Two lesbian victims of hate crimes will be honoured at the 11th annual Soweto Pride on 26 September in Meadowlands.
Held at Credo Mutwa Park in Jabavu for the last few years, the 2015 edition will return to Meadowlands Zone 2 Park, in Moroka Street, opposite the police station.
Siphokazi Nombande, Advocacy Coordinator at FEW (Forum for the Empowerment of Women) told Mambaonline that the venue was changed because Credo Mutwa Park is undergoing renovations.
She also explained that Meadowlands has special significance in light of this year’s theme, “Our Lives Matter – Safety, Justice and Freedom are our Rights”.
The area was the location of the brutal 2007 double murder of lesbians Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa in a horrific hate crime.
In 2009, the last time Soweto Pride was held in Meadowlands, a plaque and memorial bench were placed in the park in their memory. Sadly, these were later removed by the city when the park was upgraded.
“As part of this year’s Soweto Pride we will hold a memorial for Sizakele and Salome. We will have a moment of silence to remember them and all the other lesbians who are victims of hate crimes,” said Nombande.
“Their murder remains unsolved. Until today we do not know who killed Sizakele and Salome,” she pointed out. “Justice keeps on failing us.”
Soweto Pride was started by FEW (Forum for the Empowerment of Women) in 2004 with the aim of creating a political and social space for the LGBTI community in the township, with a particular focus on black lesbian women.
It’s since become one of the most influential Pride events in Gauteng, featuring a vibrant and emotionally charged march through Soweto. An estimated 5 000 people attended the event in 2014.
Their murders remain unsolved
“It is aimed at publicly expressing and celebrating our identities, activism and resilience as black lesbian women,” said FEW in a statement.
“It is also a space to express our outrage at the violations that we still face in South Africa because of our sexuality. It is an act of courage and resistance, an act of open public display and a key moment in the year for increasing the visibility of all the identities of this community.”
Soweto Pride 2015 will kick off at 9am. There will be a political programme of speeches, then the march, followed by an afternoon of festivities at the park. You are welcome to bring a picnic basket and camping chairs.
The organisers have asked participants to park their vehicles at the two shopping centres next to the park.
For more information on applications for stalls, or to be a performer or DJ please call 011 403 1906 or 083 304 8910.
A number of Soweto Pride after parties will be held on the night of the march. Please see flyers below for more details.