lgbt_people_march_in_Ekurhuleni_Pride_2014An enthusiastic group of activists and members of the LGBTI community took to the streets of Tsakane, Brakpan, outside of Johannesburg, to mark the sixth annual Ekurhuleni Pride on Saturday.

Sadly, only around 100 people took part in the march, notably fewer than last year.

This was despite last week’s hate crime rape and murder of the openly-lesbian Thembelihle ‘Lihle’ Sokhela in the area. Her brutalised body was discovered in her alleged killer’s room two days after she went missing.

During the march, the Ekurhuleni Pride Organising Committee (EPOC) passed out information flyers to members of the public along the route.

“We handed out a lot,” said Ntsupe Mohapi from EPOC. She explained that the pamphlets contained information about “homosexuality, what is LGBTI, and how homophobia affects us and what the community can do to assist us in dealing with hate crimes in the townships.”

Many more people attended the post-march celebrations at a nearby park, something which Mohapi believes reflects a lack of awareness about the importance of marching.

“The event at the park was the biggest yet, but I think people don’t understand why we need to march. People think about the festivities only. It needs an awareness campaign within the LGBTI community,” she said.

Mohapi noted that matters have not improved in Ekurhuleni for LGBTI people. “I don’t think it will get better soon. We can’t do it alone. I think we need more media – on television and billboards – and to get our politicians and celebrities to talk about homosexuality more. People listen to them. We need a bigger buy-in to fight hate crimes,” she said.

Cobus Benade took these pictures of Saturday’s Ekurhuleni Pride march.

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