An estimated 8,000 people braved the searing October sun in near-heatwave conditions to celebrate the third Pretoria LGBT Pride at the Centurion Rugby Club on Saturday.
Starting at noon, LGBT people and their friends and family paraded through the streets of the CBD waving rainbow flags and wearing colourful outfits and t-shirts with LGBT affirming slogans.
While not an overtly political event, participants marched under this year’s theme of “Pride Without Prejudice”. They called for acceptance and equality, while proudly proclaiming their sexual and gender identity.
The celebrations went on into the late afternoon with entertainment, bars and food and flea-market stalls. Community organisations also offered information, support and HIV testing.
Organiser Bruce Walker told Mambaonline that other than a few incidents of heat exhaustion, the event was a safe and successful one.
He said the aim of Pretoria Pride is to “show that we are united as a community, no matter who you are. We need to show that we are part of South African society.”
Walker argued that while LGBT people have many rights in South Africa, “we could lose them overnight.”
He added: “We need to celebrate what we’ve got and stand together to make sure that we never lose our rights. If anyone tries to do anything we will stand up and fight it. That’s the main reason to celebrate Pride.”