Mzansi Pride organisers at Thursday’s media launch at Constitution Hill.

Constitution Hill in Johannesburg will be the home of the ambitious inaugural Mzansi Pride this December, and not Zoo Lake, as previously suggested by organisers in June.

On Thursday, organisers of the new event announced details of the week-long festival at a media launch at the historic former prison and the current site of the country’s Constitutional Court.

Mzansi Pride will take place from the 1st to the 6th of December 2014, they said, and will be supported by a raft of local celebrities.

The aim, explained organisers, is to involve participants from the whole of Southern Africa in the event, which will include workshops, a book launch, movie screenings, a fashion show, a pageant, a march and an after party. Most of the events will take place at Constitution Hill.

Rather ambitiously, they further plan to use the proceeds from the festival to “set up a sustainable development plan to help develop LGBTI people in rural areas,” said one of the organisers, Zain Khan.

He explained that Mzansi Pride intends to provide “education, developments skills, social upliftment and the nurturing of talent” to these beneficiaries.

“It is something with a difference. Most of the other Prides are about flaunting and flamboyance. This has a sustainable impact,” he added.

Cino Shearer, philanthropist, publicist and founder of Mznazi Pride, commented that the event would help “create role models and spread them out to the rural areas to reduce suicide and alcohol and drug dependence” among LGBTI youth.

“We want to not just focus on outward Pride, but on inward Pride,” he said.

When asked how Mzansi Pride aimed to fund the December festival, Shearer replied that two brands, yet to be announced, would come on board as sponsors. His foundation would also provide funding and Constitution Hill was offering the venue at no cost. He was also in talks with other funders, Shearer said.

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