Limpopo Pride 2014 (Pic: Cobus Benade)
Organisers of next month’s fourth annual Limpopo Pride March in Polokwane have postponed the event out of fear for the safety of participants.
Cindy Molefe, from the Limpopo LGBTI Proudly Out group, announced the news in a statement on Facebook.
She said that the change was “due to the increase of violence towards LGBTI in the province,” specifically citing the rape of a bisexual woman last month.
The 30-something mother of three was raped at gunpoint just metres from her home and waiting children by a group of men who said they wanted to show her that her “lifestyle is wrong.”
“We are scared. We fear for our safety,” Molefe told Mambaonline. She revealed that she was aware of other recent anti-LGBTI incidents in the area but said that “no one wants to talk about it and no one wants to come out.”
Last year’s Limpopo Pride was also marred by the rape of a lesbian teenager who had participated in the march and was trying to make her way home.
Molefe explained that the organisers met on Thursday and in light of these attacks felt it would be best to postpone the Pride.
The march and associated events were set to take place on the 9th of May but have now been moved to the first weekend of June and are likely to be an extended two day event.
Molefe added that, in addition to ensuring better security, postponing the Pride event means the organisers will have time to convince more supporters, including civil society groups and the government, to take part in the march in a united show of force.
“If other organisations assist us in marching it will send out a bigger message than if it is just us. People will notice if they see us marching with other people and with more members of the community being involved,” Molefe said.