs. No bottles will be allowed into the park.

For more information about Soweto Pride, please contact Sibanda on 011 403 1906.

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