Khumbulani Pride remembers victims of LGBTI violence in Langa

Pic: Cheryl Roberts

Pic: Cheryl Roberts

Around 500 people took part in the fourth annual Khumbulani Pride march in the Cape Town township of Langa on Saturday.

Khumbulani (“remember” in Xhosa) Pride aims to honour the lives of LGBTI people lost in hate violence in the Western Cape.

The event takes place in a different township in the city every year. In 2013, it was held in Gugulethu, in 2014, in Samora Machel, and last year, in Khayelitsha.

On Saturday, marchers wore t-shirts and help up placards with messages such as: “Love is love”; “Black lesbian”; “This is what inclusivity looks like”; and “Young, gifted, gay & black. We are busy with our liberation.”

One woman held up a banner that read: “We apologise for the hurt the church has caused.”

Khumbulani Pride happens in close conjunction with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (17 May) which acknowledges the violence faced by LGBTI people all over the world.

“This year, we emphasise khumbulani by remembering those who have been killed in the Western Cape through violent acts of hate,” said the organisers, a network of LGBTI organisations working under the banner of the Alternative Inclusive Pride Network.

The network added: “It is an event that mobilises community members in different townships to care enough not to discriminate or harm others on the basis of their gender identity, sexual orientation or nationality.”

Funeka Soldaat, from the group Free Gender, told Mambaonline that the march aimed to “give dignity and respect to gays and lesbians in their societies”.

She explained that, “communities mustn’t see gays and lesbians as aliens; they must be able to move freely in their own communities”.

Soldaat said reactions to the march from passers-by were mixed. “Some people were really shocked, they didn’t expect to see this there, but others were happy.”

Pic: Cheryl Roberts

Pic: Cheryl Roberts

The organisers noted that the pride was held as crucial legislation is being drafted in South Africa to outlaw hate crimes, including those carried out against the LGBTI community.

One of the most recent Western Cape victims of anti-LGBTI violence was Phoebe Titus, 30, a transgender woman from Wolseley. She was knifed to death by a 15-year-old youth in broad daylight in January. The teen has been arrested but the man who allegedly handed the boy the knife that killed her has yet to be charged with anything.

The court case of the man found guilty of murdering David Olyne, 22, in 2014 is also ongoing. Olyne was bound with wire and then beaten, kicked, stomped on and set on fire in Ceres.

The sentencing of his murderer has been repeatedly postponed. Activists believe that others were involved in the killing and have gotten away with murder.

Soldaat said that Khumbulani Pride will in future continue to take place in different townships every year.

“We are also prepared to even go to the rural areas, like Ceres, where hate crimes are still very bad for gay and lesbian people.”

See more pictures of Khumbulani Pride 2016 below, courtesy of Cheryl Roberts.

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