Cape Town Pride Parade goes ahead despite protests
Hundreds of people paraded through Cape Town to celebrate their sexuality and gender identity on the weekend, despite a row about the event’s representativity.
Under the theme of ‘Return to the Rainbow’, the nine-day LGBTI festival culminated in Saturday’s annual parade, which, according to organisers, attracted approximately 2,500 people.
Festival director Matthew Van As said he was pleased with the turnout.
“The diversity within the parade and the after-party was amazing. It was much bigger and a much wider variety of people that turned up,” he told Mambaonline.
Van As stated, however, that he was unhappy with the way the Cape Times reported on the event and only published photos of white participants, suggesting that the newspaper was trying to depict the parade as racially exclusive.
“If you look at all the photos of the event you can see that white people were often in the minority. The Cape Times is playing dirty with us,” he said.
The Alternative Inclusive Pride group, which has been campaigning against what it says is a racial and socio-economic bias among the organisers, took part in the parade. The protesters made their views clear with placards and by sitting down and stopping the proceedings a number of times.
Van As accused the group of putting participants in danger through its actions. “They stopped the parade in its tracks, which is a problem because we were closing off roads. I think that’s putting people’s lives in jeopardy. It’s not the greatest idea.”
He also claimed that the group lied to him when he asked just before the parade kicked off if they were intending to disrupt the event. “They lied to my face. They could have let me know what they were planning for us to make sure it was a safe environment.”
While Van As said that the protesters numbered around 30 people, Funeka Soldaat, one of the people behind the Alternative Inclusive Pride group, claimed that up to 200 people in the parade had allied themselves to the protest.
Soldaat told Mambaonline that the group’s actions aimed “to make it clear to people that Cape Town Pride is not inclusive, as the festival director is claiming.”
The activist dismissed the diversity of the participants in the parade, insisting “that the problem is not about the people who are there on the day, it’s about the people who decide what Pride should be – it should not just be decided by three white boys.”
Soldaat demanded that Cape Town Pride hold an AGM this year so that the dispute could be resolved. “People have to be elected [to the committee]. The AGM will sort this thing out and there will never be a problem with Cape Town Pride again,” Soldaat said.
After the parade, the festivities continued with around 6,000 people celebrating in a street party in the city’s ‘gay village’. The bash went on into the night and featured a variety of performers and DJs.
- For our gallery of pictures of the Parade click here.
- For our gallery of pictures of the Street Party click here.
Funeka Soldaat and the clan that disrupted the parade, you guys/girls should actually feel ashamed and not call yourself gay because you are a disgrace to the gay community. What a great day it was with all races that came together to celebrate our freedom in a beautiful country and people. Everybody should be proud and I will make sure that as chairman of our group that I will be at the AGM when you meet with them so that I can stand up and have civil conversation with you and inform you what most people thought of you and the couple of followers. What amazed me mostly is the poorly made posters and the 2 faced attitude you guys had while dealing with the rest of the community. There was not even 30 people in your group and then people take your word for your course. At the after party it did not appear that you guys/girls had any objection against the venue while they were partying and drinking. Stop trying to make name for yourself and we look forward facing you.
So let’s take a photo of the 2 floats with a few white people on it out of 10 floats and put it in the newspaper and say it’s to white. REALLY!!! And where you at the after party? FUCK ME SIDE WAYS but you are full of shit.. Proving that the Media just play the game. And please, a sit down protest against the Rainbow nation because we to white. Get off you lazy asses and stand together, it’s your own doings that you sitting and not joining the fun and still complaining. Apartheid is over for 21 years and you are still wanting to be spoon feed like a baby. Well we are fed up… We not sorry you not part of the parade you were welcome like any other person, we not sorry for being White anymore. WE ARE OVER ALL OF THIS KAK. ITS my country too!!!!
I think the best way to include this chronically pissed-off bunch of party-poopers is to send them off to an anger management camp somewhere in Antarctica. Maybe then they will chill and join Pride in a more constructive manner or build their own Pride event from scratch, like all the other organizations do across the country. They protest too much and do nothing.
Who the Hell does Funeka think she is! Calling people ‘White Boys’…she is a racist point blank! This woman needs to get her story straight. Firstly she was saying the reason that they were doing this was because Pride was not inclusive (please check the venues and pricings of the Alternative Pride Events) or diverse enough now she mouthing along that it is the organizing committee who is the problem (who by all accounts did an amazing job on the day) because she has fallen flat on her face! She should never be allowed to get her hands on Cape Town Pride because she is going to use it for her own personal platform. She knew that she could have added events to the Pride Calendar but she and her cronies decided 2 weeks before the festival to start her shit. Well she can shove it! She thinks that by gaining Pride her racist organisation (FreeGender which is neither free or really multiple genders) will get more funding! Not A Chance! I will bring single gay person I know in Cape Town to stop this cow. I am a Proudly Gay White Male AND I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR IT!!!
The comment section is always more interesting than the actual story when it comes to pride and race relations in South Africa. The fact that every Pride in this country is going through the same problems doesn’t seem to bother anyone excerpt for the few activist organisations, the general public seem to have the notion that just because you are not blatantly turned away means you are welcome/included/represented, otherwise we wouldn’t keep having the same conversations. Pride as it is right now seems to be a middle class party doesn’t address the needs of the poor or the marginalised, e.g the lesbians who keep getting raped and murdered.
A call for change in Pride doesn’t mean a call in the destruction of the culture of the whole event, Pride when it was both a March and a Parade protested injustice in the same space as it celebrated different sexualities, genders, races and sexual expressions. Meaning with better planning and catering for needs for those who aren’t middle class, it can be both a place of learning, safety, community, protest and celebration.